Munich, Germany, has plenty to offer by way of Bavarian beer, cuisine, and music—but so does Glendale, Wisconsin, site of the Bock Bier Festival. For two days, visitors flock to the Bavarian Soccer Club Complex of Heidelberg Park, where they dance to live German musicians such as Austrian Express and Johnny Hoffman. To replenish their energies, they can dine on German sausages from the kitchen or American snacks such as coleslaw and nachos. German maibock beer washes everything down in 16-ounce cups, 1-liter glass steins, or pitchers. Parking is complimentary, so visitors can dance the night away without pausing to deposit more bratwurst in the meter.
In 1928, John H. Harris, the manager of the Sheridan Square Theatre in Pittsburgh, found a month-old baby girl abandoned in one of the theater chairs with a note asking someone to take care of her. He took her in, dedicated his social club—the Variety Club—to underwriting her support and education, and named her Catherine Variety Sheridan. Harris’s efforts drew support from other entertainers internationally, who joined together to provide aid to disadvantaged youth and children with disabilities. Today, Variety – The Children’s Charity has chapters in 14 countries and 10,000 members and works to enrich the lives of children around the world.
The Wisconsin chapter was started in 1935 by businessmen with ties to show business, and it assists children with disabilities through three programs. The Freedom Program funds durable medical equipment to grant youth greater mobility, and the Caring for Kids program donates medical equipment and therapeutic devices to local clinics and hospitals. The Future Kids program provides educational experiences for young people, including trips to museums, sporting events, and shows.
Hunger Task Force supplies approximately 60,000 meals to 82 pantries and meal programs across Milwaukee County, and more than half of the 35,000 people who visit the pantries every month are children. The Hunger Task Force's emergency-food fund provides nutritious meals such as peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, chicken-noodle soup, and grilled cheese to those in need, with a special focus on children facing hunger. It costs Hunger Task Force $10 to provide a month's worth of lunches for one child.
The True Kulture Screenprint Shop teaches teenagers how to decorate T-shirts, hats, and canvasses with training in graphic-arts and screenprinting techniques. Students learn how to design and market original products to develop both entrepreneurial and artistic skills, and train for design-oriented career paths alongside mentors who work in creative industries. Teens can begin by selling their products online and in local stores, and as the program expands, they will receive stipends to further their projects. True Skool needs additional funding to purchase a UV-screen exposure unit, along with ink and supplies for its printing workshop.
The Milwaukee Debate League trains students for rigorous academic debate to help them strengthen their mental faculties and improve their self-esteem. Completing research in preparation for debates informs them about the world, and engaging in debates with their peers builds communication skills that translate to future careers. The centerpiece of the program, seven citywide debate tournaments, pits students against other teams to debate a specific policy topic and share their ideas about social issues. The Milwaukee Debate League also hosts other opportunities for students to learn research and articulation skills, including a summer institute, a leadership council, and the MDL Scholars Program, which engages high-school students in high-level research at Marquette University. Following a period of declining participation, the Milwaukee Debate League relaunched in 2011 and now works with 14 high schools in the area.
Meta House, a nationally recognized, gender-responsive residential treatment facility, supports women and their children through the process of recovery from substance abuse.
As one of the only treatment centers in Wisconsin that allows children to reside with their mothers as they undergo treatment, Meta House aims to support children, rebuild families, and end the cycle of intergenerational substance abuse. While mothers undergo treatment—including parenting courses and health education—children up to 10 years old learn interpersonal skills and receive interventional services if necessary in a facility next door. When not in class, women are responsible for preparing meals for their children, giving baths, and delegating chores, to ensure they are able to establish the basis of a healthy family routine.