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Success Stories

UNITED WAY OF SOUTH WOOD & ADAMS COUNTIES SUCCESS STORIES FOR 2019

These stories have been provided to us by the 2019 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.

 

SOUTH WOOD COUNTY

Aspirus Riverview Dental Clinic

We have a patient who was in a motorcycle accident which has left him disabled for the last 39 years. He broke his upper bridge that held his 6 upper front teeth. As you know, if you do not smile when you greet people, they think you are not friendly or not happy. It often makes people embarrassed to smile if they are missing teeth. We were able to help this patient by replacing his bridge and bringing his smile back.

 

Boys and Girls Club of the Wisconsin Rapids Area

We have a Club member who has been attending the Club for the past ten years. He comes from a single-parent household and has struggled with his anger.  In the past, he has been suspended from the Club on numerous occasions due to how disrespectful he was and for the safety of other members. This Club member is now sixteen-years old, continues to come to the Club on a regular basis, works for the Rafters and the Club, and has been our Youth of the Year. He has grown into a leader among his peers at the Club, with many of our younger member looking up to him for advice and support as they go through different life challenges. The Club has helped him on his journey and supported him in his times of need to ensure that he was given the tools he needed to succeed in life. This Club member has expressed that the Club has made an impact on his life. The Club will continue to work with this member until he can no longer come to the Club and support him on his journey into adulthood.

 

Career Closet of Wisconsin Rapids, Inc.

Some of the clients served this year and their needs:

A young mom, recently separated from her abusive husband; interview clothes.

A young dad, released from jail, trying to turn his life around; interview clothes.

Two young women just getting started in healthcare; scrubs.

A middle-aged man, happy to have a job making pallets; safety shoes.

A man in his 30s with a job at a car dealership; casual dress clothes.

 

Central Wisconsin Literacy Council (CWLC) 

Central Wisconsin Literacy Council (CWLC) serves a middle-aged man that never graduated from high school. He was able to obtain employment as a truck-driver, but was unable to get promotions or raises due to lack of skills and his high school diploma. Upon beginning with CWLC, this gentleman was very nervous about math. He has struggled his entire life and was not confident in his abilities. It took him over a year of studying and working hard, but this last quarter, he passed the math portion of his GED exam. He was so happy that he took the civics portion as well and passed that as well. He would like to take some time to prepare more for the other portions, but he is halfway to obtaining his GED. He is very pleased with himself and has gained more confidence as well.

 

Childcaring, Inc. – Provider Recruitment/Retention

Providing resources to child care providers to enhance and support a quality early childhood education system is an important part of our work. In April, the Assistant Director of an unregulated child care program called Childcaring looking for infant resources. She said any articles that her staff could read would be beneficial. In prior conversations with this provider, Childcaring staff talked about the benefits of regulation and Youngstar. Although the provider is not currently ready to be regulated, the provider knows to reach out to Childcaring for quality care resources and information.

To serve this provider, the Child Care Resource and Referral (R&R) Specialist and a YoungStar (YS) Technical Consultant (TC) put together a folder of a variety of infant/toddler, parent, and developmentally appropriate resources for the provider. That same day, when the child care provider stopped in to pick up the information, both the R&R Specialist and the YS TC were available to talk with the provider and answer her questions about the information. The R&R Specialist followed up with the provider to make sure that the provider had all the information she needed. The provider explained that the resources were very helpful. The Assistant Director and the Director were going through all the information and they were looking to share and explain the information and resources with staff, at an upcoming staff meeting.

 

Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes – South Wood County

New trainings offered to troop leaders, better sharing of ideas amongst troops, and better promotion of our new super troop option all led to more local Girl Scouts this year engaged in activities outside of troop meetings and attending more amazing field trips. Here are a few examples: Troop 6026 from Nekoosa learned all about agriculture with a field trip to Jam’s Alpaca Farm; Troop 6017 earned a fun new badge and learned some cooking tips touring Pizza Hut and making their own personal pizzas; Junior troops traveled to Clay Corner in Plover to earn their jewelry badge; Troop 6089 invited local children’s author, Lisl Deflteson, to come to their troop meeting to talk about how she became an author; Cadette troops traveled to Oshkosh to earn their engineering badge at an event sponsored by Bemis Corporation. It was such a fun and educational year for these girls exploring STEM, arts, and the outdoors, all while making new friends, building up their confidence, and developing leadership skills.

 

Jeremiah’s Crossing, Inc.

We had a student who came to us in 2008 and took lessons for a few years. Her parents had tried everything to teach their daughter to walk but had been unsuccessful. They had heard that horseback riding might help their daughter and joined our program. After a few weeks of lessons for the first season, her parents (who were both doctors) asked us to stick around after church, saying that their daughter had something to show us. As we waited after the service, the student entered the narthex walking on her own. Mom was beside her but not assisting her in any way.  Dad was then telling the pastor that her horse had taught her to walk because the motion of the horse is very similar to that of a human. What an amazing morning that was for all of us… but it gets better. The young lady graduated from middle school this past spring and we watched her WALK across the stage to receive her diploma.

 

Mead Elementary Charter School / Club Mead Before- and After-School Learning Program

Club Mead staff and Boys and Girls Club staff connected this quarter creating new opportunities for students. Students enjoyed participating in new enrichment activities due to changes in staffing and coordination of efforts. Students were seen reading together in a shared setting during partner reading centers and literacy time with older students reading to younger students. Students commented, "I like it when he reads me a book he loved when he was younger." And "I learned of a new reading series when we read this first book together. Now I am going to try to find other books in the series to read too."

 

Nekoosa School District - Backpack for Kids

"I am so thankful for this program. Most weeks we don't have money for groceries and this program gets us through. The kids love to see what's in the backpack each week. I can't tell you how much the coupon for Piggly Wiggly helps us out. It is especially nice that it was changed so I can decide what to spend the money on. It is not so embarrassing for me when I am at the check-out line. Thank you so much for this program. My family appreciates it."

 

North Central Community Action Program (CAP)

P.S. (initials changed to protect privacy) came to the NCCAP office with an eviction notice for non-payment of rent.  P.S. was currently 2 months behind on rent.  P.S. was recently discharged from a treatment center for substance abuse and was not managing her funds appropriately. The only income P.S. had was per cap.  NCCAP outreach staff were able to work with P.S. and her landlord to establish a plan from payment. P.S. was due to receive her per cap again in May, and it was agreed that if P.S. would pay 3 months of rent when per cap was received that NCCAP would assist with past due rent.  P.S. met with FoodShare Employment Training (FSET) to begin looking for employment.  P.S. enrolled in counseling and followed through on all referrals.  In the end P.S. was successfully able to go from being 2 months behind with rent to 3 months ahead with rent.  P.S. was able to use other resources in the community to help with food, and focus attention on obtaining employment. P.S. is now employed full time and has been able to save significant monies to help herself should crisis arise again.

 

Park Place Adult Day Services, Inc.

J.K. (initials changed to protect privacy) is a participant who has been attending Park Place Adult Day Services since August 2018.  J.K., with a history of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Bipolar Disease, Schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease, comes to Park Place four times per week for socialization. Park Place staff members came to me one day to witness J.K. actively petting one of our therapy dogs, Markus. His eyes were closed and he appeared to be in a world of calm all his own. We shared this story with J.K.'s caregiver when he arrived to pick him up that day.  The caregiver told us that J.K. has such few times of serenity in his life these days and so values the times he sees this for himself or when he hears they occur.

 

Rapids Family Backpacks

Participant comments collected in an end-of-school year survey include: "Great idea! Was very helpful during a difficult time," "Thank you for this wonderful program," "Very helpful program," "Wonderful program. I'm glad for this program." But the most special note came in the form of a hand-drawn note from a child, along with a picture of her family drawn in crayon, saying thank-you for the backpacks and the food. This note will be kept as a constant reminder that we are serving REAL FAMILIES who struggle, who have ups and downs, and who have loving homes that require a helping hand from time to time.

 

Samoset Council Boy Scouts – South Wood County

Scouting has a profound impact on youth.  Here is one personal example of how Scouting has impacted one life in South Wood County: 

“I am currently going to high school.  I have been working towards my Eagle Scout for quite some time.  Scouting has shaped my life in many ways.  I’ve met my best friend and experienced some of the best experiences in the world, for example going to camp.  Scouts has taught me how to be a good person, respect everybody and how to lead. My life is strongly linked to Scouting and I would be a totally different person without it.  I will continue to give back in whatever way I can. “

South Wood County Scout

 

South Wood County YMCA

The YMCA was contacted by a local school’s social worker in regard to our Membership For All program. A family at the school was in need and wanted to learn more about what we have to offer. I went to the school to meet with the family and the social worker. The social worker shared their story; the family had been living without hot water for months as their landlord would not fix the hot water heater, so they were going to a truck stop with showers once a week. The teachers started noticing the 3 children’s hygiene concerns which is when the social worker found out about their living situation. She recommended looking into a YMCA membership. The mom was hesitant because she doesn’t like asking for help.

When the mom came in to speak with us, she was very grateful that they would be able to shower as much as they like and can utilize the gym and Adventure Center as a safe, fun environment for the kids to burn off some energy. Thanks to the schools support and the Membership For All program, we were able to help this family.

Prior to meeting with this family, the YMCA held a fitness challenge where the winner received a donated Shoe Sensation gift card for $50.00. The winner of this challenge asked that we donate this gift card to someone who would need it more. We were able to bring this gift card to the meeting at the school and shared it with the family. The mom immediately started crying and was very grateful. The social worker stated “See? Good things do happen to good people.”

 

South Wood Emerging Pantry Shelf (SWEPS)

Recently, a new family came to SWEPS. They had moved to Wisconsin to be near family and find a job where the cost of living was less than their previous residence. Husband and wife both found part time jobs right away but had not been able to secure full time employment yet. As they work and search for better jobs, their needs became greater than they could satisfy. When the mother and daughter came to the SWEPS Garden Day, I noticed the daughter was quite sleepy. When I asked her mother if she was having trouble sleeping, she said that she never did sleep well when she was hungry. My heart went out to them instantly. When the day's activities concluded, I invited her into the Pantry to get signed up for food. She did so, almost ashamedly. But, by the time she left, she was smiling again. With the garden buckets they took home plus the food we gave them, she said she felt, for the first time in months, that maybe they could get through this rough time. Hope. They left that day with food for their bellies, a positive attitude for their situation and hope for what's to come. We couldn't ask for any more.

 

The Family Center

Lynn (name changed to protect privacy) was transported to The Family Center by the Sherriff’s Department after her abuser was arrested for domestic abuse and sexual assault. Lynn is a single handicapped lady who lived with her abusive boyfriend for 3 years. Lynn was held from her family and friends by her abuser and her disability income was being held from her. After her boyfriend sexually assaulted her, she got the courage to call 911 for help.

After arriving at The Family Center, she met with the Shelter Coordinator and started meeting with her on a regular basis during the next few weeks. Lynn set up appointments with local counseling services, and met with The ADRC for resources available to handicapped individuals. Lynn also contacted North Central Community Action Program for housing assistance. The Shelter Coordinator assisted Lynn with contacting Social Security and arranging for her benefits to be put into a new account and to file theft charges against her boyfriend for any funds that were taken.

After following her action plan Lynn was able to learn how to plan a weekly schedule for herself in addition to get her independence back. After 56 days, Lynn received the money that was taken from her by her boyfriend and was accepted into an Assisted Living Facility. Lynn continued to meet with her counselor and the Advocate at The Family Center. She has been given back her freedom and income along with feeling proud to be a survivor.

 

The Neighborhood Table (TNT)

June 19th was the first Mobile Food Pantry of this year. South Wood County Emerging Pantry, The Neighborhood Table, Feeding America, and Marshfield Clinic Health System working together made this day happen. In just two hours, 24,000+ pounds of food was distributed to 382 households. Each household received approximately 63 pounds of food. Over 15,000 meals were provided to our community during this mobile pantry! The number of volunteers from all organizations and the overall organization of the event was very impressive. A tremendous display of teamwork was shown that day.

 

ADAMS COUNTY

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

We have a student who has attended our after school program until January.  In January she had to attend a mental health program in the Wisconsin Rapids area to help some of her mental health issues. Typically when a student does not attend our after school program, they do not attend our field trips. Since this is a special situation, we allowed the student to attend the field trips.  On the last trip of the year (Brewers Trip), the student came to me and other staff and told us how much she appreciates being able to attend the trips.  Part of our goal is to build relationships with the students and let them know that there are adults in their lives other than their parents who care about them. Allowing her to attend the field trips showed her that. The goal for her next year is to be back at the school full time and attend both the after school program and field trips.

 

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

United Way and its willingness to collaborate and partner has been extremely beneficial to the Adams County area. Recipients of United Way funds meet and share their ideas, resources and needs. Because we work together, struggling families have received help they may not have realized was available. Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, Inc. also received funds from the National Exchange Bank that we could utilize in Adams County to assist households with any needs. With the combined funds, CWCAC assisted 37 adults and 27 children, (26 households) in the first six months of 2019. Assistance was provided to prevent eviction, house the homeless, provide emergency auto repair, assistance with utilities and for a license reinstatement so the person could get to work and maintain housing. Over seven thousand dollars of assistance was provided to Adams County residents through the CWCAC Crisis assistance program. Thankful families and individuals have stable housing and the ability to maintain their stability with employment thanks to generous programs like United Way. This program has a very positive impact on the Adams County Community.

 

Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, Inc. – Food Pantry

Adams Food Pantry continues to receive many thank you's and expressions of gratitude for all of the help and support provided by the volunteers to our customers. This past year, we added the federal Senior Stock Box program. Seniors age 60 plus, who qualify, also receive a separate box of food from the Senior Stockbox Program each month. They are very grateful for this additional food as they are on a fixed income. In June of 2019, there were 97 Senior Stockboxes distributed. This is the highest number given out in Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, Inc.'s five county area, demonstrating the need for additional food resources. This also shows the senior population is high in Adams County.

 

Faith In Action Adams County – Transportation Today

We recently had a care receiver, Mary (name change to protect privacy), with no local family or friends, that had to be relocated into an Assisted Living Facility. Three of our wonderful volunteers packed up belonging that Mary could take with her and moved her into her new home.   Currently these same volunteers continue to pack up the rest of Mary’s home and get it ready to be sold.  These volunteers are going above and beyond for our community members and put many, many miles on their vehicles.  Thanks to our United Way Transportation Today Grant, we are at least able to reimburse them for a portion of their gasoline expenses. 

 

Faith In Action Adams County – Volunteer Coordination

Penny (names changed to protect privacy) has been a Faith In Action volunteer care giver since 2014. During this time she has been a care giver to an elderly couple in their 80's with no family living in Wisconsin. John was confined to a local nursing home facility for approximately the last year of his life. During this time Penny transported his wife, Lou, to visit him approximately three times per week, with each trip being approximately 22 miles in length. In addition, at times when Lou was ill and could not visit the nursing home, Penny would go and visit with John to provide him with companionship and support.  Penny also transported John from the nursing home to his primary care physicians at Marshfield Clinic.

John passed away in early June of this year. When this happened Penny assisted Lou with the funeral arrangements helping to select such things as music and scriptures for the service. In addition Penny stayed with Lou at her home for three (3) nights to provide Lou with a comforting presence and to provide assistance as needed.  Since John's passing Penny has continued to assist Lou. She calls Lou daily to follow up with any needs she might have, provide a friendly voice to talk with and also transports Lou to her medical appointments.

 

Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes – Adams County

Adams and Marquette troops had the highest percentage of troops participate in weekend of service compared to any other central service unit with over 60% troop participation. The weekend of service project was to honor the lives tragically lost in Troop 3055 last November in Chippewa Falls. To make the world a better place and to honor that troop, Girl Scouts from across our Council and the country completed acts of service during one weekend in May. Adams troop 6187 in particular spent the weekend working on an environmental stewardship project at their school. Girls learned about worms, composting, how to weed and help plants grow on top of planting a garden.

 

Samoset Council Boy Scouts – Adams County

We have been steadily increasing our outreach programs over the past several years. This year in 2019 we focused on getting youth in our outreach programs bussed up to camp for a few days. We have successfully registered 5 youth and 4 adults for a summer camp experience this July. We are offering the program at no cost and providing transportation as well. We are so excited to provide this awesome opportunity to youth and families in Adams County. Youth and parents from Adams County will be creating life long memories this summer at camp.