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How this nonprofit organization prepares Milwaukee kids for the future

When you plant a seed in good ground, the miracle of growth happens underneath the soil. You don’t see any progress when you plant it, but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. You return after three or four months to find a tall tree serving a whole community.

That’s how Associate Director of After School Programs James Wilbern described the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center: good ground.

Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a long, brick building that radiates positivity. From the moment you open the doors you feel a sense of comfort coming from the colorful murals on the walls to the laughter that echoes from classroom to classroom.

“We are a community addressing community issues and coming up with community solutions,” said Wilbern.

James Wilbern has been working for the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center for 10 years. He coordinates activities of involvement for children to get a hands-on learning experience that they can use in their social and professional lives. The nonprofit organization helps Milwaukee residents with education resources, social development, and career searching through the Transform Milwaukee Jobs Program (TMJ).

“The reason why you trust the SSNC organization is that you have to look at who we are, what we do, and where we’re going.” said Wilbern. “Being around almost 70 years now, speaks of longevity so that doesn’t happen when you’re not able to deliver.”

The after-school programs offer tools to navigate the issues seen in the community. Wilbern places an emphasis on introducing the kids of Milwaukee to nontraditional activities that will ultimately allow them to have a well-rounded skill set. Soccer poetry writing and agriculture club are only two examples of these.

Among these are services like literacy enrichment, homework assistance, and physical education which play a vital role in allowing the kids to grow among themselves and within their environment. 

There is also a day care center for children 0-3 years old where ensuring that the kids are safe, happy and feel at home is a priority.

Caring is part of the job and it’s noticeable throughout the entire agency. It is emphasized throughout all departments. Even though the food pantry volunteers that help prepare food.

The food pantry serves the majority of the northwest community with pre-packed boxes of food and is in partnership with the Blanket of Love Baby Sanctuary that helps provide for pregnant mothers.

It’s a community outside and inside of the agency. New programs and activities are constantly being introduced to the center with the help of staff and donors to effectively adhere and adjust to the needs of Milwaukee residents. 

It’s just a matter of time for when the next thing is to come.


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