January 2024 Thank you for reading and supporting us!

Salix update story

In the spring of 2023, Salix Johnson had recently started his career journey in the funeral services industry with the help of CareerScape. He had job-shadowed at Gunderson Funeral Homes and started working there part-time while finishing high school. “It’s rare that we see someone so young interested in funeral service unless they grew up in the profession,” Sierra Miles, General Manager at Gunderson, had said at the time. In late December, she reached out again. “I wanted to update you on Salix’s progress,” she said in her email...READ MORE.

🎓 Celebrating graduations

Congratulations to Tony for graduating Legacy and earning his high school diploma from MMSD! Tony came to us from Capital High School.

“He makes it a point to get to know you,” said Tom, Tony’s construction supervisor, “‘Good morning’ and ‘How are you’ every day. Energy is unsurpassed. He's the only one I've ever had to tell to actually slow down. He's also the first one onsite to be stolen if another supervisor needs a hand.”

Tony has had his eyes on the trades for a while now and has already started in our Build Academy! Mike, training manager for Build Academy, said, “I came in crabby some days and I couldn't help but smile with Tony. It's gonna be a challenge getting me to smile every single day but welcome aboard!”

Congratulations to Josiah for earning his high school diploma and driver's license through our Drive to Succeed program! He is interested in pursuing a career in auto mechanics and is exploring Madison Area Technical College's program in that field.

Drive To Succeed is for young adults ages 17½-24 who have been justice-involved to receive mentorship while earning a high school diploma, driver's license, and reaching career goals.

🌲 DNR job shadow

Chris, a participant of Conservation Academy, spent a day job shadowing Austin Schumacher, a Conservation Warden for the Wisconsin DNR! Conservation wardens are law enforcement officers who protect Wisconsin's people and natural resources. It’s a career pathway Chris has been interested in, so he was excited to learn more. Chris said, “Austin’s given me a lot more insight, and it’s pushed me to actually try to pursue the career.”

👮 Community job shadow

The Madison Proximity Project, created by the Madison Police Department, is pairing together residents with police officers so they can learn from each other. The first pairing was with our own Jasmine Banks, Empowerment Programs Manager! Sgt. Livia Novitzke joined Jasmine at OFS and out on the construction worksite.


😊 Welcome our newest staff

Ryan Raschke (he/him)

Build Academy Tier 1 Construction Supervisor

Rod Hutchins (he/him)

Build Academy Tier 2 Construction Supervisor

Jazzman Brown (she/her)

Drive Coordinator

Sarah Kendall (she/her)

Office Manager

📖 Annual Report

Our Annual Report covering October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2023 is here! It's full of our young adults' accomplishments, stories, memories, and more.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make this a successful year for OFS! We're already busy in 2024 and hope you're here for the entire journey.


📣 New OFS Board

Our Board of Directors officers have changed, and we're also excited to welcome new board members to OFS!

President: Jeff Russell, Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning; Dean of Continuing Studies; Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UW-Madison

Vice President 1: Salli Martyniak, Principal at Community Matters

Vice President 2: David Lonsdorf, Retired (Family Medicine Doctor)

Treasurer: Erica Nelson, Executive Director at LIFT Wisconsin

Secretary: Andy Pascaly, Finance at Epic Systems

New Board Members

Beverly Hutcherson, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion at UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health; Founder and CEO at Scientific Motivations

Stephanie Harrill Kyle, Director of Financial Inclusion & Community Engagement at UW Credit Union

Ashlyn Smith, Senior Associate at CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP)

Thank you for helping OFS empower emerging adults on their path to self-sufficiency!

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