A nationally recognized program in its second year in Appleton appears to have found the right formula to help at-risk teenagers feel more empowered to make a difference in school and in their lives. The month-long Summer of Service Program, which is coordinated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley and Appleton Police Department and supported by many partners, uses community service as a way to help teenagers who are at risk of not graduating. Through team-focused volunteering with local nonprofit organizations, the program focuses on creating positive attitudes toward school, and developing life skills. Five funds within the Community Foundation awarded grants to help the program get started last year and continue this summer.
On August 19, a standing-room-only crowd gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of this summer’s program graduates. The teenagers who spoke about the experience expressed deep gratitude for the opportunity, and they said they got more out of the program than they thought they would when they started. It was clear from the many tears and hugs that meaningful bonds formed between the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps young people who worked side-by-side with the teenagers during their service work.
Outagamie County Judge Mark McGinnis, who presides over the truancy court, expressed how proud he was of each of the graduates. Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna reinforced how much the community and the program partners and funders care about helping all of the program graduates succeed in school. The program would not be possible without financial support and collaboration among many community partners.
Summer of Service Program Partners
- Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley
- Appleton Police Department
- Truancy Court
- Appleton Area School District
- Esprit Counseling
- Appleton Parks and Recreation
- Riverview Gardens
- Greater Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity
- Rebuilding Together Fox Valley
Summer of Service Program Funders
- AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps
- Rotary Club of Appleton
- Valley Kids Foundation
- Funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region:
- Jewelers Mutual Charitable Giving Fund
- Mowry Smith Charitable Fund
- Heaney Family Fund
- Leland O. and Leone F. Skowen Charitable Fund
- Evelyn and Arthus Lierman Children’s Fund
You can go to the Making A Difference area here on our website to learn about the results of the first year of the Summer of Service program.