2016 NJJA Conference Keynote Speaker | Francoise Mathieu

NJJA had a chance to ask Wednesday’s conference keynote speaker, Francoise Mathieu, a few questions after her informative presentation “Keynote: Beyond Kale and Pedicures: What works to manage compassion fatigue and secondary trauma?”.

Click here to go to our Youtube page channel.


News Release: Spotlight Finds Four Nebraskans for Helping State’s Youth

(Award winners (L to R) Dr. Kenneth Zoucha, Erin Curran, Raevin Bigelow, and NJJA President Mike Renn)

June 5, 2015

KEARNEY – “I was just doing my job,” is a statement that means more for some than others. At this year’s Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Conference, four people were recognized for doing so much more than the job required. All award recipients worked to help youth climb out of difficult situations, recover from deep physical and emotional traumas, and piece their lives back together.

The NJJA Service Awards recognize youth and juvenile justice professionals whose outstanding efforts have improved or strengthened the juvenile justice community in Nebraska. Earlier this month, NJJA and the Nebraska Coalition for Juvenile Justice presented the following awards:


Spirit of Youth Award: Raevin Bigalow

Ms. Bigelow, a former system-involved youth, was recognized for her resilience in the face of many life challenges.  In her acceptance speech, she thanked the professionals in the room for their dedication to young people like her. Ms. Bigelow is the proud mother of a two-year old daughter and plans to become a motivational speaker and youth pastor.

Commitment to Excellence in Leadership Award: Dr. Kenneth Zoucha

Dr. Zoucha, Medical Director at Hastings Juvenile Chemical Dependency Program, was recognized for his outstanding leadership in serving youth and families in contact with the juvenile justice system. According to NJJA President Mike Renn, “Dr Zoucha has quietly, and without much fanfare, provided important guidance and programming for youth and families who struggling with addiction.”

Evenly E. Labode Service to Youth Award: Erin Curran

Ms. Curran, an Intensive Family Preservation Therapist for KVC in Omaha, received the award for her commitment, initiative and advocacy on behalf of youth and families in Nebraska. Erin has worked as a therapist and foster care specialist for five years and is known for the individualized attention she gives each of her families – as well as acting as a roll model to her peers.

Scholarship Award: Hailey Kaderabek

Ms. Kaderabek of Kayki, NE, is a senior at Peru State College with a major in Criminal Justice and Psychology. She was recognized as an excellent scholar working towards a career in juvenile justice. She is a peer mentor, tutor, and member of the Alpha Epsilon criminal justice club and expects to graduate this May.





Conference Documents Now Available

An email was sent yesterday to all conference registrants containing a link to access conference schedules, slide decks and handouts. All documents will be available in digital form and downloadable Pdf. This page is only available to conference registrants, so it can’t be accessed without a direct link.

If you are registered for the conference but didn’t receive this email, please check your spam folder or “promotions” folder if you use Gmail. If you are still unable to find the email and would like the link, please email Sam Aspnes at s.aspnes@gmail.com. The web address will also be available at the conference.


2015 NJJA Award Nominations

Every year, we at the NJJA like to recognize youth and juvenile justice professionals who make exceptional efforts towards improving and strengthening the juvenile justice community in Nebraska. Together, NJJA and the Nebraska Coalition for Juvenile Justice will present four awards at our 40th anniversary conference in Kearney, May 6-8. Read more

2015 NJJA Conference

Save the date for our 2015 NJJA Conference on May 6-8 in Kearney! For more information, click here.


How It All Went Down: 2014 NJJA Conference

NJJA President Mike Renn talks with guests in the vendor area.

By Monica Miles-Steffens

On behalf of the Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Board, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who came together for the 2014 Annual NJJA Conference!  We can soundly say that this year’s conference was bigger and better than ever, and we owe it all to the hardworking men and women who attend this conference year after year.  It was great to hear from one attendee who said, “Sometimes people leave conferences and they feel drained, but people left this conference ready to implement ideas that they heard and excited about their work.”

There were some new additions to the conference this year including a change in venue, the showing of Kids for Cash right in the main ballroom sponsored by Voices for Children, a tour of the YRTC Kearney, more CEU’s across disciplines, and increased use of technology through Twitter and Facebook.  Please also take the time to check out the NJJA Flickr page for all of the conference photos.

We welcomed nationally known speakers Judge Steve Teske, Sharon Wise and Eddie Slowikowski.  Their presentations were full of information, emotion and inspiration.  We work hard to bring you breakout sessions that highlight the great work happening right here in Nebraska, and this year was no exception.  We heard about state and local reform, trauma, mental health and substance use topics, self care, crossover youth, gangs and more!  One participant said, “There was a good variety of topics…things for the heart and things for the brain.” And of course, we could only bring in such amazing speakers with support from the Children and Family Foundation, Regional Prevention Coalitions I, IV & V and the Sherwood Foundation.

One of the highlights of every conference is recognizing outstanding professionals for their work and leadership.  Joanna Lindberg of Heartland Family Service in Omaha was awarded the Evelyn Labode Service to Youth Award. Treva Haugaard, Executive Director of the Goals Center in Omaha received this year’s Leadership Award, and Giselle Armendariz, a student at UNL was recognized as the NJJA scholarship winner. This year NJJA also recognized the work of Senators Brad Ashford and Bob Krist for their tireless efforts and ongoing support of juvenile justice reform in Nebraska.

And we have to mention our exciting move to the Younes Conference Center. We heard great feedback from the nearly 400 participants and 35 exhibitors. This move was made possible in part by our top sponsors:  Community Based Services Inc., Boy’s Town, UNO Criminal Justice Department, Cedars, KVC, Abraxas and Omni Behavioral Health.

So again, we thank you for your ongoing support and attendance at the NJJA conference.  If you have never been, make sure to mark your calendar for next year.  May 6 – 8th, 2015h we will be back at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney and we are planning some amazing things to celebrate 40 years of NJJA!  We look forward to seeing you there.