Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) has contributed $10,000 to support youth mental health programming at two of Nebraska’s Boys & Girls Clubs locations. 

BCBSNE’s donations are part of a broader initiative with Blue Cross Blue Shield companies nationwide, which will collectively invest $10 million over four years to help Boys & Girls Clubs of America implement trauma-informed practices in more than 5,000 Clubs by 2026 to support youth mental health.  

“This contribution speaks directly to our mission of championing the health and well-being of our members and the communities we serve,” Jay Warren-Teamer, BCBSNE’s director of diversity and inclusion, said. “I’m excited to leverage the national partnership to support the mental health of Nebraska’s children.” 

According to the Nebraska Department of Education’s 2023 Adolescent Health Report, 36% of Nebraska students felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in the past year. 

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands (BGCM) will expand the programming it has planned for Mental Health Awareness Month in May and Suicide Prevention Week in September with the $5,000 donation from BCBSNE. To ensure Club members receive the information and programming that’s important to them, BGCM chooses teen ambassadors to help coordinate the activities, speakers and incentives they host during these events. BCBSNE’s donation will go toward the incentives that keep Club members coming back to practice coping strategies and nurture the support networks built at BGCM.   

“These incentives help get more of our Club members to the table to have the mental health conversation,” Jermaine Jones, chief scholarship and outreach officer at BGCM, said. “The additional funding from BCBSNE will be tremendous for us because we can expand, grow and get more teens to learn about the things we’re doing to support their mental health.” 

More information on BGCM’s Mental Health Awareness Month and Suicide Prevention Week programming will soon be available at 

With BCBSNE’s donation, Boys & Girls Clubs of Lincoln/Lancaster County (BGCL) has set up a Zen Den to provide Park Middle School students with a safe area to practice the coping mechanisms BGCL teaches. The Zen Den offers a calm, quiet space free of distractions where students can manage their emotions.   

“We installed the Zen Den to give kids a safe space to go, relax and work on their mental health,” Claire Shinn, director of marketing and resource development at BGCL, said. “It also gives us a space to have a conversation with a student in an environment they feel is calm and quiet.” 

Students have access to the Zen Den before, during and after school when accompanied by a BGCL or Park Middle School staff member.