A gala tonight at the Century Link Center in Omaha will raise money for the Hope Center for Kids as it honors the memory of its founders.
Since the death of Ty and Terri Schenzel in an August traffic wreck, Nebraskans have rallied behind the Hope Center for Kids in Omaha and Fremont.
“We have had just amazing support from the community,” Hope Center Marketing Director Melissa Yahnke tells Nebraska Radio Network. “So many people have come along beside us, whether it’s praying for us or coming and helping and volunteering.”
Ty and Terri Schenzel founded the Hope Center for Kids in Omaha in 1998. It expanded to Fremont last year. Schenzel had actually stepped down from the center, retiring in May.
The Hope Center for Kids serves 1,650 youth ages 5 to 18 in north Omaha and Fremont through after-school and summer programs. Programs focus on education, employability, collaboration, and faith.
Yahnke says the goal is to have the youth excel in school and graduate with a vision for the future. The center’s Employment Academy helps youth prepare for the working world.
The Schenzels died in a fiery crash in South Dakota, shaking not only the Center, but the area. The crash also killed Ryan Hrubes and injured his wife, Emily.
A memorial service Waypoint Church in Omaha brought out hundreds. Volunteers have been pouring in to help the Center with its work.
Yahnke says the emotional support has helped in a difficult time.
“You know, it has been really hard,” Yahnke says. “Everybody has been grieving, because they meant so much to all of us. But, just the outpouring from the community and everybody who wants to get involved with the Hope Center for Kids, it’s just been incredible and it’s made this time a little bit easier.”
The 8th annual Expressions of Hope Gala will be held at the Century Link Center tonight, beginning at 6 o’clock. The Hope Centers would like to raise $525,000 which would pay for services for 350 youth.
In addition, the Hope Center for Kids Board of Directors has named Brenda Block as executive director. Block served as Director of Operations from January until May of this where, when she became interim Executive Director when Ty Schenzel retired. Former Omaha Program Director Jason McGee will serve as the agency’s Assistant Executive Director.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]