November 2019
FFN welcomes new director and adds
business engagement associate
We're pleased to introduce Jason Prokop who became director of First Five Nebraska this month after founding director Becky Veak transitioned into a new role with of our Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy .

"Early childhood development issues are foundational to what we want to be as a state, and pursuing thoughtful public policy in this space is critically important to every community in Nebraska,” said Jason. “First Five Nebraska has been a leading voice in this statewide conversation and I’m humbled by the opportunity to lead this talented team. I’m looking forward to building on the momentum that’s already been created around these issues to ensure that our youngest Nebraskans have the opportunity to thrive.”   

Jason comes to FFN from the Nebraska Department of Transportation as external affairs manager and prior to that, worked in Washington, D.C., as Senator Ben Nelson's legislative director and senior policy advisor, and as chief of staff to the CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Read more about Jason Prokop
Mike Feeken joins FFN as our business engagement associate, a new position created to involve the public and private sectors in early childhood programs as a strategy for local community development. Quality early childhood programs attract and anchor working parents in communities across Nebraska, and we're happy to have Mike on board to lead our efforts in this work.

Mike spent the past 14 years in St. Paul, Neb., as economic development director, focusing primarily on administering LB840 funds to create programs that helped attract, retain and expand businesses, encourage investment in sustainable housing and promote quality of life. Read more about Mike Feeken
New and expectant parents in Nebraska will soon receive an updated, easy-to-use guide with practical information on children's healthy development from the prenatal months through age 5. "Learning Begins at Birth" covers important topics like maternal well-being, health and nutrition, safety, parent-child interactions and choosing quality child care. The booklet also includes information on how to access programs and services supporting new parents.
Policy Associate Adam Feser, who co-leads the project, said the free guide will be distributed statewide through local health departments, birthing hospitals, clinics, WIC centers, Sixpence programs and other organizations that provide services to families with young children. It's funded through Nebraska's Preschool Development Grant and will be available in English and Spanish.

Senior Policy Associate Elizabeth Everett continued her travels around Nebraska this month talking with early childhood educators, parents, employers and community leaders about their struggles and successes in providing quality early care and learning for young children.

Quick Links

York Public Schools-Sixpence  program is changing the lives of children at risk by helping parents learn how to support their healthy development. When children meet developmental milestones in their earliest years, they're more likely to do well in school and become successful adults.

Jay Wolf, a Boone County rancher, has become a passionate advocate for building an early childhood center in Albion. In a recent op-ed in the Kearney Hub, Jay explains why early childhood matters even to those who aren't educators, caregivers or parents or grandparents of small children.