SSFP: Local Neighborhood Foundation Helps Students Develop Real-Life Skills

The Mellowhood Foundation’s Summer Initiative is a paid summer program in the southwest Madison Meadowood neighborhood that teaches a large age-range of children about independence and real-world responsibilities. The initiative draws on the knowledge students already have from school, while also teaching them skills such as independence and self-determination. Mellowhood student Amaria has learned valuable lessons through the program, such as “working hard, getting good grades, and failing from time to time.”

The initiative focuses on team-building through activities such as gardening and group prayer. Students work together to develop menu plans using the food they grow and are served lunch and dinner. There is also an emphasis on helping students improve in core academic subjects like math, science, and English.

The interactive game, Dane Changers, is now available as an app

The United Way of Dane County’s interactive game “Dane Changers” is officially available as an app. Users can now play the game on their mobile devices by downloading it through Google Play or the Apple App Store. The digital engagement tool, which launched in August, teaches users about widespread and critical issues in Dane County like poverty, educational achievement gaps, health inequalities and poverty. Approximately 12 percent of Dane County residents, or 64,000 people, live in poverty, but Dane County remains one of the best places to live in the United States. The United Way paired with Acme Nerd Games to produce the game and app.

November 2018 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. Hannah Nowakowski, Sierra Club Foundation-John Muir Chapter

Hannah Nowakowski has been an invaluable member to the Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter. As a student intern for the organization, Hannah showed a strong commitment to the organization’s goals of protecting natural areas and promoting responsible use of the earth’s resources. Through her work as an intern, Hannah has helped champion efforts to move Wisconsin away from energy production that depends on dangerous oil pipelines.

October 2018 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. Tim Radelet, Project Home

Tim Radelet has been a great contributor to the goals of the Madison non-profit organization Project Home. For nearly 50 years, Project Home has worked to improve homes and make housing more affordable for low-to moderate income residents in Dane and Green County, WI. Over the last 20 years, Radelet has supported Project Home’s cause by volunteering his legal expertise pro-bono, and also served on the Board of Directors of the Rodney Scheel House.

Staying emotionally healthy following Madison’s historic flooding

Although much of the flooding throughout Madison is under control, Madison residents are still feeling the effects of August’s historic rainfall a month later. Torrential rain stranded people in their cars and homes, washed out highways and flooded city streets. One man in his 70s was killed when swept away by the swift currents of the floodwaters after exiting his stranded vehicle. Mayor Paul Soglin estimated flood-related repairs could cost the city millions of dollars. And, high lake levels and additional rain could lead to more road closures and damage.

United Way of Dane County launches flood relief fund

United Way of Dane County has launched a fund to aid those affected by recent flooding. Dane County officials estimate flooding caused $155 million in damage throughout the county. As local families recover from the flood, the relief fund will be used to meet their needs unmet by other assistance programs, such as utility payments and home repairs not covered by insurance. The entirety of the collected funds will be invested into aiding the community. “It is imperative that we assist long-term recovery efforts by leveraging our expertise in fundraising, community-led stewardship of investments and accountability for effective, measurable strategies that create stability,” said Renee Moe, United Way of Dane County president and CEO, in a statement.

JUST Bikes Unveiled the Last of Four Self-fix Bicycle Stations that were Constructed this Summer

JUST Bikes, formerly known as the Madison Bicycle Equity Group, unveiled four self-fix bicycle station, new bike racks, and recognized graduates of the Mobile Bike Repair internship program on Wednesday at Centro Hispano. The projects were made possible by Madison Community Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Year of Giving grant “Mad About Bikes.” Mad About Bikes provides access for all riders, regardless of economic status, and helps them take advantage of Madison’s Platinum-level status as a Bicycle Friendly Community. The $84,200 grant included a 1,100-bicycle giveaway in March, the installment of public fix-it stations, bike repair internships for community youth, starter bicycles for beginning riders, safety education and repair training for riders of all ages, and an electric-assist bicycle outfitted as a repair vehicle that travels throughout the city. Just Bikes’ Fix-it Bicycle Stations are equipped with various tools needed to keep bikes in working shape. The other fix-it stations were installed during the summer, and are located at Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, Bayiew Community Center, and Lussier Community Education Center.

United Way’s ‘Dane Changers’ teaches players how they can help in community

Despite Madison being rated as one of the best places to live, 64,000 people live in poverty in Dane County. That’s one in eight people, and one in six children. Dane Changers, an interactive digital game created by United Way of Dane County, teaches players about issues in education, income and health faced by people in the county who are living below the poverty line. The game, launched on August 21, introduces players to characters throughout the Dane County who tell players about their struggles, which raises awareness on the issues intertwined with poverty. From there, the game presents players with choices on how to assist those in need.