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.
Students 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.
Our 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.
- 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.
High School Connection
Our 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.
Enhancing Learning through the Arts
The 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.
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.
After 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.
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!