SOUTH OMAHA: KROC CENTER INTERVIEW
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Thank you to Madeline Moyer for the interview.
How long have you been at the Kroc Center?
Seven years in April.
What did you do before you were at the Kroc Center?
I was at First National Bank for 32 years. I worked in various capacities and in all but one unit. This included retail, credit card processing, mortgages, all aspects of lending, HR, purchasing and the call center.
On the Salvation Advisory Board while at bank for 20 years, makes this full circle for me.
I found out about the grant to start the Kroc Center. I got to be part of whole process to bring it to Omaha. Little did I know that I would be there the day it opened.
It's been a very personal journey for me.
Please tell us about the Kroc Center.
The Kroc Center is the state-of-the-art community center.
Joan Kroc had vision for a state-of-the-art facility where one could come and explore their God-given talents through arts, education, physical activities and spiritual programs. Everything we do is based on those four pillars.
The community has said we were a beacon of hope for the community.
Joan had these three caveats for the centers:
1. Name - The names "Ray and Joan Kroc" had to be used.
2. Location - The location needed to be in an underserved area.
3. Programing - The programing needs were to be based on the four pillars.
She also said the centers would be beacons of hope and so did a neighbor, Anita Rojas of the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance.
Please tell us about the site selection process for the Kroc Center. Why was South Omaha chosen as the site for the Omaha Kroc Center?
South Omaha was chosen because amount of space that was needed and available at the time was in South Omaha. The Kroc center is 122,000 square feet and the equivalent of six city blocks.
The location was the former home of the Wilson packing plant. At the time, it was half up and half down in a blighted area.
What does the Kroc Center do for the community?
Each area applying had to put in a five-year strategic plan. At the time, there was only one model to base this off of, San Diego, so a plan had to be created on how this center would operate. Omaha was fortunate that after a lot of reiteration on the five-year plan that they were chosen. This was out of over 60 applicants for our central territory.
We were the first of the territory to open. We opened in November 2009 with a soft opening. Our grand opening was in January 2010.
HDR did the architectural design. Kiewit was the builder.
What do you like about South Omaha?
It's a family. We look out for one another. Once you are in you are in, so it is a very vibrant community with family and food. It is a rich culture.
How do you envision the Kroc Center's role in service to the community of both Omaha as a whole and specifically to South Omaha?
That's the golden nugget here. We are here for the entire city of Omaha and the surrounding area.
We are restoring hope to families.
We provide a safe environment.
People are learning job readiness, physical exercise, self-esteem.
It is a place for the whole family whether you are 1 or 100.
What separates us is we are very family-oriented.
We truly are there to help people discover their God-given talents, whatever that means for you.
The Kroc Center employs 145 employees and brought a lot of economic vitality to the community.
We are a safe place.
Tell us about some of your new projects.
We prefer to call them partnerships.
We partner with the Omaha Conservatory of Music (Dianne). Children as young as age three can learn to play an instrument. This is at no cost to them.
We also partner with the Heroes Program through Children's Hospital, who run the program and use our facilities.
Adolescents and youth under a doctor's care, come two days a week to get them into wellness: mind, body and soul.
We are happy to say we are the host site for the Omaha Empowerment Breakfast. We are thrilled to be bringing that venue as a host site to South Omaha.
We are looking to grow and give nearby businesses and other areas the opportunity to grow their businesses.
We are hoping to revitalize it.
There will be no changes other than the location.
What are your hours and public contact information?
We are open Monday through Sunday for 96 hrs/week.
Monday-Thursday 5 AM-9 PM
Friday 5 AM-8 PM
Saturday 6 AM-6 PM
Sunday 1 PM-6 PM
Church services are Sunday mornings and start at 11 AM.
The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
2825 Y St.
Omaha, NE 68107
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