From 1st Grade to First Job
Times show how much we need to collaborate to support future generations. Nonprofit “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Milwaukee (HDF-MKE) partnered with the Milwaukee Academy of Science to help 100 students reach success.
The students started their journey with HDF-MKE during the second half of first grade. The students are currently in second grade and will have support from HDF-MKE until they finish post-secondary schooling and get their first career jobs. Students will also have the opportunity to receive funding to further their education after high school.
Newly-elected Executive Director of HDF-MKE Dan Schiller said the organization can’t do it all but it is a place to bridge connections.
“We have the resources we need, we just need to convene them,” said Schiller.
HDF-MKE was started in 2007 by Mayor Barrett and Margaret Henningsen with around 90 first and second-grade students at Clarke Street School as a collaboration between the City of Milwaukee, Legacy Bank, the Brady Foundation, and Kelben Foundation with a focus on long-term engagement, postsecondary readiness, and financial support for students via scholarships.
The new version of the organization is focused on taking a unique two-generational approach to support youth and families from historically marginalized communities to flourish.
“This is a small organization that can be nimble in ways schools can’t,” he said.
Support In and Out of the Classroom
The resources the students receive are based on their needs which goes beyond tutoring. Schiller said HDF-MKE is focused on and intentional about building relationships with its students and families.
“We’re getting to know them now in second grade,” said Schiller. “The relationship is the most important part.”
By listening to the families, HDF-MKE allocated funding for the Housing Navigator salary provided by Northwestern Mutual Foundation via United Way. Those funds went to HDF-MKE’s partner Community Advocates. The Housing Navigator is an employee of Community Advocates and their job primarily focuses on coordinated support for HDF-MKE students and their families. Multiple families have utilized these services this school year.
During breakfast students receive check-ins to ensure the children’s needs are being met. Schiller said the point of the wraparound support is to set the stage for long-term sustainability.
“The resources exist and people want to put it together…it sometimes takes a coordinated effort,” said Schiller.
Ways to Support
HDF-MKE is recruiting mentors, and volunteers, and is looking for strategic partnerships. To find out more click here.
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.