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Cedars nonprofit celebrates $3.5 million expansion
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Cedars nonprofit celebrates $3.5 million expansion

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Cedars nonprofit in Lincoln celebrated the completion of its $3.5 million expansion Wednesday.

The shelter increased its capacity during the pandemic, which made the need for the expansion even more apparent, said Doug Ganz, chair of the youth services board at Cedars.

“It’s an absolutely phenomenal addition to the existing building. To get this done during a very difficult year is phenomenal," Ganz said.

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Ganz said the expansion of the emergency shelter area was essential in helping Nebraska's youths.

"The emergency shelter area is huge because of the need in southeast Nebraska," he said. "This is the only emergency shelter in southeast Nebraska, so it is vitally important."

Construction began last October. Cedars President Jim Blue, who spoke at Wednesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony, said it is amazing how much work was done during a challenging year.

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The 3,800-square foot expansion added a welcome center for youths and families, an updated kitchen and dining room, activity area and recreation court for the shelter, which serves about 150 youths a year.

Other improvements include a dedicated entrance to help children feel comfortable when they arrive in crisis, and a training and collaboration hub for staff, foster families and community partners to meet.

Funds for the project were donated from different community partners and businesses. Union Bank & Trust and Scheels gave $100,000 each.

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Cedars Foundation chair Melissa Newton said they have had great community feedback for raising the funds and expanding in less than a year.

Now, she is excited by what that can provide for children in need. 

“We have had wonderful feedback for celebrating and committing to the youth of our children,” she said.

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Reach the writer at ldietrich@journalstar.com

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