June 2019 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. Thom Thoresen, Wisconsin Conservation Voices

Thom Thoresen is a hardworking volunteer and longest-serving board member of Wisconsin Conservation Voices. Since 2004, Thom has facilitated Wisconsin Conservation Voices’ membership at Community Shares of Wisconsin. In this role, he leads fundraisers and matches donations for the annual Big Share campaign.

May 2019 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. Jill Nagler, OutReach

Jill Nagler has been a volunteer for OutReach since 2011 in many capacities and is now the OutReach Board Secretary. OutReach’s mission is a commitment to equity and quality of life for all LGBTQ+ people through community building, health and human services, and economic, social, and racial justice advocacy. In addition to the board duties, Nagler also volunteers their time with the Speakers Bureau, educating people on non-binary identities.

Creating Opportunities for Madison’s Latinx Communities

Since it grew out of Madison’s Latino Family Resource Center in 2010, the Latino Academy of Workforce Development has provided general education, workforce training, and safety programs to a community hungry for learning opportunities. Before the Latino Academy’s inception, Latino Family Resource Center coordinators like Baltazar de Anda Santana provided basics like food and English classes to Madison’s Latinx population. But there was a growing desire among the LFRC’s clients for something more substantial. “There were the participants who were okay receiving the help, but there were other participants who were more interested in learning how to do things,” said de Anda Santana, now executive director of the Latino Academy. The effort to make clients self-sufficient came not from coordinators but from the clients themselves. “The participants wanted that, they wanted to be the ones to learn English, they wanted to learn computers,” de Anda Santana said.

The United Way of Dane County Announces Partnership with Forward Madison FC

The United Way of Dane County, a public organization that strives to bring together the voices of Dane County, publicly announced last month an official partnership with Forward Madison FC. This partnership allows for a new community building projects, such as organizing  a soccer clinic at United Way’s Seasons of Caring that begins in August. Forward Madison FC is a new professional soccer team, founded in 2018, based in Madison.. The team is led by Daryl Shore, the head coach and technical director. They began inaugural season in 2019 and played their first competitive game on April 3rd against the Chattanooga Red Wolves SC where they were closely defeated by a score of 1-0.

Say Hello to Springtime at Troy Farm’s Annual Plant Sale on Saturday

Troy Farm will offer over 20 types and 75 varieties of vegetables and herbs Saturday at their annual spring sale. All items are certified organic plants that are grown on-site at the Troy Farm.  The plant sale will be held on the Northside of Madison, at 502 Troy Drive, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Community GroundWorks Troy Farm, Madison’s first urban farm, is a nonprofit organization that produces organic vegetables and herbs while promoting community and sustainability. The organization focuses on education by providing internships and opportunities for young community members to learn about urban agriculture. If you wish to get involved with Troy Farm, you can apply for membership or attend Thursday Nights at Troy, a community event that includes a farm stand, pizza, live music, and activities.

A Day Without Latinx and Immigrants Draws Supporters from Across Wisconsin

Individuals across Wisconsin participated in a state wide strike last Wednesday as as part of an effort to urge legislators to restore drivers license to immigrants. Voces de la Frontera, a community organization based in Milwaukee, organized a Day Without Latinx and Immigrants general strike across the state of Wisconsin. Immigrants, their families and supporters participated by not attending work, school or purchasing anything. Over 100 businesses closed and community members from around the state converged to rally at the State Capital to voice support. 

“These events like May 1 are opportunities for people to be part of history by demonstrating their solidarity, showing our collective economic power to have an impact on the political process, and to say that Wisconsin is a welcoming state for immigrants,” Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, said. The organization has a long history of activism in Wisconsin, and more recently are focused on building coalitions in an effort to restore the right to obtain driver's license to immigrants.

April 2019 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. Judy Skog, Sierra Club Foundation - John Muir Chapter

Judy Skog is a founding member of the Tar Sands Team, a joint effort between the Wisconsin Chapter of the Sierra Club and 350-Madison to halt the expansion of pipelines that threaten Wisconsin’s land and water. The Tar Sands Team is working to protect Wisconsin’s water, land and air. Skog brings positive energy, hopefulness, humor and adorable pictures of her grandchildren everywhere she goes.

United Way to invest $19.5 million into Dane County community

United Way of Dane County will invest more than $19.5 million dollars in programs that focus on reducing poverty. As a part of their campaign “Champions for Change,” United Way raised funds from over 30,000 donors, business and partner agencies in 2018. A total of $19,526,101 dollars will be invested in to the Dane County community, focusing on programs and strategies that address areas of education, income and health. “The goal of investing this money is to provide support for programs proven to help stabilize families and ensure that every person in Dane County can succeed in school, work and life,” said Martha Cranley, the Executive Vice President of Community Impact at United Way. In a year round process, hundreds of volunteers including experts, business leaders, and key stakeholders read proposals submitted by community agencies.

Demeter Foundation to Host Wellness Workshops Aiding Women Transitioning from Incarceration

The Demeter Foundation will be hosting a four-week workshop series starting next week entitled “Creating a Healthier Lifestyle: Holistic Wellness,” for women with the lived experience of incarceration. The registration deadline for the series is Thursday, March 21. Participants can sign up by completing the registration form and submitting it to the Demeter Foundation. Each of the series’ eight sessions will focus on one of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Eight Dimensions of Wellness, such as environmental, financial, and emotional wellness. Participants will also have the opportunity to share their experiences and connect with others who have experienced incarceration.

Finding Success As a CEO of Tomorrow

Amara Stovall is an eight-grade student at Wright Middle School and student writer at Simpson Street Free Press. Amara has launched a business intended to change the lives of survivors affected by police brutality. Her business dream is now a reality. At the age of 13, Amara Stovall joined a High School program called CEOs of Tomorrow. The program helps students create businesses that solve social issues.