MILWAUKEE– Alsco Milwaukee Uniform, a branch of Alsco Inc., recently donated funds for the third time to the Lighthouse Youth Center, which serves disadvantaged youths ages 10-18 in local communities in after-school and summer programs free of charge, including nourishing evening meals. The donation will go toward a new Healthy Living Initiative program that Lighthouse implemented this year.
Created in 2006 to help local boys and girls from the Havenwoods community and Garden Homes communities, Lighthouse offers hope and a safe place where these young people are encouraged academically, mentally, socially, spiritually and emotionally. To date, Lighthouse has welcomed over 20,000 children to its Christian-based facilities. In addition, Lighthouse is open to neighborhood youth for 3.5 hours on Monday-Friday nights for 50 weeks/year, which includes a mandatory homework hour with adult mentors each evening. Once a month, students take part in a service project that benefits local communities or U.S. military troops.
Three years ago, supported by Alsco’s 125th Anniversary funds, Alsco Milwaukee donated $25,000 to help complete the center’s computer lab and supply much-needed Chromebooks to aid academic success for youth in Lighthouse education programs. In the interim, Alsco employees have consistently volunteered to serve Friday Night dinners at the youth center on a quarterly basis.
In 2016, the branch donated funds that were generously provided through a grant from the Steiner Family Foundation located in Salt Lake City, Utah, to expand and run the Lighthouse Youth Center’s new Jobs Readiness program. The Jobs Readiness curriculum teaches practical job search and at-work skills components, such as: searching for job openings online, resume-writing workshops, mock interview practice forums, mentoring, business etiquette, and monthly job tours to local businesses—all intended to show youth the wide variety of jobs available and hopefully spark some interest in a job path for the themselves for their futures.
Alsco Wisconsin employees took an active part in the Jobs Readiness program by leading Lighthouse students on one of their monthly job tours. During the tour, employees introduced students to the wide variety of jobs that are carried out at the Alsco Wisconsin facility, and explained the path it takes to get into various jobs. “Students seemed inspired by hearing from some of our employees who began working at Alsco in their late teens and have worked their way up in our organization,” said General Manager Tom Schrishuhn.
This year, the Lighthouse Youth Center is implementing a Healthy Living Initiative among their youth. “In the Milwaukee neighborhoods Lighthouse serves, it is much more feasible for youth to run to the gas station on the corner and grab bags of chip and a couple sodas to fuel them for their day. These unhealthy snacks are too often serving as their meals as well,” said Schrishuhn. The Healthy Living Initiative uses the 5/60 rule—5 serving of fruits/veggies each day and 60 minutes of physical activity. Schrishuhn stated that the positive benefits of this program will allow youth to: learn about and balance their health; create and track personal goals; effect healthy changes in their own behaviors in facing challenges; plant and tend a garden to inexpensively obtain healthier foods; and try out new forms of exercise, such as yoga, riding bikes, swimming, roller skating, and more. Schrishuhn said that, by improving their health, outlook, and self-esteem, these young people “ultimately will contribute to the positive impact on the community as a whole.”
About Lighthouse Youth Center: Lighthouse Youth Center was created in 2006 to serve the youth in the Havenwoods community and later in the Garden Homes community. Boys and girls in these neighborhoods struggle with grades, problems at home, crime, violence, and meager future outlooks. Lighthouse offers hope and a safe place where these young people are encouraged academically, mentally, socially, spiritually and emotionally. Volunteer and fundraising efforts are continued throughout the year. For more information, to volunteer, or to make a donation, visit the Lighthouse website at: http://lighthouseyouthcenter.com.