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Carleton Weitz Fellows | July 9, 2024

Weitz Fellow Voices: Olivia at Women’s Fund of Omaha

By Olivia Patinkin

This is a guest blog written by one of our Weitz Fellows, Olivia Patinkin. This blog is estimated to take 3 minutes to read.

Hello! My name is Olivia Patinkin (she/her) and I’m the current Weitz Fellow at the Women’s Fund of Omaha, a non-profit which researches, advocates, and funds collective action to advance gender equity in Omaha and beyond.

At Carleton, I majored in Theater and minored in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies. Naturally, I was thrilled to learn of this opportunity and even more thrilled to learn that the Women’s Fund specifically wanted their fellow to work on the Adolescent Health Project. Don’t worry –– I’ve still had ample opportunity to work with and within our other teams, from coordinating a Domestic Violence Practicum for medical students (Freedom From Violence), to putting together a safe space during a legislative hearing on LGBTQ+ rights (Policy), to assisting with monthly Circles meetings (Women in Leadership). Given, however, that my focus in my Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies minor –– affectionately referred to by Carls as “GWSS” (gee-whiz!) –– was sex education and reproductive justice, the Adolescent Health Project couldn’t be a better fit.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen Roe v. Wade overturned, stricter abortion regulations imposed in our state, and now we’re seeing threats to abortion medication and even birth control. This evolving landscape underscores the importance of the Adolescent Health Project and its youth-facing brand, Access Granted. Our mission is to make sexual and reproductive health resources more available to young people, who are particularly vulnerable as they find themselves at the intersection of inadequate sex education and pervasive disinformation on social media. So, from free STI testing and treatment, to free condom boxes (planted at 160+ locations across Omaha), to our newest initiative, sexual health vending machines, we’ve got you covered!

Our sexual health vending machine initiative has been particularly gratifying to work on. These machines offer emergency contraception for $8 and pregnancy tests for $3. I have helped out behind the scenes, planning fundraisers and spreading the word through Instagram Reels. I also had the privilege of speaking about the importance of emergency contraception from a youth perspective at our latest sexual health vending machine launch, which was so successful that it made the front page of the Omaha World Herald.

In addition to the sexual health vending machine initiative, some exciting opportunities I’ve had include speaking at our annual Lead the Change luncheon, facilitating a youth panel at an event with Dr. Ina Park (author of Stranger Bedfellows), and participating in our Emerging Leaders’ Circles, a program we run in collaboration with Urban Abbey.

Nine months into my fellowship, I was thrilled to share that in July, I’d be starting a new position at the Women’s Fund: Youth Engagement and Social Media Coordinator. I couldn’t have asked for a more passionate or uplifting team than that of the Women’s Fund. They’ve given me every opportunity to grow and learn, and I look forward to all that’s still to come.


Instructor demonstrating art technique to two children at a table.

Equity | November 28, 2022

Centering People Not Checklists

By Alexzia Plummer, Program Associate

Imagine you’ve invited your close friend or relative to your […]

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