Waukesha, Wisconsin

Three time 100 Best winner, Waukesha, continues to make significant progress in improving the lives of Waukesha young people by focusing on the Five Promises. These services are provided through individual non-profit agencies, city of Waukesha Departments and the School District of Waukesha. All of these youth service providers work together through the Waukesha Youth Collaborative. This collaborative began in 2002, so all youth serving agencies could come together to communicate what services were being offered throughout Waukesha and determine how those services could be more efficiently and effectively provided.

The Waukesha County Drug Free Communities Coalition is actively providing education around alcohol and drugs in its first year and a half of existence. A pilot substance abuse program is underway in three school sites and educational forums and town hall meetings have been well attended, providing information for families.

The Waukesha Youth Collaborative, comprised of approximately 35 agencies, provides a forum for education, information and networking for professionals, volunteers and others working with youth in Waukesha. The collaborative also provides funding to local programs that meet their stated criteria. Funding for these programs come from private businesses, community development block grant funds, and administrative services through United Way.

The number of Safe Places for children in the city of Waukesha continues to increase each year through community partnerships. An example of several partners working together at a Safe Place is a summer playground site in a Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area. The Waukesha Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department provides structured, outdoor activities lead by trained leaders, St. Vincent de Paul provides a free bag lunch program through volunteers, Waukesha Community Policing Unit brings safety services to the neighborhood, UW-Extension offers free nutrition classes to children and the Waukesha Public Library provides a summer reading motivation program to all interested youth.

The Lead to Succeed Waukesha Program is one example of an innovative solution to the challenges of creating service opportunities accessible to youth. Lead to Succeed is an industry driven, youth leadership program where high school and college students work together on high level service learning projects that meet the needs of local non-profit organizations. And, since the program is implemented directly within the school, the opportunities can be efficiently communicated to students participating in the program and other students in the building as well. Through Lead to Succeed, over 60 students completed more than 2,400 hours of service and contributed more than $12,000 to the community through their work.