What We Do

Growing Community Connections is a community collaborative. SHIP is the backbone agency and grant coordinator for the project. The collaborative formed out of the ashes of South Sioux City School’s Safe Schools Grant. Originally called “Cardinal Connections”, GCC changed its name to be reflective of the entire county, and be more inclusive of the 3 other School Districts. The collaborative through SHIP is funded by a Child Well Being Grant from Nebraska Children & Families Foundation, which helps build a community collaborative over 5 years and $340,000.

Project partners include Boys and Girls Home, NENCAP (Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership), Boys Town, South Sioux City Schools, Crittenton Center, Prairie Psychological Services, Jackson Recovery Centers, A Better Way Therapy, The Lodge Counseling Services, UNL Extension in Dakota County, ESU Service Unit #1, Dakota County Sheriff’s Department, Homer Community School District, Department of Health and Human Services, City of South Sioux City, South Sioux City Chamber of Commerce, Cubby Care Campus Preschool, the Siouxland Family Center and many more.

  • Matt Ohman

    Matt Ohman is the Executive Director for Siouxland Human Investment Partnership. He is responsible for the management, guidance and direction for all programs and services provided by and authorized by SHIP.

    Graduating from East High School, Matt is a lifelong Sioux City resident. He graduated from Morningside College in 2000 with a degree in mass communication and business. He worked as an account executive at Cable One Advertising for six years prior to coming to SHIP in 2006. His role at SHIP from 2006 – 2012 was as a contract coordinator and Early Childhood Iowa Director.

    Matt has been coordinating the Social-Emotional grant from Nebraska Children & Families Foundation for Dakota County Connections since early 2012. As the SHIP representative, he helps to facilitate all DCC meetings and coordinates all of the work being done by SHIP on behalf of DCC.

    Matt’s personal connection to Dakota County is that his mother, Jean Ohman, was a teacher and librarian in the South Sioux City School District for nearly twenty years before she retired in 1993.

  • JoAnn Gieselman – Growing Community Connections Director

    JoAnn has the joy of serving as the” Growing Community Connections” collaboration director. As director she gets to serve with, support, and connect many agencies, business, schools, city officials, churches, individuals and more in our tri-state area in fun and unique ways. The GCC collaboration’s Common Agenda is to improve the quality of life for the children, youth, and families that we all serve and live with. The GCC collaboration knows that by combining our expertise and resources we can provide the best supports possible.

    JoAnn graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Education with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education. Throughout her career JoAnn has taken additional graduate courses in Behavioral Disabilities and Social work from both the University of Nebraska and the University of Iowa.

    JoAnn has been an active part of Growing Community Connections since its conception and truly enjoys the wonderful opportunity she has to work with the many industrious and inspirational individuals and agencies in our area.


Below is a list of all the fantastic partners in Growing Community Connections who have signed the “Common Agenda Statement” which is to : “Improve the quality of life and social=emotional well-being of children, youth, and families in our communities”. Signing this does not obligate anyone but rather shows our wonderful collaborative spirit to work together to better support the children, youth and families in our communities. All GCC partners are encouraged to sign and add their name to the list at any time.

Becky Keen - Wayne State College

Abby Kempema - Beyond the Bell

Angela Korth - Neb. VR

Tyrion Lannister -

Tammy Lee - American Red Cross

Mariel Limon - NENCAP

Karen Mackey - Sioux City Human Rights Commission

Karen Mackey - Siouxland Pride Alliance

Lucus Mann - Neb. VR

Amber Martin -

Becky Mathis - South Sioux City Hosting Agency

Brooke McBride - S.T.A.R.S.

Kevin McCormick - Sioux City Police Dept.

Steve McGrory - BOOST

Michele Melo -

Shawna Messerlie - Wayne State College

Angela Messina Lundeen - NENCAP

Kara Michaelson - Nebraska VR

Rev. Jose Miranda - St. Paul United Methodist Church

Elexa Mollet - Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

Gina Moyer - Sanford Center

Jessica Nutz - Survivor Outreach Services

Andrea Paret - Mary J. Treglia Community House

Michelle Parker - Ho-Chunk Comm. Development Corp.

Tavis Perry - BOOST

Karen Ramos - NENCAP

Heidi Reinking - Siouxland Chamber of Commerce

Lillyan Rodriguez - Delta Hotels by Marriott

Rogelio Rodriguez -

Mecca Ross - UFCW Local 222

Brenda Sale - Neb. Extension in Dakota County

Stacy Schenk - Nebraska DHHS

Kelsey Schomaker - SHIP

Steve Shadle -

Alyssa Silver - Lutheran Services of Iowa

Jonette Spurlock - Center for Siouxland

Mawerdi Sufyan -

Kristy Tremayne - New Stage Players

Jennie Umland -

Susan Vondrak - Opportunities Unlimited

Mohamed Warsame - Sugal Consulting

Mohamed Warsame - East African Comm. of Neb.

Melinda Wells - South Sioux City HS

Jesse Williams - District 6 Probation

Valerie Williams - Center for Siouxland

Kim Wilson - Jackson Recovery Centers

Donna Wolff - Northeast NE Suicide Prevention Coalition

Donna Wolff - Ponca Tribe of Neb.

Veronica Yebra - Nebraska DHHS

Christa Yoakum - Nebraska Appleseed

Karina - Immigrant Legal Center

Jason Allen - GiGi’s Playhouse

Michelle Andersen - CAASA

Melinda Arguello - Mercy Housing

Sara Arguello - Haven House

Mallory Berkenpas - Lutheran Services of Iowa

Terrie Binneboese - United Way

David Bittenger - Norm Waitt Sr YMCA

Kristine Bornholtz - Women Aware

Julie Boyle - Neb. Extension in Dakota County

Rev. Sandra Braasch - Salem Lutheran Church

Kevin Brown - Sioux City Vet Center

Jacquelyn Brummond - Dakota County Star

Jami Canham - Neb. Department of Labor

Mike Carlson - District 6 Probation

Rachael Cohen -

Roxana Cortes Peyer - Immigrant Legal Center

Linda Cravens - NENCAP

Nicole Cusick - WellCare of Nebraska

Lacey Davis - Owens Educational Services

Rita DeJong - BOOST

Jacqueline DeLeon - BOOST

Sara DeLuna Institute for Community Alliances

Julie Elbert - Catholic Charities

Terry Embke - Morningside Bible Church

Abbie Engel - ESU #1

Abbie Engel - Parents Interacting With Infants

Kevin Engel-Cartie - Volunteer Siouxland

Susan Erickson -

Stephen Fasnacht - Camp High Hopes

Jim France -

Bill Garvey. SR. - South Sioux City Athletic Boosters

Bill Garvey. Sr. - South Sioux City Community Foundation

Bill Garvey. Sr. - Voices for Food

Bill Garvey. Sr. - Cardinal Christmas Baskets

Janet Gill - Dakota County Commissioners

Maria Gomez - CAASA

Anne Grohs - Cottonwood Conference Center

Olga Guevara - Unity in Action

James Gunsolley - ESU #1

Brett Hall -

Kerri Hall - SHIP

Jan Hawk - NENCAP

Heather Hennings - United Way

Molly Hewitt - ISU Ext. & Outreach

Trista Hodgson - Bethany Christian Services

Jacob Huju - Immigrant Legal Center

Jennifer Jackson - Heartland Counseling Services

Christie Johnson - Siouxland Comm. Health Center

Linda Kalin - Iowa Poison Control Center

Miranda Karn -