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Navigate Your Future Gala Recap Special Edition

Thank You!

Thursday, September 28, 2023, Operation Fresh Start hosted the Navigate Your Future Gala at Goodman Community Center! We thank the 200 people who attended to celebrate our participants, staff, and award winners. Thank you to our sponsors, community supporters, and volunteers for showing up and believing in the work and our participants!

The gala highlighted the following OFS programs: CareerScape, Drive, Options, and Drive to Succeed. We also highlighted the launch of CareerPoint. This innovative program offers young adults ages 18-24 an 8-week course on essential workplace skills followed by a full-time, paid job training, forming the transition into a career with ongoing mentorship.


While all of our nine programs help emerging adults start life-sustaining careers, these programs especially help them navigate life through mentorship, self-confidence, and personal accountability.

With the communities support, OFS will continue its legacy of empowering emerging adults in Dane County! Scroll on to view our award winners, pictures, and additional highlights!

Award Winners

Legacy Participant of the Year

Mea Saul

Once I stopped seeing Legacy as just a high school diploma and started taking in all the experiences that were being offered to me, I felt like I had found a place that truly wants me to be my absolute best.” (Mea Saul, Legacy alum)

Academy Participant of the Year

Mitchell Silva

Mitch is a 2022 Legacy alum and Conservation Academy graduate. He joined Groundswell Conservancy in February 2023 as a Land Management Specialist through the summer.

Empowerment Programs Participant of the Year

Berhan Schade

Berhan first came to OFS as a participant in Build Academy before transitioning to CareerScape and starting a new career pathway as a Dental Assistant.

Leadership Award

Pete Schram

Pete’s expertise really was how to work effectively with our participants, to form that bond of trust to help the young person move forward.” (Jeff Reed, Expeditor at OFS)

Charles Jackson Transformation Award

Dre Alexander

From the beginning, Dre’s leadership abilities, commitment, and dedication to his future were clear for all to see.” (Brian McMahon, Deputy Director at OFS)

Connie Ferris Bailey Cornerstone Award

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi

This award recognizes an individual or organization that has given their time, leadership, and financial support to help OFS continue to expand and empower young adults.

Community Collaboration Award


It is fitting that you see Building & Beyond next to the Findorff logo. They go above and beyond in their partnership with OFS.” (Brian McMahon, Deputy Director at OFS)

View All Photos

Thank you to Melissa Behling and Chris Verhyen for event photos!

Double Your Impact

At the gala, 2nd Market Capital Economic Opportunity Foundation announced a $25,000 match through December 1, 2023!

2nd Market Capital Economic Opportunity Foundation (2MC Foundation) is the community outreach arm of 2nd Market Capital Advisory Corporation. They created the foundation in 2018 to provide support to organizations committed to improving the lives of young people in our community.

They believe the best way to enable all children to succeed in school, careers, and life is to provide access to educational and economic opportunities.

Thank you 2MC Foundation for this very generous gift for the third year in a row. We appreciate their commitment and dedication to emerging adults in our community!

Help us reach our match! Every donation received now through December 1 will have double the impact thanks to this match.

Donate Now

Planned Giving

“We want to make sure that OFS is here for the next generation of young people! We have no future if we don’t invest in our young people,” said Jody Weyers, Development Director.

To make sure that happens, OFS has established the Jack Osteraas Heritage Society, named after our founder.

We are kicking off a campaign this month to invite 30 community members over the next year to make OFS part of your legacy and include us in your will or estate plan.

Lau and Bea Christensen (pictured left), OFS Board Members, will be graciously providing a $1,000 gift of support for every new planned giving gift.

Learn More

Thank you, Festival!

Thank you to Festival Foods for their generous donation of more than 200 delicious cupcakes for dessert!

Thank You To All Sponsors

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

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