Here for kids. Here for families. Here for Shawn.

Nebraska’s winters can be unpredictable and extreme. When the temperature begins to drop, visits at CEDARS Youth Opportunity Center (YOC) increase as teens are searching for refuge from the cold. 

That’s how we met Shawn. Shawn is just like any other high school student. His favorite subject is math, and he’s a key player on his school’s soccer team. Shawn’s only worries should be on his midterms or his next big game, not on needing to stay warm during the cold.  

Shawn came to the YOC when his family’s furnace went out when the temperature got too low one night. His dad didn’t have the means to get it fixed right away, and Shawn didn’t have enough clothing and bedding to stay warm at night. The freezing temperatures had become dangerous for Shawn. 

At the YOC, Shawn was able to do his laundry and even get a few extra winter clothing items and blankets to keep him and his dad warm until the heat was back on at home. Thanks to the kindness of our community, Shawn was able to receive the resources he needed to get through this trying time.  

Recently, the YOC moved to a new facility in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. The new location is in the heart of the city, an area with a higher rate of homelessness and is easily accessible by public transportation. The new YOC has a welcoming environment that encourages any teen in need of resources to stop by. 

Shawn occasionally visits the new YOC to do his laundry and connect with his friends on CEDARS Street Outreach team. He’s now focusing on his upcoming algebra exam and preparing for the next soccer season; in other words, he gets to be a kid again.  

We couldn’t have helped Shawn without the generosity of our supporters. Kids with stories like Shawn’s visit the YOC every day looking for refuge, and we can answer their calls because of you. 

To help a kid like Shawn find safety and hope, please visit

Thank you for helping CEDARS be here for kids and families in our community.