Staff spotlight: Nina brings organizational knowledge to northeast Nebraska

Until almost a decade ago, Nina Lanuza had always lived in big cities. Then, she moved to Schuyler, Nebraska, and hasn’t looked back since.

“At this point in my life, I don’t think I will ever move back to an urban area,” she said. “Rural America offers a sense of community, unity, social relationships, and peace. The air is filled with birdsong in the mornings, and I know who is in my son's classroom or on his baseball team—those are all priceless to me.”

Her love of small-town America led Nina to the Center for Rural Affairs, where she recently joined the team as a community organizer.

“I love the work the Center does in rural communities, and I want to be part of that change,” she said. “I’m excited to work with people from all cultural backgrounds, living in the same geoographic area.”

Nina is no stranger to the work involved in the role of a community organizer. She has held paid and volunteer positions with nonprofit organizations across Nebraska for the last several years. She’s also worked with flood relief groups in her area, as well as with the response teams for the 2018 O'Neill immigration raid, 2019 Madison immigration raids, and the current COVID-19 response team in Schuyler.

Much of this work is similar to what Nina’s role with the Center involves. She serves northeast Nebraskans in their business development needs, as well as handles multilingual distribution of information to the region. Nina also assists community leaders with cultural competency, welcoming, and engaging immigrant communities, among other duties.

The community organizer enjoys not only working in her own rural community but also having the opportunity to work in small towns all around her.

“Rural areas are absolutely necessary for America to function,” said Nina. “Cities rely on rural areas to meet their demands for food, water, wood, raw materials, etc. That is why I believe it's important to work with rural communities to make a stronger system.”

When she isn’t working, Nina enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going on road trips, and partaking in outdoor activities like hiking, camping, swimming, and baseball. She’s also passionate about politics, and is a strong advocate for social justice and women's empowerment.

Nina can be reached at her home office at 402.380.0785 or ninal@cfra.org.