Who We Are

Our Mission

The mission of the Teen Center is to maximize the potential of youth within our community through the development of positive relationships, motivation for academic success, and safe environments.

The Teen Center is a unique collaborative effort of St. Luke, Burke High School, Nebraska Methodist College and numerous community partners.

Here they:

  • Live who they are and embrace who they can become;
  • Grow in academic, leadership and relationship skills;
  • Serve others to create a better tomorrow.

The Teen Center is an outreach program using the church as a way to express our love, but not as a way to add to church membership or advance any religious philosophy. The Teen Center is one important way for our church to serve our community. St. Luke understands that our young people need support and that it takes a village to raise a child. We are lucky to be a part of their village.


Our Story

St. Luke United Methodist Church and Burke High School have been after-school partners for over thirty years. The relationship was informal until the development of the Teen Center in 2007. St. Luke noticed students hanging around and wandering the neighborhood. We later found out that these students were not eligible for transportation through the school thus were waiting for working parents to pick them up. We also discovered that those who did qualify for transportation were not seeking out after-school programs once they returned to their neighborhoods. St. Luke worked with Burke administrators, held a capital campaign, renovated over 10,000 square feet within the church and opened an after-school program in 2007. We now are a full service after-school program serving 150 students each year as well as our growing alumni base.



Our Staff

Abbey Jackson

Abbey Jackson

Teen Center Director

Originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota, Abbey arrived in Omaha to attend Creighton University in 1999.  With a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Journalism, Abbey's professional background ranges from non-profit development to youth ministry.

Abbey has a passion for creating environments in which youth can find meaningful relationships and access to resources that lend to self-sufficiency.  As Director of the Teen Center, Abbey is responsible for the programming, staffing, and supervision of the after school program that serves Burke High School.

"Having been truly affected by a variety of mentoring relationships growing up, I find a passionate calling to serve the youth of our community in a positive and fun way."

Abbey shares her love for youth with her husband, Jason, who is a teacher and coach in the Omaha metro area. 



JaLisa Sanford

JaLisa Sanford

Teen Center Assistant Director

JaLisa is an Omaha native, who graduated from Burke High School in 2010.  She was one of the first students to show up when the Teen Center opened in 2006.  After high school, JaLisa went on to get her Bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.



Abbey Jackson
402-333-6886 ext. 328

JaLisa Sanford
Assistant Director

Ciara Montoya
Program Assistant


Our Advisory Board

Shirley Petersen

Rabbi Steven Abraham
Holly Barstow
Chuck Biddle
John Deardorff
Kirk & Teresa Kellner

Bill Piepmeier
Kristi Reimers
Kris Story
Larry Uebner



St. Luke Teen Center is a unique collaboration between Burke High School, Nebraska Methodist College and St. Luke United Methodist Church.

Burke High School

Burke High School is dedicated to providing an exemplary education through the collaborative efforts of students, parents, and staff and community. Burke provides eight teachers to staff the academic portion of the Teen Center, transportation services to our students who are eligible and administrative support.

Nebraska Methodist College

Nebraska Methodist College is the host agency for a TRIO Upward Bound grant. Upward Bound is a federally funded college preparation program through the U.S. Department of Education. NMC first received funding in 2007. The goal of this program is to increase the rates at which participants complete high school and enroll in and graduate from post-secondary education programs. The after-school portion of this program is housed at the Teen Center.

© 2016 St. Luke United Methodist Church. All rights reserved.