Will Allen has worn many hats in his lifetime. The son of a sharecropper, he founded his urban farming foundation Growing Power in 1993 after a brief career in professional basketball, going on to earn a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and a spot on Time magazine's Top 100 of 2010 list. From Milwaukee to Chicago, his city farms thrive, tended by a volunteer team of all ages who gain the all-too-uncommon satisfaction of knowing the "who, when, where, and how" of their vegetables’ origins. Besides providing the seeds, tools, and educational resources to green the thumbs of any willing student, the farms also foster community bonds by filling the pantries of select local restaurants and locavore squirrels.
The UEC/MVP Project Inc.'s Menomonee Valley – From the Ground Up program aims to improve the valley’s ecological health to counteract public-health concerns and environmental contamination. The program also plans to expand the Hank Aaron State Trail and enhance science-education for local youths and families. Part of the project includes installing native, noninvasive plants to restore the riverbank landscape and combat erosion. This program will transform the 24-acre former rail-switching yard into a park with an Urban Ecology Center and outdoor science classroom. In the redesigned green space, local residents can enjoy the park and learn about natural science in the Urban Ecology Center. Volunteers will plant trees and shrubs and monitor water quality to ensure a continually safe and lush environment.
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Journey House’s 2010 basketball program engaged 67 students who ranged in age from 13 to 18 years old, and the organization's five middle- and high-school teams competed in both spring and summer leagues. Athletes are required to adhere to a curriculum designed by coaches that imparts positive skills and values such as goal setting, sportsmanship, and individual responsibility. Players must prioritize academics above athletics, and are required to participate in Journey House's scholastic programs, such as Reading Scholars and Math Academy. Journey House would like to outfit its basketball players with new uniforms to help instill a sense of teamwork and pride in its student athletes and present a unified front during competitions.
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.
Make A Difference – Wisconsin trains students to become financially literate to help ensure that they make sound decisions as adults. The organization recruits volunteers from the business community and teaches them how to interact with the students during educational sessions held throughout the school year. Volunteers teach the students a variety of money-management skills during seminars on budgeting and saving, understanding checking accounts, and understanding credits cards, reports, and history. Make A Difference has delivered its program to 26,000 students in the last six years. The results it has collected from the last three years include reports from graduates who have been inspired to open savings accounts and who share tips from the program with friends and family members.