In the News: New mural unveiled at Pulaski Pool

From Fox 6 – Ribbon cutting for a new 80’x18′ community mural at Pulaski Pool. The new artwork was created by community members, led by Community Muralist Tia Richardson through Milwaukee Christian Center’s (MCC) Community Art Leaders project.

Through the project community members engage in a process led by Richardson and youth that informs the creation of a community mural. The process asked community members to name some of the challenges they experience in Pulaski Park. Then they were asked to name some different ways/choices they or others can make to improve those challenges. Moving from left to right the mural shows the progression from the challenges (symbolically shown as clouds/pollution) to a brighter future. It includes the community effort of restoring the river which brings more biodiversity and makes it a happier, healthier place for all to enjoy. Full coverage can be found here

Thank you: Centennial Celebration Raises More Than $135,000 for Strong Neighborhoods!

Thanks to the generosity of our community MCC’s Centennial Celebration for Strong Neighborhoods was an astounding success! We hope those of you who joined us enjoyed learning more about Milwaukee Christian Center’s work and the remarkable individuals we are honored to serve. We asked you to “Be the Builder,” and we are overwhelmed with gratitude at your response.
Because of your incredible generosity, we raised over $135,000 to support our mission of building strong neighborhoods full of opportunity into our next century of service to the Milwaukee community. We want to thank each and every generous donor and our sponsors for making such an incredible impact on Milwaukee.

Presenting Sponsor: Northwestern Mutual
Platinum Sponsor: J.H. Findorff

In the News: ‘Credible Messengers’ program mentors at-risk youth, interrupts cycle of violence in community

From TMJ 4 – Andre Robinson is another Credible Messenger and the Director of Violence Free Zone for Milwaukee Christian Center. “When I was growing up my credible messengers were gang bangers and drug dealers,” Robinson said. “I want credible messengers, the real credible messengers now, to be able to walk among these young people and say, ‘Hey you know what, I may not know 100% what you’re going through but I know that my situation was similar to yours and this is what I did to get out of it.'” Read full coverage here

In the News: MCC Gives Youth Chance to Grow with Grant from Bader

From Milwaukee Courier – “We make the assumption that everyone has leadership skills; we just want to give them the opportunity to show them,” Karen Higgins, executive director of Milwaukee Christian Center said.

Suarez, for example, learned how to become a team player. “I wasn’t a very social person but being in this program I’ve been able to speak out more and learn a lot of things about myself I didn’t know before,” Suarez said. “With siding, I’m a quick learner, and a lot of other participants came to me and I found myself helping others.” Read full coverage here

Project Wins Mayor’s Design Award

The Youth Artists United Murals led by Community Muralist Tia Richardson and young people involved in Milwaukee Christian Center youth programming received a 2021 Mayor’s Design Award! For the past five years Milwaukee Christian Center, Community Muralist Tia Richardson, and neighbors have dramatically improved one block of Forest Home Avenue on Milwaukee’s near south side. The project transformed a patch of land and strip of paint covering graffiti to a welcoming pocket park and beautiful 200’ plus stretch of murals completed in 2020. Initiated by Milwaukee Christian Center’s Muskego Way Forward initiative and area resident Tia Richardson, the project lent beauty and creativity to a high traffic space connecting neighborhoods. The initial work created Butterfly Park with landscaping, seating, and a community mural and was followed by a three-year process of engaging community members and youth in creating a 200’ plus stretch of murals leading from Butterfly Park westward. The final product is abundant and vibrant as was the five-year process that engaged 250 youth, 400 neighbors, and inspired countless passerby to join in creating more beautiful, safer spaces. Coverage of the award can be found here

In the News: Campaign to Reduce Reckless Driving

From TMJ 4 – “On the South Side, Muskego Way Forward, a program of the Milwaukee Christian Center, will partner with LISC Milwaukee, Imagine MKE and others on several projects. Among them are performance art events at high-traffic areas; “slow down” lawn signs and other visual messages; and public demonstrations on crosswalks, which the group started last year after a fatal crash caused by reckless driving.” Full coverage can be found here

Thank You: YouthBuild Space Remodel

MCC is celebrating MCC’s remodeled upstairs kitchen and gathering space! The project, initiated by Pat Wyzbinski, funded by Brandon’s Gelzer’s Memorial Fund and Scott Gelzer, Pat’s husband and partner for 40 years, provided much needed improvement to a space where young adults in MCC’s YouthBuild Program study, eat and support each other. As a part of the remodeling work generous donors replaced the flooring, purchased new appliances, brought in quality furniture, and YouthBuild members built a custom laptop bar/counter with salvaged materials. We thank Pat and Scott for the vision and generosity leading this project over the past two years, and all the donors who helped make this possible. Thank you!

In the News: MCC and Hayat Partner on Vaccine Clinics

From Fox6 News – “One-hundred shots were available at Wednesday’s clinic at the Milwaukee Christian Center, where many of the families served face language barriers that make it difficult to seek out the vaccine.

“So we have taken the time to translate to them what this is about,” said Karen Higgins, executive of the Milwaukee Christian Center.

Longtime program participant Isidro Carrera shared the good news with his family in Mexico.  

“My son called me this morning from Mexico City and said, ‘Did you have your vaccine yet?'” said Carrera. “I said, ‘No but I’m going to have it today.’ ‘Oh good!'” Full coverage can be found here

Celebrating #LightsOnAfterschool

To celebrate #LightsOnAfterschool and the amazing impact that out-of-school time programming has on young people and communities we want to share one story from MCC youth program alumni Daisy who we are incredibly proud of and thankful for! #AfterschoolWorks

When Daisy began coming to MCC’s youth programming at Kosciuszko Community Center she was 9 years old. Her mother enrolled her in YDP’s summer camp to give her an active summer while she worked full-time and attended school at night. In Daisy’s words she joined so she wouldn’t “become a couch potato”. Daisy would end up attending summer camp for many years, with her younger twin brothers joining her.

When Daisy was 14, she was asked if she would be interested in being a camp counselor helping to care for younger kids. She spent the next several summers and parts of her school years working in the YDP program, gradually taking on more leadership roles. At the same time she participated in MCC’s teen groups and hands-on arts programming. One summer with a staff person having departed, MCC was without a liaison supporting a partners literacy work with first and second grade students. Out of all the adult staff, the program manager immediately chose Daisy as the “perfect fit” and she co-led literacy programming alongside folks with decades of experience for the rest of the summer. The result? The kids and partner ended the summer raving about Daisy’s leadership and ability to communicate with and support the children in the class. Its one is a series of opportunities Daisy would make the most of.

Fast forward to 2020 and you can find Daisy serving in the National Guard, setting up and running COVID-19 testing sites while she pursues her Bachelors degree from UW-Milwaukee with a major in Biomedical Sciences and minor in Spanish. Asked what role being involved in MCC had in her pathway Daisy says, “Being involved with MCC definitely helped me strengthen my ability to work well with others in a team environment. And working with children and planning activities throughout the day helped strengthen my ability to take on a leadership role.” Our youth programming’s ultimate goal is to support young people on pathways of educational, career and civic success. That starts with relationships, with sharing community with one another. As Daisy puts it, “MCC taught me to deeply love a community that needs more heart to heal its wounds.”

Since 2000, Lights On Afterschool has been celebrated nationwide to call attention to the importance of afterschool programs for America’s children, families and communities. Learn more here