What We Do

What We Do:

What we do

Our Next Generation offers a wide range of educational, enrichment, and personal support programs that are designed to\ improve our students’ academic and life outcomes in an environment where students can feel safe and empowered to engage in learning and self-exploration. Our programs are coordinated by a dedicated network of staff and volunteers who work to develop meaningful one-on-one relationships with each child and offer them a safe and stable environment where learning can be their first priority.

Our Programs:

Homework Club

homework clubStudents and volunteer mentors put their heads together over homework assignments and literacy enrichment activities. This daily, one-on-one academic support improves student’s educational outcomes while simultaneously fostering the meaningful, personal relationships with caring adults that are vital to our children’s academic growth and personal well-being.

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Our Next Generation’s inaugural program, Homework Club, was founded when a group of enterprising volunteers recognized a need for additional youth support in their community in the early ‘90s. They began to meet weekly to give students a safe and focused environment to complete their homework assignments and receive academic support. Soon after, they incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and Our Next Generation was born. Over the years, volunteers have continued to provide this vital service to the students of our community – not only offering academic support, but also developing stable and meaningful relationships with student that help create the safe and welcoming environment that the youth of our community so desperately need. Although Our Next Generation has evolved over the years to include additional academic and enrichment programs  as the need and capacity arose, Homework Club remains a vital and effective service for our students.


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Outbound Learning:

Outbound LearningOur award-winning Outbound Learning program seeks to combine the academic support and one-on-one mentoring of Homework Club with opportunities to expand students’ horizons beyond their own neighborhood. Students are bused to participating corporate and community partner sites, where they are mentored by employee volunteers. This program exposes students to a variety of professional environments and potential career paths, while simultaneously providing them with one-on-one academic support and meaningful relationships with mentors.

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Outbound Learning Partners: Each partner program has its own educational focus and dedicated staff to coordinate logistics. We are extremely grateful for all of the time, energy, and resources our partners contribute to makes Outbound Learning a unique and enriching experience for our students!

  • Froedtert Health –  Employees and health professionals volunteer their time to help students with their homework and expose them to careers in public health.
  • St. John’s of the Lake – Third grade students learn about oral tradition and storytelling from residents of St. John’s of the Lake retirement community.
  • ManpowerGroup– Employees from ManpowerGroup, a large company in Milwaukee, build relationships with students and expose them to a unique professional environment also while providing weekly homework help.
  • University School of Milwaukee – Elementary students pair up with High School mentors to work on homework and build positive relationships.
  • UW – Milwaukee – Students from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee host student from Our Next Generation on campus, exposing them to the college environment and providing weekly homework help.Outbound Learning

High School Connection

high schol connectionOur Next Generation’s high school program is designed to provide our teenagers with a structured curriculum as well as a safe, supervised environment for both social activities and opportunities for workforce training and soft skill development.

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High School Connection is an after school and summer program for 13 to 17-year-olds to discuss career planning, college exploration and community stewardship. The program provides tutoring for academic achievement and ACT test preparation, and also addresses the critical social issues facing kids in the neighborhood: peer pressure, teen pregnancy prevention, social justice, conflict resolution, crime and substance abuse prevention.


High Scool Connection

Enhancing Learning through the Arts

learning through artsThe arts are critical for investing and engaging students in academic learning, as well as for fostering critical thinking skills and broadening student’s perspectives. Our Arts Specialist incorporates learning through art every day in our academic programming, as well as developing hands-on creative workshops for student to explore and learn through the arts.

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Years of research show that Arts Education is closely linked to academic achievement in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skills, as well as improvement in motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork. Yet the arts are increasingly left out of academic curriculums, leaving students from low economic backgrounds at a distinct disadvantage to children from more affluent families who have more opportunities for extracurricular learning. Examples of past workshops include:

Literacy Comes Alive with Art: Students team up with literacy coaches for intentional reading practice, enhanced by drawing, journaling, roleplaying and other individual and group activities that help students connect the stories they read with their own lived experiences.

Poetry for the Soul: In a series of poetry workshops, students are coached by a local poet to write and perform their own original compositions. Using Our Next Generation’s video equipment to record and rehearse, students prepare to perform at the workshop’s culminating event – a Poetry Slam attended by an audience of parents, staff, and community members. In 2012 our workshop featured talent spoken word artist Nikki Janzen as a lead and mentor.

Ceramic Jazz: At this ongoing workshop, students are guided by a local artist to channel the inspiring sounds of smooth jazz into creative clay artwork. Student pieces are displayed throughout the community and at an end of the year showcase.

Side Streets to Main Streets: Students learn to express themselves through multi-media storytelling. During the process they write songs, create beats, and compile an artistic video. Program leader Dave Olsen introduces students to digital technology, providing instruction on technical skills such as camera angle, composition, and editing to help students bring their vision to life.


learning through arts

Summer Program:

summer campAfter school lets out for the summer, Our Next Generation continues to provide students a safe and engaging learning environment for students. Our summer program provides a balance of focused academics and enrichment activities that are designed to help prevent summer learning loss and give students a fun and engaging summer experience.

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Studies show that students who do not engage in academics throughout the summer experience a cumulative learning loss and often fall behind their peers. A phenomenon that more acutely affects low-income students, who do not have the same access to books, enrichment activities, and ambient learning opportunities as their more affluent peers. The effects can be drastic. For example, some studies estimate that approximately two-thirds of the reading achievement gap by ninth grade could be attributed to the summer learning loss in the first five years of schooling.

Our Next Generation’s Summer Program offers academics in a safe, friendly environment where campers spend time with caring and experienced staff, volunteers, and specialists. Four mornings a week are spent on literacy, math, and science projects presented in unique and engaging ways though storytelling, web-based programming, robotics, nature exploration and more! Afternoons are reserved for recreation and enrichment, supporting learning through exploration, free play, games, sports, outdoor activities, field trips, dance, art, and music. Throughout the summer, we embark on field trips, participate in bike camp and swim lessons, create arts and crafts, enjoy daily nutritional meals, and have lots of fun!

Summer Program

USM/ONG Outbound Project '17