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Fresh Start Focus

🔥 May 2023 🌸

Prescribed Burns

If you hiked the trails in Dane County these past couple of months, chances are high that you've seen the result of prescribed burns! Prescribed burns are intentionally set fires within a predetermined area, helping to reduce invasive species and stimulate native plant growth. Wisconsin is full of oak savannahs and prairies, which evolved with fire originally set by lightning strikes and Native American tribes. Fire is an important natural resources management strategy. Over the month of April, Operation Fresh Start Conservation Academy members participated in numerous... READ MORE

Photo credit Elizabeth McBride

CareerScape Spotlight

“It’s rare that we see someone so young interested in funeral service unless they grew up in the profession,” says Sierra Miles, General Manager at Gunderson Funeral Homes. She’s talking about Salix, who utilized Operation Fresh Start’s CareerScape counseling program to... READ MORE

Save the Date!

Our 3rd annual Gala is happening Thursday, September 28! We're celebrating a new program this year: CareerPoint! Learn more about our programs as we honor and celebrate young people and outstanding community supporters. There will also be an OFS staff member and program participant seated at each table, opening up additional networking opportunities. Sponsorship opportunities are available now! We invite your business or organization to support our emerging adults.

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May Graduations


“[Demarion’s] got really contagious energy, really contagious laugh, and is just someone who can change the energy of the room,” said Cybill, his crew supervisor, “He's someone who took time figure out who he is, what he wants, and put a lot of energy into his identity.”


"Your work ethic stood out," said Grace, his crew supervisor, "I could always count on you to come and help right away, no problem, no question at all. I'm proud of you for being up here today [graduating]."


"Josue and I have been working together for quite a while, went through every season together," recounted Cybill, his crew supervisor, "Josue is someone who can be quiet but also very talkative and really fun, thoughtful, and caring. It was amazing to see you go above and beyond, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone."

J Carl

"You did a really nice job of asking for help and using the resources that we have to offer here," said Miles, his crew supervisor, "You've built a lot of self-confidence and have set yourself up for a very positive future." J has already started in Build Academy as the next step in his future!

Alum story, 28 years later

“It taught me how to see things from the beginning to the end. Good work, you know? It’s taking pride in what you’re doing, not just going in there for eight hours.”

It’s been twenty-eight years since he first enrolled in an Operation Fresh Start program, but John Gausman remembers his experience fondly. Now an employee in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Facilities Department, John reached out to OFS to share... READ MORE

Honoring Jasmine Banks

Congratulations to our very own Jasmine Banks for being selected as an honoree of YWCA Madison's 48th Women of Distinction Leadership Award! Jasmine is a role model to youth, adults, and small business owners in our community and beyond. Read more about her and the other recognized women on YWCA's blog.

Thank You UW Credit Union

This past spring, OFS was awarded $22,000 grant from UW Credit Union's Community Giving Program! Part of those unrestricted funds went toward the purchase of 100 quilted fire-resistant fieldwork jackets, perfect for construction crews in the winter and conservation crews during prescribed fire season. Thank you for your continued support!

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

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