The Western Dairyland Fresh Start Program helps build strong communities by involving at-risk young adults, ages 16 to 24, in the construction and rehabilitation of homes in western Wisconsin. When completed, the houses are sold to income-eligible families in the community.
During the course of the program, the young adults gain valuable skills, perform community service, and prepare for post-secondary education and/or careers. At first glance, they're learning how to build homes. Take a closer look and you'll see they are actually rebuilding their lives. Since 1998, more than 400 young adults have gone through the program and 87% have completed the program successfully.
Fresh Start combines classroom instruction to help the youth complete studies for their high school diplomas, GED or HSED with other educational goals including independent living skills and the actual "hands on" construction work. All program participants are AmeriCorps members, and an hourly wage is paid for construction work. The most important goal of the project is to help youth find their way toward self-sufficiency and build self-esteem through accomplishment, while staying on the path to success.
Program Offers Youth a Fresh Start
Mondovi Herald-News, August 1, 2013
Building a Better Future
WEAU TV-13, July 10th, 2014
Program Helps Rebuild Lives
WEAU TV-13, July 30th, 2015