Meet Our Staff
Nola Derby-Bennett | Executive Director
With two decades of Youth Service experience, my career includes working with youth in transition in a variety of different capacities. I currently serve as the Executive Director at The HUB, a position that I have been in since January 2012, though I have been with The HUB since 2005. I grew up in Scribner, Nebraska and I truly believe that my small town upbringing impacts the environment that I work to create for young people seeking support and services in Lincoln.
I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Human Service Federation, United Way for Lancaster County and Leadership Lincoln. I am a member of Leadership Lincoln Fellows Class 28 and Lincoln Rotary #14.
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology and Human Services from College of Saint Mary and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Doane.
Favorite HUB Moment
Of course I love it every single time that a young person reaches their goals and becomes one step closer to living the life they always dreamed of. However, my all-time favorite HUB moments have to do with the wacky situations that have happened to our staff. From trash-can pranking to a time when someone newspapered over another staff member’s office door to having a bat hanging from a doorway during an interview, we have had a lot of fun together and that shows in the quality of the work that we do with the youth that we serve.
In my free time, I love to cook, go to concerts and music festivals, travel, and I recently ran a half-marathon (I wouldn’t necessarily say that was all that much fun though!)
Lindsey Drake | Central Access Navigator
I was born and raised right here in Lincoln, NE. I attended Northeast High School.” Once a Rocket always a Rocket!” I began working at The HUB in 2007. My current role is the Central Access Navigator. In this role, I work with youth who are aging out of foster care and helping them with resources they may need. In the past, I have facilitated H2O with the parenting classes at Lincoln High, North Star, Northeast, Southeast and East High Schools. I worked with youth in our Project HIRE program on helping them become employable in the community. I also worked with youth, who need assistance with accessing community services, such as housing, DHHS benefits etc. I spent 3 years working at Lincoln High School as part of the High School Graduation Initiative I’ve pretty much done it all!
I attended SCC and currently am attending UNL to obtain my teaching certificate in secondary education.
Favorite HUB Moment
My favorite HUB moment was taking a group of student parents to a Mayoral Forum, where they had the opportunity to ask the Mayor questions that pertained to them and their children. Seeing them have that opportunity was incredible! I am privileged to meet and work with such great youth in our community.
I have 3 children ages, 16, 10, and 6. They keep me very busy, but I enjoy every minute of it because they grow up way too fast! In my spare time I enjoy working in my yard.
My favorite food is Mexican. I could eat it every day.
Jordan Hasselbalch | Life Skills Training Specialist
I have led a privileged life. I say this most of all because I was empowered by my elders to let intellectual curiosity be my life’s primary motivation. One of my heroes, Aldo Leopold, once said of his life’s motivation: “there are two things that interest me; the relationship of people to each other, and the relationship of people to land.” This statement has long been true of my interests.
These abiding interests underlie many of the significant events of my life; receiving the Eagle Scout award, attending Arts and Humanities Focus Program, studying anthropology at UNL, serving as an AmeriCorps Member, joining The HUB staff. My goal as an educator and youth worker is to empower our clients to let their intellectual curiosities and passions be the guiding force in their lives. Lives to often governed by external forces and institutions.
B.A. Anthropology, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Favorite HUB moment
As an educator the most rewarding moments are those ah-ha moments. The times I’m able to see GED program participants unlock the mystery behind some problem, concept or equation. The kind of epiphany that sent Archimedes running naked into the streets crying out “Eureka!”
I love any kind of outdoor adventure; canoeing, rafting, backpacking, cycling, sailing, horseback riding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, you name it!
Cured meats! dehydrated, smoked, salted, pickled or brined!
Mahelete Assefa | Community Outreach Specialist
As a young child, all I wanted to do when I “grew up” was to be in a position that positively benefited society, and as an adult I can say that I am fulfilling my childhood dreams. As one of the Community Outreach Specialists and LEAP Coaches here at The HUB, I get to provide resources and support to wonderful young adults in their journey to becoming successful and contributing members of society.
BA. Political Science, Nebraska Wesleyan University
Favorite HUB Moment
Within the short time I have been at The HUB, I have met some great people and made great memories. It’s quite difficult to say I have a single favorite moment because I have several. I have enjoyed working with so many motivated young adults and any success that they experience is a favorite moment of mine.
I am in love with traveling. Travel provides me with opportunities to experience “change.” I am the type of person that gets easily bored and having my environment change provides me with the excitement and growth I need to keep going forward in life.
One of my all-time favorite hobbies is cooking. I grew up as a picky eater but cooking has forced me to be more adventurous with my palate. I will forever love the Ethiopian food my mom and her wonderful culinary skills raised me on but I am also glad my taste buds are expanding.
Catalina Alvarez | Community Outreach Specialist
I was born and raised in Peru, a multicultural and multilingual country with marked regions as the Andes, the Jungle and the Coast. Life events brought me to Albuquerque, NM, and several years later I moved to Lincoln, NE. For most of my life, whether in my country of origin or here in the USA, I had worked with children and adults with disabilities. In 2015, I began working at the HUB as a Youth and Community Outreach Specialist. In that capacity, I have worked at Lincoln High in the Back on Track Program, Project HIRE program, and lately as a Bridging specialist for the LEAP (Learn to Earn and Achieve Potential) Program.
I have my Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the oldest university of the Americas “Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos”. Later on, I studied three years of Education with an emphasis in Spanish language and Literature.
Favorite HUB Moment
Every time the HUB participants accomplish, or achieve a goal, is a celebration of life for me. They are an example of courage and resilience, as they have to overcome many barriers to get where they want to be. A good reminder for all of us that one shall never give up on a dream.
Enjoy listening to music, dancing, working in the yard and hanging out with friends.
Peruvian Food !!!