Becoming a parent is one of the biggest decisions one can make in their lifetime. Making sure the parents and baby are healthy throughout the pregnancy and at time of birth is extremely important, but the years of doctors and dentists are just beginning. Getting your child started with healthy habits from the start can set them up for success.

Physical health is one thing, but making sure your kids are developing emotionally and mentally is extremely important. There are many beneficial options in the Lincoln area to help your child grow into a healthy, well-rounded adult.

Start with the Mind

Daring Minds Therapy is a women-owned small business founded in 2018 by Sarah Worley and Erica Schroeder with co-founder Maureen DeRyke. They have therapists who are trained licensed in cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, drug and alcohol abuse, social work, and trauma-related disorders.

We asked Erica how we can reduce or eliminate the stigma around mental health and teaching children how to positively express their feelings. She explained that the simplest way to tackle this is by talking about it. Given the increased awareness of mental health in recent years, Erica says today’s youth just might be the ones to guide a change in the attitudes associated with mental health.

Erica Schroeder
Daring Minds Therapy

“I believe a majority of middle-school-aged teens and high-school students have better awareness of what mental health is and, in some cases, it can even be identified as a form of status,” Erica said. “I often hear teens identify with peers by making statements such as, ‘Who’s your therapist?’ followed by sharing therapeutic tools they have learned. On the other side of that, older generations are not as aware of, or believe in, mental-health services because their core family values are primarily associated with strength and/or being guarded, which do not correlate well with therapy.”

More than 20/20 Vision

At Premier Vision, Dr. Dan Novak and staff evaluate more than if a child can see “20/20.” During a comprehensive eye health evaluation, a wide range of visual functions are evaluated including proper eye alignment, focusing ability, depth perception, color vision, and visual acuity.

By utilizing the latest techniques and state-of-the-art equipment, the goal of Premier Vision is to provide an exceptional eye care experience by treating their patients like a member of their own family. Dr. Novak has been practicing in Lincoln since 2012 and opened Premier Vision in September 2021. He specializes in comprehensive eye examinations with special interest in ocular disease treatment, dry eye therapy, myopia management, and contact lenses. Dr. Novak works alongside vision specialists Rita Caha and Amber Vodraska.

Dr. Dan Novak
Premier Vision

“With the increasing amount of time a child spends on digital devices the demand on their eyes has never been greater. Over 80% of how a child learns is visually,” said Dr. Novak. “A comprehensive eye evaluation is necessary to not only determine if a child can see clearly but also to evaluate how efficiently they can use their eyes while in school and studying at home.”

If eyewear is necessary Premier Vision offers stylish and durable frames and eyeglass lenses that not only correct the vision but aid in focusing and blue light protection. All of the products are backed by warranties should frames break or lenses get damaged or scratched.

“We offer the most advanced diagnostic equipment and optical products that help our patients achieve their best vision possible,” shared Dr. Novak. “My goal is to make all patients feel welcome and comfortable while providing a best-in-class patient experience.”

Making an Impact

Leadership Harbor’s Youth Impact Division was created to focus on kids/youth leadership development. By serving both the youth and those who impact them such as parents, guardians, and educators, they begin to create an environment where each can live into their own potential.

Chris Hansen Leadership Harbor

“At Leadership Harbor, we’ve intentionally focused on developing our ability to uniquely serve your youth and family. I joined the team in 2018 with two decades of experience in youth/young adult ministry. In 2019, I became a Certified Parent and Family Coach in order to increase our ability to serve parents,” said Chris Hansen, Youth Impact Division director. “In early 2021, Dax joined our team as a John Maxwell Youth Facilitator. In 2022, we welcomed Stephanie Nelson to the team. A majority of her career has been spent working in children and family ministry and she is looking forward to continued service in that area working with Parents and Families. Our team is here to serve you and your family however we can best add value.”

Leadership Harbor provides coaching for individuals, couples, families, and youth. They also offer complimentary Discovery Sessions to help parents and youth determine the next best step in their growth journey.

“When it comes to healthy kids, often it begins with the adults in their lives. Are we modeling good behaviors, open communication, and strong leadership? When we learn to lead ourselves as adults, it will have an impact on our kids. After all, they are watching what we do and say.”

Another great offering for youth from Leadership Harbor is CALM Suicide/Bullying Prevention Trainings. These trainings are beneficial for youth and adults to be aware of a simple protocol to use when they or someone they know may be considering suicide or being bullied.

The best way to prepare for a difficult conversation is before it happens. Talking about suicide is a tough topic. When someone is considering suicide, that’s not the time to learn what to do. The same is true of bullying. What do you do when it is happening to a friend, family member, coworker, or someone in your community? 

CALM Workshop Training is appropriate for youth and/or adults in a variety of settings. Through CALM, participants will learn a simple protocol to implement for when they or someone they know is experiencing bullying or thoughts of suicide. Leadership Harbor’s goal is to connect you with the tools and resources to get help in times of need.

Make sure you and those you know and love know the CALM protocol so everyone is prepared when it may happen to someone in their life. Raising awareness, having conversations, and knowing what to do are important steps in preventing bullying and suicide in our communities.

There is so much information out there about what is right and what is wrong, and as most parents know it can be challenging to decide what is best for each unique child. The most important part of keeping kids healthy and happy is a total wellness approach that ensures all of the bases are covered and there is a good balance in the mental, physical, and emotional areas.