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Strength in numbers: Omaha’s mid-year retreat unites talents for community impact

Group Photo Of College Possible Omaha Staff And AmeriCorps Members

Gathering for our mid-year retreat, College Possible Omaha seized an opportunity to reflect, collaborate, and strategize for the road ahead. Anchored by the theme, “Strength in Numbers,” the retreat served as an opportunity for discovering collective talents and resources to foster change in the community.

Guiding the retreat was Gallup strengths coach and former College Possible coach, Manger Baw, who also serves as a Thompson learning community specialist at the University of Nebraska Omaha. The Omaha team delved into the exploration of Clifton Strengths, undertaking introspective exercises and discussions to uncover individual strengths and identify avenues for collaboration.

The day began with a thorough examination of our top five strengths, including an insightful review of potential blind spots or weakness within these areas. By acknowledging and understanding these blind spots, we identified areas for personal growth and development. The group engaged in a lively game of Clifton Strengths bingo, identifying the strengths of fellow team members, and gaining a deeper appreciation for the diverse talents within the College Possible Omaha team.

Over lunch, guest speaker Emiliano Lerda, College Possible Omaha board member, and co-founder and CEO of Elevator, delivered an impactful address, emphasizing the significance of acknowledging privilege and leveraging opportunities to uplift others. Reflecting on his own journey, Lerda highlighted the transformative impact of mentorship and urged our AmeriCorps members to consider how they can extend greatness to those they serve.

Continuing our journey towards holistic well-being, everyone ranked their wellness status based on the eight dimensions of wellness: social, emotional, occupational, financial, environmental, spiritual, intellectual, and physical. Through this exercise, we collectively identified areas of strength and areas for improvement, laying the groundwork for setting SMART goals to enhance overall wellness. While setting goals, we were encouraged to leverage our individual strengths to help meet our goals, aligning personal strengths with wellness objectives.

As the day progressed, we broke into groups and were presented with student-focused scenarios. The goal? To collaboratively brainstorm innovative solutions, leveraging the strengths of the group to address challenges and maximize impact. Through this exercise, we gained practical experience in applying our strengths in a real-world context, reinforcing the power of collaboration and teamwork.

Aminatu Issaka, director of college access, ended the day underscoring the lasting impact of College Possible programming and our AmeriCorps members. “While your service term may be short, your impact lasts a lifetime,” shares Issaka. Her words served as a reminder of the collective efforts required to effect lasting change within the community.

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