The Mellowhood Game Changers

Young intelligent people with potential and promise, in need of more opportunity, trapped in the day-to-day struggles of racial and class oppression, are often left at the margins of society. The drive of Tutankhamum “Coach” Assad lay here, in these realities that link the fate of young residents of Meadowood, a neighborhood on the southside of Madison. Assad founded the The Mellowhood Foundation, in 2012, in the context of love and community to create more opportunities for underprivileged children and young adults. As a father of two sons, Assad finds strength in imagining a bright future for them, and other young folks in Mellowhood. Young people, Assad said, are “incredibly engaged children with a lot of energy but not a sense of direction.”
After seeing many young folks without much structure in their life, Assad set out to change that.

75 Madison-based winter activities

The holiday season is here, and with it comes the hustle, bustle and in-laws. Here are some ways to enjoy the holidays with or without family and friends. From volunteering at a community organization, to catching a show or bundling-up to play outside, we’ve compiled a few ideas on how to make the most of the holiday season in Madison. Volunteer Opportunities

Bell ringing for the Salvation Army

Volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank

Donate to the Hoofers Ski and Snowboard Re-sale

Help with Bethel Lutheran Church Homeless Support Services

Volunteer with United Way of Dane County

Volunteer with Dane County Humane Society

Volunteer with The Road Home in Madison

Donate to the Sharing Christmas Program with the Middleton Outreach Ministry

Help with Creating for a Cause: Holiday Art Fair

Donate time or winter clothing to the Beacon of Madison

Volunteer at Goodman Community Center

Attend the benefit dinner: Savoring Success: A Night for Porchlight

Help out at River Food Pantry

Donate toys to Toys-for-Tots

Volunteer with Habitat For Humanity Dane County

Outdoor Activities

Visit the Fantasy Lights in Olin Park

Visit the holiday lights at Henry Vilas Zoo

Go Ice Skating at Edgewater, Vilas Park or Tenney Park

Get into a snowball fights with kids who walked on your lawn over the summer

Walk, ski or snow-shoe across a (frozen) lake

Go sledding in Elver Park or Arbor Hills Park

Go ice fishing (Make sure lake is frozen completely)

Go cross country ski in the Arboretum in Madison

Get a group together and play boot hockey

Take a stroll in the UW Madison Arboretum during their Night Walk on New Year’s Eve

Take a hike on Glacial Drumline State Trail

Go skiing with the Madison Nordic Ski Club, which is open to beginners and experts

Visit the Madison Winter Festival

Hike the Ice Age Trail

Go Snowshoeing on trail near Madison

Compete in the Freeze for Food 5K/10K run/walk


Attend the Children’s Theater of Madison’s production of A Christmas Carol at the Overture Center, which runs December  9 to December 23

Attend The Nutcracker presented by Madison Ballet at the Overture Center, which runs December 9 to  December 26

Attend the Third Day of Christmas Carol Sing at Luther Memorial Church on December 27

Attend the Madison Jazz Orchestra at Brink Lounge on December 28

Attend the Hoot’n Annie at Chief’s Tavern on Jan 4

Attend Mr. Popper’s Penguins at the Overture Center on January 7

Attend the Rent at the Overture Center presented by Broadway Across America, which runs from January 2 to January 7

Family Events

Attend the Kids in the Rotunda at the Overture Center (

Attend Winter Break Dreams Retreat: Handmade Holiday Gifts

Go to the Winter Break Dreams Retreat: Cookie Decorating Extravaganza

Make paper snowflake cutouts

Participatie in the Winter Break Dreams Retreat: Holiday Read-In

Attend the Winter Break Dreams Retreat: Bricks 4 Kidz

Attend the Winter Break Dreams Retreat: I’m Board Games and Family

Make homemade hot chocolate

Make a paper chain countdown to Christmas or New Year’s

Attend the New Year’s Eve DreamBank Style

Attend My Family News Year’s Eve

Attend the New Year’s Eve Dance Party

Go to the Free Family Night at Madison Children’s Museum

Go to the Moove and Groove

Indoor Activities

Attend Isthmus Beer and Cheese Fest

Play Frostiball 2018

Nestle up next to one of Madison’s best fireplaces

Shop at the Madison’s Late Winter indoor Farmers Market

See the Christmas Tree at the Wisconsin State Capitol

Attend the Open Mic night at Comedy Club in Madison on Wednesdays

Make s’mores dip

Host an ugly Christmas sweater party

Make Christmas candy

Play Dreidel

Make gingerbread houses

Bake and decorate Christmas cookies

Go to Olbrich’s Holiday Express

Go to Ever Gleaming

Attend a Ugly Sweater Evening at Lucille (every Wednesday, from 10pm to close)

Go to the Holiday Rarities Bierklasse

Make your own hot cider

Go to the Christmas Day Grand Brunch Buffet at Edgewater

Go to the New Year’s Eve Eve at Bos Meadery, featuring The Earthlings, The Shruggers, Annapurna and Meggie Shays

Go to the New Year’s Eve Sip & Savor Food Tour

Attend Free Ballet 101 Class

Go to the Cure Cabin Fever: The Hodag of The North Woods

Write New Year’s Resolutions

Whether you volunteer, stay inside or are more of an outdoor person, there is something for everyone to do this holiday season. Did we miss something?

Wisconsin-made gift ideas for the holidays

Still looking for the right gift for your loved ones? Traveling over the holidays? Possibly leaving Wisconsin? Look no further. Here are ten amazing gifts ideas made in Wisconsin.

Media Digest December 19th 2017

Top Story

A deep look at the Proud Boys chapter in Madison revisits one night of violence. Education

A workshop aims to teach parents of students STEM skills. The Goddard School for early-childhood learning tests educational toys. The group 100 Black Men of Madison is bringing the holiday spirit to high school students who are caregivers for younger siblings. Development

Promega, a  biotech company, shareholders are in a legal dispute alleging racketeering.

United Way Invests $25,000 in Local Nonprofits and Community Organizations

United Way of Dane County announced this fall a $25,000 investment grant to be divided between seven local organizations working in areas of social equity, community organizing and civic engagement. Positive Women for Change, the Northside Planning Council and the Community Immigration Law Center are among the seven awarded organizations, who  received grants ranging from $1,200 to $5,000. The grant renews United Way of Dane County’s support for groups that build leadership capacities in disadvantaged communities, and especially among communities of color. “As our communities face increasingly uncertain futures, it’s more important than ever to keep social justice and equity as two of our topmost priorities,” said Nolan Brown, Co-Chair of United Way’s Community Engagement Capacity Building Team. Another grantee, The Middleton Outreach Ministry received $1,200 to support their work with local business, schools, and religious communities.

Simpson Street Free Press celebrates its 25th anniversary with growth and innovation

Long-celebrated local out-of-school program Simpson Street Free Press is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018 with several programs that connect  students with the greater Wisconsin community. At their core, SSFP’s anniversary projects embody the mission that the organization has been promoting for 25 years—challenging achievement gaps through out-of-school, high-impact literacy training. “To celebrate, we will continue doing what we do best,” senior editor Taylor Kilgore said. “Write, publish, and spark academic achievement.”
Many of SSFP’s anniversary projects launched in 2017, and will continue to grow, overlap and connect in its anniversary year. The plan for 2018 is an enhanced focus on science, environment, art and history, Kilgore said.