• Ninety Six Oak

Omaha Family Front Steps Photo Interviews || COVID-19's Impact

Updated: May 6, 2020

On March 18, we put up a Facebook post about Front Steps Family Photos and Interviews - how we'd like to give free sessions to those celebrating birthdays in March-April. Before we knew it, we had 40+ people respond to the post. We said YES to everyone who replied and it expanded to more than 80 families total. We quickly saw how this could bring a shimmer of light to a challenging time.

I asked each family a few questions so there could be a bit of depth behind the photos themselves - to showcase and create a deeper community connection during this quarantine. They gave permission to have their photo/responses/# public. Some share lighthearted, sweet sentiments about what they've learned while in quarantine, while others share a look into what it means to be in the healthcare industry right now. Circumstances vary tremendously from person to person.


We are all living a different story - There are SO MANY more people I'd love to do these photos and interviews with to give a broader representation of who/what Omaha is all about. People are struggling. Some of us no longer have consistent, reliable work (ourselves included). Some of us are non-stop working to save lives and to keep our world clean/safe. Some of us are counting blessings to have job security and an option to work from home safely. We want to hear from everyone. How has COVID-19 impacted your life?

Feel free to reply in the comments.

Photos might be considered 'non-essential' right now, but we wanted to give back in the best way we know how to during this time. If me making squeaky noises so your dog will look at the camera can make you smile amidst this tragedy, bring it on. We just wanted to give people something to cherish and reflect on in the future.


Not everyone has a roof over their head, running water or a warm meal, so we need to stay thankful for the things we tend to take for granted. And we need to do all we can to help and take care of those who are not in the same place as us. Let's start a ripple effect of compassion and love more than ever right now. No matter how much or little you have, you can always share and help others in one way or another. Maybe you don't have extra money to give, but you have your time. That's one of your most valuable assets. You can give your time to help a neighbor with yard work, your time to read to your kids more, your time to check in with more phone calls...

More ideas on helping our Omaha community, visit https://shareomaha.org/covid19.

(These photos were taken around the Omaha metro from Bennington, Bellevue, La Vista, Council Bluffs, Papillion, Plattsmouth, Gretna, Underwood, Iowa.)

Okay, we will let you see the sweet photos now. Thank you for letting us be your photographers and videographers. We care about you with all our hearts, Molly + Joshua Giangreco hello@ninetysixoak.com

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family? "Just this week COVID-19 has personally impacted our family. My great-aunt was 94 years old and living in a assisting home in Des Monies. Last week she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and pass away on Monday. No suffering, no pain, just one last exhale. And finally, peace. I work for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Nebraska. COVID-19 has impacted our business especially with the restaurants and bars in our community being closed for the past weeks. I have been working from home for 7 weeks now and homeschooling our daughter for 6 six weeks. Life is way to short and we were running all the time to different family or friend events. We now go on a walk each night, play games and love spending time just the three of us!" - The Barney Family

Why was it significant for you to experience a Front Steps Photo Session during this COVID-19 crisis? "To remember this unique time with our family & to remember to see all the good that happens even during hard times. My kids & I have spent more time with my husband than we ever have. Life has slowed down & we have been able to catch our breath & just do ordinary things together at home. It has been challenging to not see our family & friends, but has brought us closer together as a family." - The Matson Family

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family? "I’m a high school teacher, so it has been really hard for me to cope with the fact that I won’t see my students again. I am changing professions, so sadly I won’t even get to say goodbye to my kids. Always make sure you take care of your home life first. Tend to your own garden and water it daily. Surround yourself with an amazing support group who you can truly count on." - Emilia Force + Family

"I originally thought being at home long term would be extremely difficult, but the silver lining has been a tremendous amount of really wonderful family time. My sons would normally be playing baseball and we'd all be running around busy, but instead, we're just home and (mostly) enjoying it. There are still plenty of daily challenges, but the togetherness has turned into a surprising family gift I want to remember. The biggest challenge has been the isolation for the kids. It's been hard to be away from school, away from sports, and away from all their friends. They've gotten along shockingly well, but I know they're dying to go over to another house and hang out with other people. Clearly teachers should all be paid a million dollars! But for us, we're reminding each other to be grateful every day that we're safe, healthy, happy, stable, employed, and fortunate to able to get through this together." -The Strotman Family

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family?

My husband is working from home with out 2 small kids due to their daycare being closed. I am still going to work in healthcare, but our hours are being cut because patients coming to the hospital has greatly decreased.

-The Burgher Family

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family? "I'm a DJ, so all of my events have been cancelled/postponed indefinitely. My husband was working from home, but was laid off 3 weeks ago. I have two graduating seniors that have both missed out on prom and won't have a graduation ceremony. I'm also a student at MCC and was supposed to graduate in May, so now I don't get to walk to receive my degree either. But the biggest upside to all of this, has been my family actually getting to spend time together!" - The Forrest Family

Why was it significant for you to experience a Front Steps Photo Session during this COVID-19 crisis? "Three of our children are keeping journals during quarantine, so a family photo seemed like a beautiful addition to their keepsakes. Also two of our four children celebrated birthdays turning quarantine-coming up with creative ways to celebrate those milestones when we can’t have our traditional celebrations. It's not always easy and hate what’s going on outside but have loved what happened inside our home! No rushing out the door, every meal planned and eaten together, praying as a family & the creativeness of everyone to keep busy! I’m sure we’ll jump right back into everything when this is over but as a mama I’ll savor these days together!" - The Arlen Family

"There are the obvious challenges of balancing a little one at home while both my husband and I are working from home. The bigger impact has been when I choose to look at the positive - I am getting family time and time with my son that I otherwise don't get (I work full-time and he attends daycare). We are slowing down our schedule and learning to relax more and be present. I know we are incredibly fortunate because my husband and I are both able to work from home and still have our jobs, and I try to be grateful for that when this all gets to be difficult and discouraging. I am a professor, currently teaching remotely from home. We needed to slow down our schedule. We need to be present, enjoy the time together, and not go back to the "busyness" of the day to day that we had before." - The Frans Family

"We were unable to have newborn pictures taken for our new baby boy. We wanted to capture our new family together. It has been very difficult with a newborn. We have had lots of worries about keeping him safe and healthy. I am a teacher. I am on maternity leave, however, my kids at school are receiving online instruction. Family is everything!" - The Blessings Family

Why was it significant for you to experience a Front Steps Photo Session during this COVID-19 crisis?

"We weren’t able to do 6 month photos for our baby and wanted to capture this time when so few family and friends were able to see Piper grow. Our jobs were not affected except that we now work from home instead of an office. You can create happiness and joy from any circumstance by focusing on the good!" -The Akert Family

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family?

"I'm still going to work as an ICU RN in Tele-Health and support front line RN’s in the ICU units. My biggest challenge is not feeling like I’m doing enough for them in this challenging time.  My husband owns his own security alarm company and has been able to work on new construction when others are not around. Our daughter and 5 year old granddaughter live with us and we’ve had to be really creative to keep the little one busy!" -The Berry Family

Why was it significant for you to experience a Front Steps Photo Session during this COVID-19 crisis? We needed a family photo and we are working from home. One lesson we learned from going through an in-home quarantine is to be patient. -The Busing Family

We lived a very social life before the quarantine. Whether going out to eat or hanging out with family we were always doing something. We love to travel & actually had to cancel our trip to Washington when this all started. Our new norm has been cooking meals at home, playing Dominos, Zooming with family, taking walks & binge watching Netflix. A struggle has been not being with our friends and family. Not being able to celebrate birthdays or holidays together. We have learned there is no certainty & to never take things for granted. " - The Martin Family

What has been your greatest lesson or takeaway from going through COVID-19?

It’s truly just to SLOW down. Life is too fast. This made me appreciate forming bonds in new unique ways with friends and family. We came up with creative ways to celebrate birthdays, Easter, tuning in to church on Sundays on the weekend and really taking in the time to learn and absorb that week’s sermon. This time helped me reflect on my own personal growth and helped me work on myself. We took up the opportunity to learn to cook different things we’ve never made. We’ve gotten take out on takeout-Tuesday to support our favorite local restaurants. -Laura Behrens

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family?

My husband has to still go to work and that has been a challenge as he could be exposed to it at anytime. Online learning for my 9-year-old has been challenging too as she needs structure, routine and a teacher in front of her and that she gets from going to school. Being home schooled now, we tend to slack and she misses out on socializing with her friends. As a family we have a busy social life and now with everyone being indoors it has been hard on us. We spend a lot of time together as a family playing board games, spending time in prayer, just having time for each other as a family and most of all, learning to be tech savvy. -The Rodricks Family

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family? Social life? Any challenges you've had to overcome or are still battling?

"My biggest battle has been homeschooling a kindergartner and 1st grader while caring for 5 month old twin babes. 😬 I am in management at T.j. Maxx. We are currently shut down but I am lucky to work for such a wonderful company! For being such an introvert and a home-body, I sure do miss normal human interaction."

-The Weixelman Family

"We are due for our first baby June 1st. COVID-19 has really impacted the experience of preparing to be first time parents. We had to cancel our baby shower, my husband can't come to appointments, the fear of the unknown, and not being able to celebrate baby with family and friends. I am an elementary special education teacher. We have been teaching remotely. I miss my kiddos so much! In some ways it has taught me the importance of slowing down and taking time to do the things that make you happy. It has also taught me not to take the precious time we have with our friends and family for granted. Also, I will never hope for a snow day again! Haha!" - The Cozad Family

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family? "Mentally! And having a four year old who doesn’t quite understand why she can’t go to the park has been tough. I'm in child care—I am furloughed currently. But we are learning that family time is the best time!" - The Herman Family

Why was it significant for you to experience a Front Steps Photo Session during this COVID-19 crisis?

"It's incredible to say the least of what is happening in our country and other countries currently. This is our new home, new dog, and new experience we are going through. This Front Steps session will allow us a memory we may not have had the opportunity to capture on a regular day to day. What a way to remember this global pandemic."

- The Hawkins Family

What is one lesson or takeaway you've learned from going through an in-home quarantine?

"Kids are resilient! And we, as humans, are all adaptable.. it doesn’t take very long to adjust to a new normal if you have an open mind." - The Griffiths Family

What is one lesson or takeaway you've learned from going through an in-home quarantine?

"I feel like we have gotten back to what truly matters. We always say there's not enough time. Well, now we have all the time in the world. We have had more nerf gun wars , dinners at the table, and dance parties in the kitchen than we ever have before. I think a take away for me, is that when this is all over, to remember to give all the fear to God and keep pursuing the relationships in life that truly matter." - The Kelly Family

Why was it significant for you to experience a Front Steps Photo Session during this COVID-19 crisis?

"It’s a huge thing that happened during our daughters first year of life so it was worth capturing!" -The Gillespie Family

What is one lesson or takeaway you've learned from going through an in-home quarantine?

"Make time to see your loved ones and stay connected. It’s what will get you through the weird times." -Kelly Jefferson

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family? Any challenges you've had to overcome or are still battling?

I have lost my job and have never received unemployment. I have emailed tons of people and still no answers. Being in quarantine with my kids has taught me that I am not a teacher. But I try my best to be the best mom I can be.

-The Matthews Family

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family?

"Recently my husband and two youngest were very sick. They was being treated as presumptive positive. I laid in bed at night watching them breathe to make sure they weren’t getting worse and thanked God every morning when they woke up. It was an extremely scary and stressful time but, They are doing so much better now and have fully recovered." -The Trofholz Family

What is one lesson or takeaway you've learned from going through an in-home quarantine?

"To always make time for friends and family no matter how busy things get again. We don’t always have to stay on a schedule and enjoy the walks and talks with family and friends more than ever! Also cherish every hug!!!!" -The Cunningham Family

Any challenges you've had to overcome or are still battling due to COVID-19? "In addition to adding a newborn, we have a 9 year old son. Having just returned to work full time in January from maternity leave and an additional LOA for Natalie's care all while being diagnosed with post partum anxiety and working through those challenges, I was only back to work a full 7 weeks before COVID hit and I became a work from home, home schooling, daycare running Mama. My husband and I have both experienced hours lost in our jobs, our son is super active in sports and activities, we're active in our church, and to go from extremely busy to extremely secluded, these last few months have without a doubt, been the most challenging of our nearly 15 years together and 9 years as parents. I heard recently to simplify your life in order to simply live your life. That spoke volumes to me. I cannot control what I cannot control. But I can make things more simple, in order to live more simply. Not over complicate any of this. Because I can't change it. I'm not the perfect mom. I'm not a teacher. As much as babies need their Mama, she gets really sick of me all day long, and that's OK. My son and I are polar opposites most days and he drives me up a wall, sometimes toward a cocktail on a Tuesday. At 4:55 PM. They still love me." - The Rusch Family

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family?

"Our life is turned upside down! No school for my oldest and no daycare for my youngest. Add Working from home on top of that and we’ve got a mad house! Haha, but we are loving the time together as we’d never have this much time together otherwise." -The Lindsey Family

How has your job been impacted?

"Sam works in Procurement for a large food company in Omaha. Work has really picked up to ensure grocery store shelves are stocked across the country. Abby works with Nebraska’s nonprofit community and is working to ensure organizations have the support and resources needed to meet community needs during these uncertain times. We are both thankful our jobs allow the flexibility and safety of working from home."

- Sam + Abby

Has your job been impacted?

"Yes, we are in the entertainment/restaurant industry so we are currently not working or getting paid."

-The Phelps Family

How has COVID-19 personally impacted you and your family?

"Luckily we still have our jobs, but my husband's travel has gone from 50% down to 0 (I don't hate that part!). We are struggling with only having childcare a maximum of 3 times a week. I'm a homebody who already worked from home, so the social distancing isn't too much of a shock." -The Wojcik Family

What is one lesson or takeaway you've learned from going through an in-home quarantine?

"Give myself grace. I had a baby in October and it has just been a whirlwind with trying to work full time from home, taking care of 3 kids all while my husband is at work."

- The Lafrentz Family

What’s a lesson or takeaway you’ve learned from dealing with an in-home quarantine?

"Be empathetic. Be selfless. Everyone handles these times differently and we have to be there for one another." - The Long Family

Why was it significant for you to experience a Front Steps Photo Session during this COVID-19 crisis?

"I think that it will be something sweet to look back on. Everything online is so negative so it’s be nice to have something like this to smile about." -The Stangl Family

Has your job been impacted?

"Yes, I'm a hair stylist and we are closed down right now." - The Kulp Family

What’s a lesson or takea