December is not reserved for Christmas and Kwanzaa. Far from it. At this time of year individuals from our community receive the gift of knowledge–a diploma that signifies their hard work, determination and hopes for a brighter future. Two local institutions of higher learning bestowed this gift. (Top photo): Liberal Arts and Sciences students at MATC received their degrees during that school’s winter commencement ceremony at US Cellular Arena downtown. (Bottom photo): Black women graduates at Alverno College were bestowed Kente Cloths by family members who inspired them during the “Bestowing of the Kente” ceremony at the college’s Wehr Auditorium. (Photos by Yvonne Kemp)
Executive Director Victor Barnett mentors young men at Running Rebels. (Photo by Kenya Evans)
Running Rebels Community Organization received an unexpected holiday gift when it was awarded a check for $1,000 from Northwestern Mutual Foundation’s 2012 Days of Sharing campaign.
“We were pleasantly surprised,” said Dawn Barnett, co-executive director of the Running Rebels. “We heard that we were in the drawing, but we didn’t think we’d win because there were so many organizations in the drawing,”
Northwestern Mutual Foundation’s Days of Sharing campaign encourages Northwestern Mutual employees to nominate local nonprofits they care deeply about. The foundation chose 25 employees as winners out of more than 770 who entered. The organizations were awarded $1,000 to $10,000 by the foundation on behalf of the employee who nominated them. The 25 grants totaled $100,000.
Avery Harris, who submitted Running Rebels to the drawing and is a friend of the organization’s Executive Director Victor Barnett, has seen the positive work the group has done for the community. Harris attended Running Rebels’ annual banquet, and was impressed.
”These young people were doing wonderful things, and if not for this program might be out on the streets of Milwaukee getting in trouble, said Harris, systems administration consultant at Northwestern Mutual. They were given scholarships, others gave speeches and others sang and supported each other. It was good to see a large gathering of young people come together.”
The local nonprofit assists teens through rough patches in their life with the Violence Free program in 12 Milwaukee Public Schools and the Pipeline to Promise program, which connects teens to business professionals and jobs. “With Pipeline to Promise we focus on the 18- to 24-year-olds; we call them the lost ages,” said Barnett. “If they’re not in college, they’re just floating through life. They’re technically adults but not emotionally adults.”
Running Rebels, 1300A W. Fond du Lac Ave., has been renovating its building in stages since 2006. The nonprofit has added new bathrooms, replaced the old elevator and installed a fire protection system, according to Barnett. “We definitely have plenty of needs,” she added.
Though there is still a lot to be done, Barnett said the organization hasn’t decided what it will do with the grant money. “We’re very appreciative to Northwestern Mutual, and the money will be spent wisely bettering the lives of our young people,” she said.
by Kenya Evans
When children have food allergies, their parents have to constantly watch out for allergens and be prepared for a possible reaction.
Another concern, and one that is often overlooked, is bullying.
A new study, published online in the journal Pediatrics, found that more than 30 percent of children have been harassed by their classmates because of their allergies, and that parents are only aware of it about half of the time.
“It’s very easy to intimidate a food-allergic child,” said study author Dr. Eyal Shemesh, chief of the division of behavioral and developmental health in the Department of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.
“It doesn’t take more than waving a peanut in front of them.”
Shemesh and his colleagues surveyed 251 families recruited at a food allergy clinic.
Overall, 45 percent of the children and teens — who were between the ages of 8 and 17 — said they’d been bullied, and 31.5 percent said it was because of their food allergy.
The bullying was most likely to happen while they were in school and included others teasing them, waving food in their face, throwing food at them, or forcing them to touch the food that triggers their allergies.
The more frequent the bullying, the worse the child’s quality of life, the study found.
But just one instance of bullying took a toll on kids’ happiness, according to self-reports.
The study also showed there is a significant gap in how much parents know about bullying — they only knew about 50 percent of the cases of harassment.
When moms and dads did know about the bullying, their children reported a higher quality of life, which suggests that parents can help, Shemesh said.– Huffington Post
Sixty men and women are on their way to a brighter future. They graduated from the Social Development Commission’s (SDC) GED/HSED program.
The graduates were formally recognized for completing 16 weeks of coursework and testing. A standing room crowd of family and friends filled the Richards Street National Guard Armory to cheer on the graduates for their achievements.
One person among those who earned their diplomas was Dequana Bostick. The 27-year old Milwaukee woman discovered earlier this year as she enrolled in another SDC program that the GED she had earned from another institution was not valid.
She was disappointed but gritted her teeth and enrolled in the SDC GED/HSED program where she passed her tests.
She also earned a Certified Nursing Assistant’s certificate and has enrolled in MATC for the Nursing Program and will begin classes in January.
Dequana is typical of adults who, for one reason or another, did not complete their high school education the first time around and came back to enroll in the GED/HSED program.
At the graduation ceremonies, Dr. James Campbell of MATC congratulated the graduates but urged them not to stand still but to keep moving forward in their educational and job goals. Ariel Williams was the class representative who echoed that thought in addressing her fellow graduates.
The GED/HSED Program is a part of SDC’s Education and Training Program. To learn more about it or to find out how to register for classes, go to http://www.cr-sdc.org/Programs/GEDHSEDTesting.htm on the SDC website.
Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation plc today announced several “Powering Communities Grants” totaling $52,500 to support local community organizations in the Milwaukee area.
The donations will be used to enhance various programs and organizations that positively affect the lives of citizens throughout the region.
Building on Eaton’s tradition of corporate citizenship, the company’s “Powering Communities Grants” help improve the quality of life in communities where Eaton employees live,work, and volunteer.
“Eaton employees are invested in the Milwaukee community and make a strong effort to give something back,” said Kristin Cooper, Eaton divisional HR manager.
“We are proud to be associated with organizations that foster education and improve the quality of life for many citizens in the area.”
Funding recipients include:
• Project Lead the Way Inc. – $5,000 for purchasing materials, lab equipment, and supplies used in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum in public schools.
• Habitat for Humanity – $7,500 to contribute to home construction projects.
• Special Olympics Wisconsin – $7,500 to sponsor various area competitions for people with cognitive disabilities. It also provides support for special initiatives such as the Athlete Leadership, Young Athletes and Healthy Athletes Programs.
• University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) – $9,000 to provide scholarship support for the College of Engineering and Applied Science Engineering Scholarship Fund.
• YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee – $7,500 to support its Black Achievers program which equips high school teens of color to work toward educational and career goals.
• Junior Achievement of Wisconsin – $4,500 to supply programming materials for Junior Achievement Excellence through Ethics classes conducted in metro Milwaukee area high schools.
• Waukesha County Technical College – $1,500 for scholarships targeting high achieving students enrolled in the Electrical Engineering Technology Program.
Eaton’s new Menomonee Falls campus is the headquarters for the company’s Industrial Control Division, part of its Electrical Sector, as well as the company’s corporate Innovation Center.
The campus employs approximately 250 people who provide engineering, sales and marketing support to the division’s manufacturing locations, including research and development support for the company overall.
Eaton Corporation plc is a diversified power management company providing energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power.
The company is a global technology leader in electrical products, systems and services for power quality, distribution and control, power transmission, lighting and wiring products; hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment; aerospace fuel, hydraulics and pneumatic systems for commercial and military use; and truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems for performance, fuel economy and safety. Eaton acquired Cooper Industries plc in 2012. The new company, Eaton Corporation plc, has approximately 100,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit www.eaton.com.
The Make Your Money Talk program, a financial education course offered by the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), continued its outreach into the Milwaukee community by recognizing 96 graduates of the program at a ceremony held December 11, 2012.
An additional 129 graduates were recognized in June, leading to a record number of graduates for the year. “In 2012, 225 Milwaukee residents successfully completed the Make Your Money Talk Program, a new record for us,” said HACM Secretary-Executive Director Tony Pérez. “With financial education and a sound savings plan as the foundation, this program has moved hundreds of individuals toward self sufficiency and helped strengthen our community.”
Early in 2012, the program received a financial boost through a $15,000 competitive innovation grant to Mayor Tom Barrett from the US Conference of Mayors, allowing for the expansion of the program to more than 5,700 households in HACM’s Section 8 Rent Assistance Program. Prior to 2012, the program had been promoted to approximately 4,500 low-income households served by HACM.
“The investment by the US Conference of Mayors has resulted in more people gaining the skills they need to become self-sufficient and achieve their financial goals,” says Mayor Barrett. “Their efforts help Milwaukee grow.”
Mayor Barrett served as keynote speaker for the event, which was held at the Housing Authority’s Hillside Family Resource Center, 1452 N. 7th Street.
“Financial literacy provides a solid foundation for residents to achieve their goals,” says Wendy Baumann, WWBIC president. “We are pleased to see record participation in the Make Your Money Work program this year.”
Participants attend an intensive four-week course that guides them through basic personal financial management strategies as well as introductions to home ownership, investing and starting a business.
Participants can open an Individual Development Account (IDA), which provides a two-to-one match for every dollar the participant saves. Graduates can use the funds to invest in a home, to pay for education or start a business.
“Make Your Money Talk is a hallmark partnership between the Housing Authority and WWBIC,” said Common Council President and HACM Board Chair Willie Hines, Jr. “The program has inspired low-income individuals citywide to achieve greater financial stability.” Since 2004, more than 800 low-income individuals have graduated, and more than 630 have opened IDAs and collectively saved over $240,000.
Graduates can combine their funds with the matching dollars to invest in a home, to pay for education or start a business. Sixty-two HACM participants have become homeowners and property taxpayers; 45 have invested in their education and 34 have started businesses.
Prospective students interested in Milwaukee Area Technical College’s pre-college education programs and services are invited to a free open house from 9 a.m. to noon or 4 to 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 14, on the sixth floor of the Main Building at MATC’s Downtown Milwaukee Campus, 1015 N. 6th St. MATC’s pre-college programs provide a wide range of services to prepare students for college-level work.
Attendees will meet with program faculty; receive detailed information about specific programs; and learn about student services, including counseling, career advising, tutoring and more. They may apply for the spring semester which begins Jan. 22.
The School of Pre-College Education includes programming in:
• GED/HSED to help students earn high school requirements
• Adult High School, designed to earn a high school diploma or recover high school credits
• English as a Second Language or bilingual classes for non-English speakers
• RISE Career Bridge Pathway, which combines basic and occupational skills
• Adult Basic Education/College Prep to help students work toward a high school diploma/GED or prepare for college-level work
• Community-Based Organizations, a network of neighborhood basic-education sites
• High School Contracts, which offer technical skills training at MATC for students attending high school
• Youth Options, which allows student to earn college credits while in high school
• Emerging Scholars Program to help at-risk youth to complete high school
Wisconsin’s largest technical college and the most diverse two-year institution in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. Approximately 50,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students often get hands-on experience in their field while earning a degree.
Two of this December’s top graduates – Nick Robinson and Otoniel Encarnacion – used that combination of work and study to find success. Robinson is graduating with a master’s degree in architecture and Encarnacion with a BBA in Finance.
Throughout Encarnacion’s college career, he worked full time or near full time while also balancing fulltime coursework.
He managed to do it all – even double majoring – in just four years and six months. “I knew I was going to have to work full time to put myself through college and that it would be really hard, but I now know it was worth it,” he says.
After spending three years working as a bank teller, he landed an accounting internship at Northwestern Mutual, where he still works. “What I learned at UWM made me more confident to take on more challenging jobs,” says Encarnacion, who plans to go on for a master’s degree at UWM.
Nick Robinson, who decided to become an architect when he was in grade school, started interning at the Uihlein/Wilson architecture firm while in high school, and continued to work there through undergraduate and graduate school. As a child he loved to draw, filling notebooks with cartoon characters and whatever caught his interest.
An architect who visited his elementary school for career day cemented his career choice. Robinson was blown away by the experience, discovering – “He gets paid to draw!”
Encarnacion was a senior at South Division High School when his college plans were seriously disrupted. Because of a paperwork glitch with his father’s visa, he and his family had to return to the Dominican Republic, which they’d left nearly five years before.
“It was a shock for everybody,” Encarnacion says. “I cried the first day I got there because I didn’t know anyone anymore. It was a rough time.”
He and his family put their life in Milwaukee on hold, thinking they’d only be gone for three months while they got the paperwork resolved. But instead, three months stretched to three years.
After returning to Milwaukee and completing an associate’s degree at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), Encarnacion started at UWM’s Lubar School of Business. Both graduates were encouraged by faculty members and programs at UWM.
As a McNair Scholar, Robinson worked with Professor Mike Utzinger to study the city’s heat island effect and water retention on the Urban Ecology Center’s green roof.
He also studied abroad for three months in France and Spain. “Paris is a freaking playground for architecture. Even their apartment buildings look like something you’d take a picture of.”
Last semester, Robinson went with Associate Professor Gil Snyder to tour Boston’s architecture.
On campus, Encarnacion was active in Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary organization for accounting students.
He credits Beta Alpha Psi’s networking opportunities, which introduced him to accounting professionals throughout the city, with helping him earn a postgraduate internship at the prestigious accounting firm Deloitte in downtown Milwaukee. “I feel pretty lucky,” he says.
Jim Fischer, a lecturer in accounting, says Encarnacion stood out because of his ready smile and intense focus during his advanced financial accounting course.
They continued to meet from time to time after Fischer’s class was over. “He was a student who was just fun to work with,” Fischer says. “He has a lot of maturity for his age.”
Encarnacion plans to continue on for a graduate degree at UWM, and become a Certified Public Accountant.
He never considered going anywhere but UWM for his graduate work. “The program is amazing,” says Encarnacion. “Everything has gone so smoothly so I don’t see a reason to move to another school.”
It hasn’t always been easy, he adds. But that’s part of what has made this graduation day so worthwhile. “I’m most proud that I made it, that I put myself through school working full time.
Milwaukee Bucks players Ekpe Udoh and Doron Lamb did some coloring with 2-year-old Everlyn Cannon (above) during a visit to Children’s Hospital by the entire Bucks team and coaching staff. The team made the visit to spread a little holiday cheer during their annual visit with patients at the MACC Fund Center for Cancer for Cancer and Blood Disorders at the hospital. The visit came nearly 36 years to the day after the founding of the MACC Fund on Dec. 10, 1976, during halftime of a Bucks game when Jon McGlocklin’s jersey number 14 was retired. As part of this year’s visit, Sam’s Hope will donated over 400 new books for the Bucks to distribute to the children. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)