Ready in 5 was created as a United Way initiative in 2008 to help fill the gap in early childhood services for refugees. It is a collaboration between the YMCA of Greater Omaha and Heartland Family Service.  We hold weekly hour long groups attended by children and a parent or other adult, primarily in apartments with high concentrations of refugee families. One of the families offers to host each week in their living room.  The group is co-taught by a staff member and cultural ambassador who speaks the primary language of the group.   The target age group is children 3 to 5 although younger siblings frequently attend and participate when possible.  The program served over 500 children and parents last year and currently runs 17 weekly groups. 
Field trips are scheduled quarterly to places like the zoo, children’s museum, and pumpkin patch.  Busses pick up families at the group location.  Staff also assist families each year with preschool and kindergarten applications and provide casework as necessary to support the families’ needs.   We also screen for special needs and facilitate the referral and evaluation process with Omaha Public Schools.