Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska Wins Integrity Award!

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The leadership team of the award-winning Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. Photo Credit: LFS

I am always filled with pride when one of our partners is recognized for their incredible work. So I’m very happy to share the news that Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska has been named the recipient of the prestigious Integrity Award of the Better Business Bureau of Nebraska, South Dakota and southwest Iowa (BBB)!

The Integrity Awards recognize companies and non-profits whose business practices and related activities exemplify honesty, commitment and accountability. The award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from the Omaha metro area and southwest Iowa.

Ruth Henrichs, President and CEO of Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, made these remarks from the podium as she accepted the award on behalf of the organization:

On behalf of the Board of Directors and 300 statewide staff at Lutheran Family Services (LFS), thank you for this recognition and honor.   With moral courage and a commitment to excellence, LFS staff serve victims of sexual abuse, persons with severe and persistent mental illness, veterans, refugees and children in foster care.  LFS staff do their work with humility, a sense of community responsibility, and a commitment to dignity and justice for all.

Of course, as a national partner of Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, I want to express how important that partnership is to us, and what a difference it makes to have organizations in our network that set this kind of standard for excellence.

Here are some good examples of how Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska has come through for vulnerable migrants:

  • Before the government shutdown, they were on track to resettle over 500 refugees in Omaha this year and another 100 in Lincoln.
  • In fiscal year 2013, their Refugee Education and Employability Partnership (REEP) program employment rate grew to 74%, and found jobs for over 300 people.
  • In the same fiscal year, they had hoped to enroll 150 people in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, but enrolled over 230.

I’d like to share a great video that shows how their refugee resettlement process works, and how their International Center of the Heartland focuses on longer term integration well past the first 90 days.

In reality, immigrants and refugees are just part of the wide range of people who benefit from Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska’s work. On any given day, you will find that they have open case files on over 2,000 children.   Children who have been sexually abused.  Children who have been traumatized by their parents’ repeated deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.  Children whose behavior issues are causing problems at school.  There are also thousands more adults receiving help from Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska.  Parents. Teenage fathers.  Veterans.  Refugees.  Addicts.  Gamblers.  Abusers.  Each in their own way, seeking help to create or return to a less traumatized, more normal life for themselves and their families.

It’s heartening to me that organizations such as Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska are making the work of refugee resettlement part of the broader vision for the communities in their state. The connections of goodwill and human care they’re forging are really evidence that communities move forward when people work together, strengthened by relationships that bring people out of isolation.

In fact, it’s no surprise to me that the Integrity Award is just one of many received by Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska.  In 2012, the organization was awarded the Silver Award of Distinction by the Better Business Bureau.  It was also one of the top three finalists named for the “Big O Excellence Award” Non-Profit of the Year.  Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska was named Non-Profit of the Year by the Non-Profit Association of the Midlands (NAM) in 2007.  In 2009, the organization won the OPPD Service to the Community Award, presented by the National Safety Council.  LFS was honored for its leadership in treating families impacted by child sexual abuse. In 2011, the Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska program Right Turn received the 2011 Adoption Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Congratulations to the staff of by Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska! We are honored to call you our partners and thankful for your award-winning work.

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