Meet Kalisha Reed, the director of program services and mental health therapist at Youth Emergency Services (YES).

Tell us a little about your business. – Youth Emergency Services ( is the only nonprofit in Omaha with the sole mission to help youth experiencing homelessness and near-homelessness in our community. Last year, YES provided support and services to more than 1,100 youth in the Omaha metro area. Many of these youth have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused, making it unsafe for them to return home. Without YES, these vulnerable young people cannot succeed independently. YES offers a full continuum of services and resources to ensure all youth receive the support they need, no matter their situation. This includes a Street Outreach Center, Emergency Shelter, Transitional Living Program, Maternity Group Home, Rapid Rehousing Program, Making A Connection (MAC), and Prevention services.

How did you get started in the business? – I have been working in the nonprofit profession for 20 years in Omaha. I am passionate about working with underserved and/or underrepresented populations for their equal and equitable access to community-based services including legal and mental health access.

What has been your most important achievement professionally? – Since leaving the legal field, I have obtained numerous certifications and attended trainings in mental health as it relates to treating trauma and addressing the impact of trauma and attachment. Recently, I was accepted into the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands (NAM) Nonprofit Executive Institute Class 15 as well as Circles through the Women’s Fund of Omaha. My role at YES is an achievement as our staff work each and every day to end youth homelessness through advocacy, programs and prevention.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – On a day off, I really enjoy not doing much at all and enjoying the quiet and peace from the usual hustle and bustle of the day.

What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – My dad is an avid golfer, and he first taught me how to play when I was 14. He still coaches me and gives me lessons even today.

Who inspires you? – My biggest inspiration is my sister. She is a high school English teacher. The pandemic has really challenged our educators, and she continues to work tirelessly to ensure that students are meeting and exceeding their academic goals. Especially at a time when we are hearing about more educators leaving the classroom, she has been a dedicated classroom teacher for 10 years.

What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – My favorite quote is from the movie The Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living or get busy dying.” The main character is speaking about his desire to get out of prison and live a new life. Life is about choices. There are 86,400 seconds in a day – how are you choosing to spend your time?

If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be? – Genuine. I am an authentic being, sincere but honest.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? – “Good Job” by Alicia Keys. She wrote this song for her mother and all the
overlooked heroes in her life.

What is your favorite TV show? – I have many favorite shows to watch. I love watching Supermarket Sweep with my little 5-year-old, and my all-time favorite show to watch is Grey’s Anatomy.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – (402) 345-5187;;