Success Stories


These stories have been provided to us by the 2022 United Way of South Wood & Adams Counties Partner Programs.  Names have been changed to preserve the identities of the subjects.  Please feel free to use these stories for any promotional pieces you may have, such as newsletters, emails, payroll stuffers, etc.



Aspirus Riverview Dental Clinic

A patient presented with multiple areas of dental pain. She had difficulty sleeping and eating. As a mother of two young children, with one child have special needs, she was struggling to care for them while in dental pain. We were able to put her on a cancellation list and see her much sooner than originally scheduled. We were able to get her out of dental pain. She was grateful not to have the pain impacting her health and impairing her ability to devote her full attention to her kids.


Boys and Girls Club of the Wisconsin Rapids Area

We have a 5th grade club member that has been with the Boys & Girls Club for many years, he has struggled staying focus and struggled using his words. This member has a horrific background of violence and drug abuse. Because mother is not in his life, his behavior and staying on track has been a big struggle. Youth has been placed with grandmother who has been a strong support system. After many arrangements with grandmother and creating a plan to better this member. We came up with a policy just for him that states the R’s (Respect yourself, Respect the club, and Respect others.) we defined each word and added in other polices that were beneficial to him. This member has come a long way this year and has progressed with using his words and being more involved at the club. He has been great at participating in all the programming that the Boys & Girls Club has to offer. I have seen how we have provided such a safe space for him, where he can come to staff for any questions or concerns.


Career Closet of Wisconsin Rapids, Inc.

This is a success story about a young woman who had lived at the Family Center for some time, went to college, graduated and now has a job at a probation center in Marathon City. She needed professional clothes for that job. The Career Closet volunteer helper her to find the appropriate items for her job and invited her to return in the fall for additional clothing items. She has a home and is the mother of a 2 year old and a foster daughter. We are so pleased that she chose to come to the CC and hope to hear from her again.


Childcaring, Inc. – Scholarship Aid

The pandemic continues to significantly challenge many families. Lauren and Jake the parents of two young children, has been facing many stressful concerns, especially when it comes to supporting their family.
The family struggles financially after two quarantine periods causing a loss of income but still having child care costs even when the children were not in care. The family does not receive Wisconsin Shares so the family is responsible for 100% of the cost of care. She states that, “Due to the increase in the cost of living it is a struggle to keep our heads above water.”

The $1,000 Scholarship Aid funding was able to offer some financial support to help cover child care costs. Childcaring sent the funding directly to the child care provider and it was applied to her existing child care bill. Many families are trying to cope during this difficult time. Childcaring is happy to assist the family. 


Childcaring, Inc. – Provider Recruitment/Retention

(Name changed to protect identity)
Mr and Mrs Khang have been successfully operating Khang Family Child Care Center since 1999. While there are several Hmong family child care programs in Marathon County, Khang Family Child Care is the only regulated Hmong speaking family child care program in Wood County. Also, the Khangs have worked diligently to maintain a 3-star YoungStar rating – an incredible accomplishment! Over the years, they have attended a a number of trainings/classes and have taken advantage of a number of grant opportunities and special projects offered through Childcaring. Licensed family child care providers are required to complete a minimum of 15 hours of continuing education annually. At Childcaring, we are fortunate to employ Kao Xiong, a bilingual early childhood consultant, who has offered individual consultation and group trainings to the providers who speak Hmong both onsite and offsite. The most recent training facilitated by Kao and attended by the Xong Khang was Healthy Bites: Nutrition for Infants. Healthy Bites was created to encourage and empower child care professionals to address overall childhood health by improving nutrition practices in your programs. This free training helped support and promote breastfeeding, and improve the quality of meals and snacks served by including foods recommended for proper growth. Learning Objectives included being able to identify: the best beverage choices for children to keep them hydrated and healthy; activities to support and promote breastfeeding; techniques to prevent choking and food allergies; ways to inform parents on the best choices for infant foods, beverages; and how to make and encourage good choices at home. Participants also received infant nutrition kits filled with hands-on activities and equipment to help support healthy eating practices for infants. Trainings like Healthy Bites help to support our area child care providers and promote high quality child care. When offered in a provider’s preferred language, training opportunities become supportive and inclusive learning experiences.


Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes – South Wood County

Troop 6008 is working on their Girl Scout Bronze Award. They are growing food in the community garden and finding, creating, and compiling recipes for a cookbook. They plan to donate all of their produce to the local food pantry along with homemade By adding two new locations they certainly made an impact!


Nekoosa School District - Backpack for Kids

Typically our success stories come from the families we serve. This success story is about the Academy students. This year we applied for the 2023-2024 funding cycle. Part of the process includes presenting the program to the panel that determines what programs receive funding, and at what level. I asked two of the Academy students to accompany me and Ann Lepak to the meeting. Ann had worked with students during class to help them prepare for the presentation. I was very impressed with how articulate and confident they were in presenting our program. Ann and I did very little talking - the two students carried the bulk of the presentation and did an excellent job. I was very proud of them!


North Central Community Action Program (CAP)

(Name changed to protect identity)
C.R. came to the NCCAP office with a 5 day notice to pay rent or vacate. C.R. was recently divorced and living in income based housing. C.R. had received in the mail flyers about the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance program and assumed that she would be eligible for rental assistance through that program for 18 months. After meeting with C.R. and explaining that she lived in income based housing and was not eligible for funding through the WERA program, NCCAP was able to use United Way funding to help C.R. become current on her rent and avoid eviction. If funding was not available through United Way, C.R. and her children would have become homeless. They live on a very fixed income, and would not have been able to pay past due rent and their rent for the next month. This kept a mother and her 4 children housed. 


Park Place Adult Day Services, Inc.

(Name changed to protect identity)
June is National Dairy Month and a perfect time to celebrate all the great things about dairy. Whether one enjoys pizza, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, or a bowl of cereal with milk for breakfast, there are many reasons to give thanks to our dairy farm families, who bring these delicious items from their local farms to your table! One of our Park Place participants, MW, has been coming to our Adult Day Service since August 23rd, 2006! We especially think of Marshall at this time of the year because he grew up on a farm outside of Ontario, Wisconsin with hardworking parents, four brothers, and one sister who all shared a mission of great cause and affirmation! We took the advantage of an opportunity to put this participant at the center of our table on that one June Day to express all his words of wisdom that he has learned along life’s way! Everyone enjoyed the experience as we all ate DAIRY treats we made together soon after his presentation. Thank you MW. 


Rapids Family Backpacks

When FFB surveyed families at the end of the school year, families were able to make additional comments. These comments, mainly positive, are listed below. These should definitely be considered "success stories" for the families who utilize FFB.

The family program has been very good for my family. I can't say anything to make it any better.

The idea I had could be helpful if parents didn’t like the taco soup you can also make a taco bake I think what you guys are doing is wonderful
It will be good to have some more eggs and veggies instead of pasta or rice. My Mom is diabetic and she can't eat some certain foods. We really appreciate the program's help. Thanks!!
Maybe change up the meals a bit more
The food offered was wonderful and the recipes were great for including kids in the cooking process! The Kwik Trip vouchers were a lifesaver at times! The cereal, however, was the least utilized item for our family, as we're not much of a cereal family.
FOCUS Family Backpacks Program is helpful and the vouchers were helpful too.
Thank you for your support!
Thank you for all you do my family appreciates it a lot.
Fresh fruits or vegetables, if possible. Thank you!
I just really appreciate all of the food help for my family. Thank you so much!
Better cereal selection, plain Cheerios weren't always fun! Kwik Trip vouchers would be nice if bread was added. Sloppy Joe's or Lasagna! Very great program!
Thought it was a great thing with a good variety of foods and really like the Kwik Trip coupon. On there, wish could get two of something like 2 milk or fruit.
Everything's good. Family Backpacks Program does help a lot. Thank you so much for doing that.
Thank you!
This program is amazing. Keep up the great work!
Very helpful for families, especially during COVID times!
Not a fan of asian
Out of all the foods that we got, Asian foods was the best for us. Thank you for giving us foods during these hard times. 


Samoset Council Boy Scouts – South Wood County

In South Wood County our Scouting youth collected over 4,300 pounds of food to donate to local food pantries in the month of April. Every year our Scouts spend one Saturday placing bags on doors in their community and the following Saturday they spend the day collecting all the food and dropping it off at their local food pantry. The food pantries depend on the Scouting for Food annual food drive to keep their shelves stocked throughout the rest of the year. Even though we had less Scouts and there were COVID precautions in place the Scouts still managed to collect the same amount of food as previous years. 


South Wood County YMCA

We had an individual come in early June and cancelled her full priced family membership due to cost. She had said that at this time, the membership rate they were paying was just too much for them. Upon further conversation, she had said that recently her husband switched jobs and before, he was able to get a full reimbursement for the Y membership fees. She explained all the debt they are trying to climb out of right now and would still love to continue with the Y as they use it all the time, but the standard rate is just something they couldn’t afford. We worked out an amount she felt comfortable would fit into their budget and they have already come in 9 days in June. They are very grateful for this program. 


South Wood Emerging Pantry Shelf (SWEPS)

We have a young couple who have started coming when the moved back to the area to be near family. Though he works two part time jobs and she provides childcare for others, money was still extremely tight. They were so touched by all they receive here at the pantry that they shared the news with others in their apartment building. Several mentioned they knew of us but had to car to come and take advantage of the opportunity. So, every time this couple comes, they have one or two others with them who would otherwise miss out. They found a way to help others. I think that is amazing to see neighbors helping neighbors. 


The Family Center

(Name changed to protect identity)
Jan is a 54-year-old person of color who has been dealing with the traumatic effects of a sexual assault that occurred as a young girl by a family member. As an adult she suffered terrible flash backs, suffered severe night terrors and it resulted in inability to trust people. As an adult, she found herself in very controlling and abusive relationships.

Jan came to The Family Center after fleeing from her husband, who held her captive and refused to let her leave. She fought with him to get free and he suffered numerous scratches. When the police were called, Jan’s husband embellished his story and turned the tables on Jan causing them to arrest her. She was ordered to leave the house. At first she stayed on her son’s couch in a small 2-bedroom trailer which already housed her son, his wife, their 3 kids and a dog.

That living situation didn’t work for long and Jan came to The Family Center for safe shelter. She stated that “for the first time since November, she was able to breath and recuperate from all the trauma she’d been experiencing.” She also states that she appreciates having 24-hour staff available to her to counsel her and help her through her night terrors and PTSD episodes. While in shelter, The Family Center’s Legal Systems Advocate assisted her in filing for a divorce and secure the services of outside legal counsel. Family Center staff assisted her with the process to receive housing rent assistance from North Central CAP and through the DV Housing First Program at The Family Center. This past week she was able to move into her own apartment, furnished with the help of the Family Center and Love, Inc. 


The Neighborhood Table (TNT)

All of us at FOCUS are proud of the impact that we make on this community and especially helping those with food insecurities. This story comes from one of our meal coordinators after our April 28th meal.
"A new guest stopped in to sign up for a meal off a referral from the United Way’s 211 line. I gave her one of our cards so she would have the phone number for the future…but she told me she does not always have access to a phone. I assured her if she could not call in her reservation, we would not turn her away. She started to cry and told me she had never been in this position before and she was overwhelmed. I gave her a shoulder squeeze and told her reaching out to the United Way was a smart first step and coming to The Neighborhood Table was a great second step. This story is why we do what we do!!" 



Adams-Friendship Area School District – Community Learning Center (CLC)

We have been partnering with the middle school to do field trips, but this year the middle school started job shadowing for students in different fields. I was approached by a student and their teacher to allow them to volunteer for the program more like a job shadow experience. The student has been working with our 4k/5K group during the after school program and has been able to go on all the trips with the students. She has been a great asset to the program and the students. She is a great model of what a student should act like and has been a positive addition on trips. She is treated like a staff person and students respect her. I hope to have this continue. I already hire high school staff but would like to continue a job shadowing/volunteering program with our middle school students.


Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, Inc. – Crisis Rental Assistance

Imagine losing everything to a fire, your memories, comfortable household items, clothing and safe place to come home to. This was the fate of an Adams County family. Although the household members were safe, they still experienced sadness and loss at the time. Here is where Adams County stepped in to assist with all needs. The Red Cross provided temporary housing, County organizations and family worked to help find housing, United Way of South Wood and Adams Counties provided Crisis Assistance to help the family reestablish their safe haven and move forward. Seeing community come together to assist a household in need is a blessing. Thank you United Way for caring.
Visit for more information on all programs.


Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, Inc. – Food Pantry

Working together with Faith in Action Adams County, we are providing food to some of the home bound Adams County residents. Because of United Way, we are able to prepare food boxes every month. With Faith in Action's help, their volunteers deliver the food once a month. We are blessed to work with this organization, demonstrating how this community works together to serve our food insecure public.


Faith In Action Adams County – Transportation Today

(Names changed to protect identity)
Cynthia has been a care receiver for many years. As she has grown older her health issues have become greater, thereby necessitating more frequent visits to medical appointments. Previously, transportation was needed a couple times per month, now it has increased to a couple of times per week. Due to the increased frequency, Cynthia has gone from utilizing one volunteer to multiple volunteers to cover her needs. Somehow, even with limited volunteers, we manage to not let Cynthia down.

Faith In Action Adams County – Volunteer Coordination

(Names changed to protect identity)
One of the things we are grateful and proud to still be providing our Homebound is Food Pantry grocery delivery. We've worked with our local Food Pantry to provide this service monthly for many years now. We are honored to help alleviate the stress of food insecurity that many struggle with in these trying times.


Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes – Adams County

Girl Scouts in the Adams troop recently visited a local greenhouse. They learned about flowers and plants, then made hanging baskets.


Samoset Council Boy Scouts – Adams County

In Adams County our Scouting youth collected over 500 pounds of food to donate to local food pantries in the month of April. Every year our Scouts spend one Saturday placing bags on doors in their community and the following Saturday they spend the day collecting all the food and dropping it off at their local food pantry. The food pantries depend on the Scouting for Food annual food drive to keep their shelves stocked throughout the rest of the year.


YMCA - Adams County Swim Lessons Program

First off I want to say that I was extremely ecstatic when I found out that the YMCA was coming to this community. After an easy and friendly enrollment I started to take full advantage of all the services that the YMCA provides. I can say that the YMCA and it’s income based arrangement plans have been the only reason why I have been able to pursue my health goals. Unfortunately, I was laid off from employment and I thought I was going to have to put my health and fitness goals on hold for financial reasons, which would’ve resulted in lack of motivation and discouragement, but fortunately has continued because of the YMCA’s income based adjustments. As a single mother being able to have my children on a plan at a reduced wage is essential for my busy schedule and tight budget. I’m also grateful for the child care program as it is also essential for my weekly attendance. The YMCA exceeds the moral standards of any other establishment in this small community that I know. The staff is always friendly, helpful, and well trained in each individual department. In my opinion, the area is welcoming, clean, and appropriate for all ages and stages of its consumers. My children enjoy the staff and I have profited from the afternoon classes the most. I have lost 7lbs, lost several inches, and produced muscle definition since I started attending. I’m also pleased to experience such diversity and spirituality at the YMCA. I have learned of the Bible Study being held at our YMCA, I’m both excited and proud to be a member of an establishment that not only offers physical well-being but spiritual as well. This grants the YMCA an excellence award of the year in my book and I support this type of diversity and freedom of choice. Thank you YMCA for working with me on the unexpected ups and downs of life and helping me advance towards my health, fitness, and spiritual goals.