In the spirit of holiday giving, Mayo Clinic Health System in northwest Wisconsin is helping to strengthen its local communities by contributing $50,000 to five organizations to improve the health and well-being of community members who are in need of support. The five recipient organizations are:
- The Court Appointed Special Advocate (C.A.S.A.) program in Barron received $16,500 to fund the costs of training 11 volunteers. C.A.S.A. enlists citizen volunteers to champion the needs of abused and neglected children who are unsafe at home and must live temporarily under the jurisdiction of the courts and the supervision of a county child welfare system. C.A.S.A. volunteers come from all walks of life and all share a concern about children in the community. C.A.S.A. volunteers work for the judges. They are the only volunteers under Wisconsin Law to serve as sworn a Friend of the Court. The volunteers are assigned to one child for the duration that child is in the court-appointed child welfare system. They act as mentors and advocates until such time as the child can be safe at home or until a safe, permanent home is found for them.
- The Tiny Homes program received $8,500 to fund the building of one tiny home. Hope Village will be a small community of tiny homes near downtown Chippewa Falls. Currently there are eight tiny homes that are linked to local churches. The housing is meant to be temporary where people can stay anywhere from four to eight months. The village also provides mentors and life coaches to help the guests get back on their feet. They provide the guests with a secured living plan. It also helps them find an income that’s sufficient for a permanent house, helps them get reconnected with health services, which can be physical, mental or spiritual health, and then Hope Village helps them find permanent housing.
- Tandem Mentoring’s weekly Tandem Tuesday program received $8,000 to help defray the purchase of guitars for youth and the meal costs. The goal of Tandem Mentoring is to provide support and encouragement to youth between the ages of 11 and 18 who fall through the cracks in the greater Eau Claire area. These young people have many abilities but often don’t have the resources or support to break destructive behaviors to embrace all of their potential. Tandem hosts special activities and events to support youth of the 180 Program, an at-risk youth intervention program in Eau Claire County. When someone expresses interest in mentoring through Tandem, background checks and home visits take place before someone is accepted into the mentoring role.
- Stepping Stones’ Winterhaven facility in Menomonie received $12,000 to help fund the overnight shelter for homeless adults in the greater Dunn County. From mid-November through March, Winterhaven provides food and shelter for up to 10 adults per night, which is in addition to a year-round shelter that is open to families. Funding of the program relies exclusively on donations from community members and organizations. Winterhaven allows Stepping Stones to accommodate more people during the coldest time of the year, but requires overnight staffing by volunteers. Overnight volunteers keep the shelter open or help residents make dinner for the night. During their stay, residents work closely with shelter staff to secure affordable housing, find or maintain employment and access resources to become self-sufficient.
- The Weekend Meals program received $5,000 to combat food insecurity in the rural areas of Osseo and Fairchild. The school district coordinates a weekend meal program that sends food home with kids that would not otherwise get food or much of it. The extra meals and snacks help feed children over the 12-day Christmas break and nine-day spring break from school. Each week, participating children are provided with enough food for two breakfasts, lunches and snacks. The meals and snacks provided are meant to be easy to assemble and prepare, and all the food is ordered, packed and distributed by volunteers. Food is sent home on Friday (or the last day of school for the week) in the child’s backpack.
Press ContactDan Lea