Return to Learn: NESTS

What would it look like if every child in Johnson County was able to thrive through this challenging school year?

Neighborhood NESTS (Nurturing Every Student Together Safely)

In order to address gaps in the ICCSD Return to Learn plan a group of nonprofits quickly came together to leverage their strengths and coordinate a successful start to the school year for vulnerable and at risk youth. In partnership with nonprofits, the business community, government organizations, the school district, and our faith community, Neighborhood NESTS serve as a safe space with trusted adults, where children and young adults can gather for academic success and emotional wellbeing this school year. 

The Neighborhood NESTS Network was created to build a safety net of resources that can be duplicated and shared with other Nests throughout Johnson County. The Neighborhood NESTS template can be modified and adapted for the unique needs of each neighborhood, and will serve as a central resource for groups wishing to stand up their own.

If you have questions please contact Jennifer Banta

The goal of Neighborhood NESTS is to provide:
  • Child Care
  • Critical Resources
  • Educational Supports
  • Emotional Wellbeing
Depending on space, we suggest your Nest includes…
  • 1 Nest Leader
  • 1 Volunteer
  • 10 or fewer children

Sign up to Volunteer at a Neighborhood NESTS Site

Make a Donation to Support the Neighborhood NESTS Program

How to Build a Neighborhood NEST and Join The Network



Pull together a group of committed folks that are interested in opening a Nest in one of the designated areas. The parent organization needs to be a community nonprofit that serves students and can accept grant funding.


Start building your plan by thinking about who you will serve, what age groups, how many, what hours you’ll operate and who your partners will be. Start developing a budget for your Nest.


When planning, also develop a COVID-19 safety strategy that is in line with CDC guidelines for schools and child care facilities.


Find a location in one of the designated NESTS areas. Partner with a church, community group, or the city to find a space close to the neighborhood you want to serve. 


Once you’ve pulled your group together, fill out the Neighborhood NESTS Network form to let us know your plans and to get plugged into the Network. The Network meets over zoom on Tuesdays at noon each week and can provide resources like PPE and cleaning supplies as well as best practices for standing up your Nest quickly. REGISTER NOW.


Once you’re plugged into the Network, we’ll work with you to find staff for your Nest.  Once you’ve confirmed your staff we’ll work with them to provide training, share resources, and best practices through our safety net.


Once you’re plugged into the Network, we’ll work with you to develop your budget and refine your plan and work with you as you request funding for your Nest through the Community Foundation of Johnson County.