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La Causa for Giving Back Second Chances by eric ledesma Learn how La Causa enhances community stability.

Hope House Safety by nate pyper Journey along one student’s experience becoming a leader.

Separations are Links by isabel kent Understand how empathy impacts community service.

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Letter From the Editor

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Educators & Leaders

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La Causa Crisis Nursery Leaders

La Causa for Giving Back Second Chances by eric ledesma Learn how La Causa enhances community stability and conquers the many challenges facing today’s youth. Read a La Causa volunteer’s perspective helping guide children at La Causa’s Crisis Nursery; a facility open 24 hours a day all year long.

Hope House Safety by nate pyper Journey along one student’s experience as he learns to become a leader in his community. He reflects on the overwhelming group of homeless who come to Milwaukee’s Hope House center for safety. They provide a safe, refuge that provides services for homeless and low income people.

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Separations Are Links by isabel kent Understand how empathy impacts community service by allowing others to understand various view points. The more people are able to accept other perspectives the more able they are to achieve better communication. People who can see other view points are the best kinds of volunteers. 18

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Special Thanks


Letter From The Editor Today it seems people need help more than ever. With a falling global economy and a looming uncertainty for tomorrow’s fate it has become apparent that now more than every is the time to give back. In my Milwaukee community I see it everywhere; people living in unfortunate circumstances without any opportunity to change their future. They are stuck in a situation that makes life bearable at the moment but strips them of their souls. As someone who has those things in life that make it comfortable and worthwhile, I find it important to give back in anyway I can. First in service’s simplest form; manners and courtesy. Day to day, I make sure I treat people kindly and make every effort to help out a fellow friend. The added service I provide my community with is getting involved at La Causa Crisis Nursery. Here, I give my time to take care of children. La Causa is a day care center that offers families unable to pay for a baby sitter or day care the opportunity to work and support their families. My time spent here has taught me thus far the struggles families are facing today. Most of them without jobs are trying to raise newborns or multiple children off of state aide alone.

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This magazine has given me the opportunity to address my personal beliefs I have formed from my service experience as well as call on others who are fortunate enough to lend a helping hand in their own communities. The articles were chosen to inspire and educate others of organizations in our Milwaukee community that are making a difference as well as commentary on those who have and continue to serve each day. I hope the publication will motivate and

Editor Jessica Hensley blows bubbles while taking care of Emily Tucker at La Causa Crisis Nursery.

generate a proactive beginning for community service everywhere. It is important to recognize our humble beginnings and ensure the same future for generations to come.

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Leslie Fedorchuck

Ben Rothschild

Janna wrench

Serving as the Director of Academic Service Learning for the college, Fedorchuk believes in the importance of creative people in every aspect of community life and encourages students to see themselves as change-makers both in and out of the studio.

As the Academic Service Learning Assistant Ben know’s exactly what the student’s perspective is. Ben graduated from the college with his BFA in sculpture. Since his own experience in service learning he has committed his time to helping out La Causa. From his involvement he has been able to recruit many students to help in the cause.

Currently working on her PhD at Marquette University Janna teaches service learning for the college. The theme of her class is American Education dealing with the relationship between education and community. She believes every child deserves a fair shot at a good education no matter what their economic or ethnic status is.


La Causa Crisis Nursery Leaders For my service learning class I volunteered at La Causa Crisis Nursery and Respite Center located in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point community. I completed 35 hours for my service learning class and continue to spend time there today. During my first experiences at La Causa I was very naive to think things were going to be easier than they ended up. Upon my starting I met Ruth Brown a caretaker who has worked at La Causa for many years. She proved to make a lasting impression on myself and my time there. Ruth was the caretaker I spent most of my time with. She introduced me to many of the urban youth troubles in our community. During naps she offered advice on life, men, children and family. Ruth always seemed the most comfortable with the children. They really respected her and when they couldn’t control their behavior they always apologized

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Written By Jessica Hensley or drew a picture for her. She was definitely a voice around the nursery. Whenever we got into one of our conversations she always would mention how much she loved her job. It is people like Ruth who take what they have and find a way to give back what they can. With Ruth’s experience and guidance I was able to become a great service leader myself. It is important that our youth have people to trust and admire. It is apparent today that our youth is missing a vital part of their childhood. They don’t have leaders to look up to aspiring to be one day. Now children can only look up to girls like Lindsey Lohan or guys like Justin Bieber who are so detached from reality and their community. Children today need role models that promote healthy stable lives. Participating in La Causa’s mission helped me realize how crucial leaders are in our own community.

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La Causa


response by eric ledesma Edited By Jessica Hensley What is the placement you served at? I volunteered at La Causa Crisis Nursery and Respite Center located on 522 West Walker Street in Walkers Point. I completed 35 hours doing volunteer work. What were your responsibilities during your service? While volunteering at La Causa I would mostly be in charge of looking over the kids and interacting with them. Mostly playing indoors and outdoors, coloring, watching a movie or reading to them. In a couple of occasions I fed kids because they might have been too young to feed themselves or making a bit of a mess. Amongst other things the most important task was looking over their safety and setting an example. Correcting them if they hit or scream at one another, using please, excuse me or may I and showing them when something is acceptable or not acceptable. What is their mission? La Causa Nursery Center provides care for children of underprivileged families an gives them a safe place outside of a family crisis or rough time for a short period of time until the family deals through the issue. A couple of services I have noticed are: feeding, help with homework, bathing or showering, over night stay, clean clothing. Most of all, a healthy family environment where stable

communities and healthy families have the resources and opportunities to maximize personal development and self-sufficiency. Furthermore, to provide children, youth and families with quality, comprehensive services to nurture healthy family life and enhance community stability. How does the agency fulfill its mission? In more ways than one, La Causa fulfills its mission by supplying the tools necessary for a group of people to provide what children need to exist in a safe and healthy environment. Some of those tools are a secure roof above their heads, healthy food, fun and educational toys, also play time and a clean place to be. These are simple tools given to the children in their care by a great staff. The tools would be nothing without people to supply them. The staff at La Causa is extremely family orientated with the mission to give a home away from home to the kids under their supervision. They help to prevent physical or mental scaring to kid in broken homes by opening it’s doors when families are in need. What was one powerful moment during your service? One powerful moment for me happened the first day of my community service. I had just arrived and went to the second floor to watch a movie with all the kids. There were 5 kids, one named Skylar. I

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Children staying overnight head to La Causa’s second floor to take baths and get ready for bed.

began talking to him about his age, siblings and we were reading a book and all of a sudden he grabs my neck and sits on my lap like he had known me forever, he did not see me as a stranger or someone that would harm him. I have worked with kids before in different camps or churches that I’ve attended and those kids also had the same confidence to jump

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around me, but it was because I had already built a relationship with them. I knew most of their parents and lived in neighboring areas where I had regular contact with them. In my time spent there I did not encounter an extreme situation that couldn’t be handled. But one experience

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“ I hope they can see me as a role model for them...”

that sticks out the most was when I was playing with cars with two of the boys staying over night, their names were Noah and Jamar. We were playing on a small scale parking structure and they were fighting over whose turn it was to send the car rolling. They both got really agitated

Child care worker Eileen Lozada washes bed linens and clothes.


but were calm and respectful after I made them take turns and say excuse me to one another. How has the time you have spent there changed you and others? For myself, it has made me realize that there are more people in need in my neighborhood, then I thought. I have volunteered in other places back in Puerto Rico but not in the Milwaukee area. It opened my eyes to the severity of need in our community. For others I think the children saw a person they could trust in because many of them opened up and felt really comfortable with my presence. I hope that they could see a role model in me.

How do you contribute to the story told about race, racism and community in Milwaukee? Being a part of a minority in Milwaukee [Latino] and being able to also be a part of different communities like MIAD, the Roller Derby team and the dance community makes people break through stereotypes, boundaries and preconceived notions of what the community does or has to do.

What is your contribution to the very thing you complain about? My biggest complaint is intolerance. I have an intolerance for intolerance, as contradicting as it may sound. I believe that teaching by example

What price are you willing to pay? I am willing to pay a price that I guess all depends on the circumstances of the moment and where I am in time and space. It is hard to take yourself out of reality and juxtapose yourself into a specific situation. I can’t be honest, I don’t know what I am willing to do. I know there is a line I am not willing to cross but until I reach that point I won’t know where that line starts or begins. Fortunately, I have not not come to that situation in my life.

“teaching values by example is the best contribution to make...” How has your service and your commitment to this course affected you? I really understand and see the unfortunate circumstances in our community. I understand as to why it happens. The course has given me motivation to act upon other issues that have been on my mind for a while, including the issues with the Invisible People and Restaveks in Haiti.

is the best contribution a person can make, also talking about hem, verbalizing what is bothering you to make others understand your points of views and they may even adopt them as well. I like to think of myself as an activist person that does the most I can But I would like to show my true potential in activism and fighting for change. Being more active! I promise to myself that I will become as active as I can.

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In addition to providing comfort, as child care worker Ruth Brown doe for 18-month old Seth, staff at La Causa Crisis Nursery ensures mental an physical stability for all children.

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HOPE house


Written By eric ledesma Edited By Jessica Hensley Hope House Milwaukee is a “transitional living facility” and community center. Their primary service is to provide temporary housing for struggling families who need a place to stay while they get back on their feet, named the Chrysalis Project. Those who occupy the provided housing maintain a weekly chore and rotate cooking duty between each other, as well as attending weekly topics such as parenting, basic budget management, and stress management.” Additional classes are also available to adults through their Pathway to Progress Program and children have access to the Shining Stars Youth Program. Any one family can stay with Hope House for up to 2 years if necessary.

so it also works to host and facilitate neighborhood events, forums, cleanups, and seminars. Hope House’s Mission Statement is simple, basic, and succinct: “To end hopelessness and create healthy communities.”

In addition, Hope House also offers what is called the “Thresholds Program” which provides emergency shelter for local homeless men. They are allowed to live at Hope House for up to 60 days and work with a case manager to find permanent employment and housing.

These numbers clearly state that Hope House is having an amazingly positive effect on our Milwaukee community and is succeeding as an organization. Personally, I remember about 5-10 kids who eventually stopped showing up to the tutoring services during the semester because they had moved out of the provided transitional housing [a good thing]. If there are any barriers that stand in Hope House’s way, I think the primary one would be finances. There were a couple times while serving in the tutoring center when I noticed that supplies were low [or low-quality] and we had to make due with what we had.

The Angle of Hope Clinic is Hope House’s health care service offering medical treatment for adults and children who qualify as having low or no income. A sliding scale fee exists to provide affordable care for those who need it. Hope House also recognizes the importance of giving back to the community it resides in,

Keeping a promise and making a change According to its 2009 annual report, Hope House provided support for 180 single people and 65 families [which includes 130 children]. Increased financial security was provided for over 40 individuals and families and 15 adults graduated from their GED program. Approximately $483,000 were saved through their health care services and food was provided to over 12,100 individuals.

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“ giving back to create a healthy community...” Life changing moments The range of comprehension ranges between each student, but they are all assigned a specific reading level, eventually graduating to a higher level if they successfully read their assignments. One powerful thing I’ve enjoyed observing is being able to watch and hear the students gradually get better at reading. Serving for an entire semester has allowed me to experience the children’s gradual acquiring of knowledge, which has been rewarding to know that my support really is helping the children work towards a better and brighter future. One thing that’s been challenging to hear is the children speak about their distressed conditions. They don’t speak about it openly often but every once in awhile, something will slip out that points to the acknowledgement of their unfortunate circumstances. One moment I can remember specifically was when we were painting the mural. The children were tasked with painting things that indicated “here” on one and “there” on the other.

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Some children painted a dog on the “here” while drawing a dragon on the “there” or a road on the “here” and a red carpet on the “there.” I remember one child in particular who knew he wanted to paint a limo on the “there” panel but was unsure of what to draw on the “here” panel as a companion. After some discussion with the other students, they decided that a city bus was the best decision. They indicated that the city

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As far as how serving at Hope House has affected my outlook on community, it’s definitely reinforced my belief in the importance of voluntary service in the vitality and health of a community. There are people in need all over our city, and organizations like Hope House are working to provide for those needs; by providing volunteer opportunities, they are allowing for others to have a hand in the improvement

“the well-being of community is more important than my own...” bus was for “poor people” and those who couldn’t afford a car. This struck me as shocking and sort of served as a wake-up call, because I’ve always blissfully and intentionally taken the bus as an alternative to driving, my own environmental responsibility. Making things better for the two of us All the changes I can think of now are pretty minuscule – Hope House is doing an incredible thing and it’s doing it very well. Small things like newer computers or tutor comprehension tests could help improve the quality of the tutoring services maybe, but for a volunteer based program I think that it is a pretty well-rounded resource. I was able to even learn a little bit myself.

of their own neighborhood, city, country, and world. Support is the essence of a strong community. I’m willing to be misunderstood, misrepresented, and mistreated if it means that others are empowered and healthy communities are nurtured [I’m serious – I mean this]. I consider the well-being of the community as a whole more important than my own comfort. My racial community My racial community is still pretty limited at this point in time. I go to a mostly white school, so my circle of friends reflects as much. We are a part of an institution that, because it is an art school, encourages expression even without the assurance of future financial stability.

Many of those who attend art schools attend either because their family can afford the strain or they’ve been given a large scholarship that enables them to do that which they were previously unable to. Serving at Hope House has given me the opportunity to expand my racial community in a healthy and steady way. Whereas before this semester I might not have had any outlet or venue to interact with those living in other neighborhoods or conditions then me, volunteering at Hope House allows me to socialize and interact with new and different people in a respectful manner. I hope to continue volunteering at Hope House and interacting with those I don’t have the chance to in my daily life at MIAD. Leaders are dealers of hope I promise to create socially responsible work; to treat others fairly and equally; to be a joyful and inclusive person; to volunteer to support those in need; to fight for the oppressed; to make efforts to truly be a part of the community that I live in. Since I’m not really in control of where I live or who my immediate peer-group is, some of the commitments like being a constructive part of the community or neighborhood I live in will have to wait until I am actually living out on my own. Absolutely – I want to assist others in providing platforms


for creativity, expression, opinions, and progress. I’m still working with the film festival I started a few years ago with a couple of friends that supports the arts and donates funds to our local homeless shelter in my hometown. A lot of people just need a venue to be able to speak their minds – once one is provided, people are enabled to do things that they might have not thought themselves able to do before. I want to facilitate this. I think that the changes we need must come from a grass roots action. People wait and depend on lawmakers to determine our destiny, but really, those in positions of governmental power are only making decisions in response to what is already happening in the community. If we start practicing equality and fair treatment of others around us and fighting for justice, regardless of how much we share in common, the laws will naturally respond. We must

“ socialize and interact with new and interesting people...” point of looking for peace? Unless we are uncomfortable, we will not feel the need to move or change. Were fighting over whose turn it was to send the car rolling down the ramp. They both got really agitated but were calm and respectful after I maid them take turns and say excuse me to one another. Contribution efforts & Rewards It’s hard to find ways to contribute to a community as a student and dependent. I’m not in a place where I’m really fully governing my life yet. However, as my awareness

is by attaching environmentally and socially responsible intentions to the projects I create in class, with the hopes of spreading awareness so that my peers might start considering their place in their community too and begin to make more socially responsible choices and decisions. To create socially responsible work; to treat others fairly and equally; to be a joyful and inclusive person; to volunteer to support those in need; to fight for the oppressed; to make efforts to truly be a part of the community that I live in. Since I’m not really in control of where I live or who my immediate peergroup is, some of the commitments being a constructive part of the community or neighborhood I live in will have to wait until I am actually living out on my own.

“I now promise to always make socially responsible work...” start discussing these issues across communities and create forums that encourage the input of multiple voices and opinions. We have to collide if we hope to reconcile – if there is no conflict, then what is the

and knowledge of the disparities I observe in our community grow, I do take action to inform others of said disparities and what we can do to change them. Even though it’s small, one little way I’ve done this

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separations Are Links


Written By Isabel Kent Edited By Jessica Hensley It’s such a strange thing; incredible and beautiful, but rolling across that great sphere is turmoil. Much of existence, perceived through the eyes of a human, is sorrow and violence, manifesting itself in multitudes of particular guises - war, poverty, famine, prejudice, crime, etc. But we’re stuck here. So, for the sake of being here, of living, how do we make it better? Where can we possibly start? For whatever reason, amidst the accumulated confusion of contemporary human life, we fall into the denial or hatred of another human being. We know that humans are at once imperfect and magnificent. What is difficult is accepting the imperfect as inevitable, and forgiving it in ourselves so that we can forgive it in others. There is so much sameness, if we decide to become aware of it. Our genetic code, which means our basic anatomical structure, which means our physiological functions, are fundamentally identical. We have the capacity to empathize with one another, and we need to use this. What I am saying is obviously nothing new. But the fact that it has survived thus far in the course of human civilization only serves to testify to its solidarity. In all the world’s major religions, the basic tenet, the “Golden Rule,” is the same. We should “Do unto others what we would have done unto us.” Although

this is drawn from religion, it’s tenets are at base, human, and extend to the nature of our experience in everyday life. For example, how can we expect others to have respect for our own views if we do not respect theirs? A sense of empathy really does permeate our lives. Without having to will a conscious decision, we register the body language and facial expressions of those around us. We are able to base this in our own experience and realize the analogous intentions behind the behavior of others. So what happens when empathy ceases to function? Individually this can be a major component of closed-mindedness, arguments, and physical fights. Among larger groups this is exhibited in similar ways, largely as prejudice against, and mistreatment or suppression of, another people. Extreme cases are genocide and war. Can’t these be seen as large manifestations of the inability to take another’s perspective? I don’t mean to oversimplify these

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grand issues. There are certainly various other complications that come into play. Many of these complications, however, could be explained as themselves arising partially as a consequence of lack of understanding between people. Circumstances like these coalesce and build upon each other, eventually forming one mass conflict, which then leads to further atrocities. A clash occurs when we see an individual or group as other than ourselves, that we disagree with so fervently that it appears foreign enough to be designated as wrong or even evil. To protect ourselves we often feel the need to do

“ the ability to take on another perspective...” something to suppress that other. If these notions push further into action, physical harm is done. The thoughts themselves however, are already silently germinating this view of the world. In turn, this obviously impacts the deeds one carries out. But the human brain is malleable. Biases can be turned around if they are brought to one’s attention. The problem is that maybe reminders are not prevalent

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in our everyday lives. We may see images of war on the news, but this is perhaps not specific enough. We still watch through our own tinted lenses, maybe as a proponent of one or the other of the conflicting sides. What should be emphasized is the nature of the core disagreement, how and why it exists, perhaps that it should not exist, and what the resolution may be. We also need to be made more aware of our own slant and the perspective we are missing in our repertoire. Once we can see all involved outlooks more holistically, we notice their inherent sameness, and the ensuing ridiculousness of antagonism. To illustrate a

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even stay alive. When the pressure of mortality is so present, anything beyond the necessities of life must seem frivolous. Furthermore, although it varies depending on the specific location, opportunities in jobs, education, and all areas of life, are in scarce supply. goading them to donate are just an annoyance. The thought of taking on the vantage of the poor does not cross their mind, at least not with any great urgency. But if something X were to make them, imagine the impact it could have. If the wealthy were made to live like the poor, or to just experience a small part of such a

“empathy is the ability to see that other viewpoints are valid...” concrete example of a social issue involving the inability to take on another perspective, consider the rift between the wealthiest and poorest classes in the United States. They must know that the poor do in fact exist, but they cannot put themselves in that situation, because they have never been there and do not relate to it experientially, and they also probably feel no reason to make attempts to do so. They are so comfortable where they are. Whatever charities may be

life, perhaps they would realize how awful it can be. To know that they personally would not want to be in a position of poverty may be enough for them to conclude that since there are other humans that are in that place, they need to be helped. The prior example becomes an issue of human rights. Throughout the world, the poor lack many basic entitlements of life because they are bound by their circumstances. In extreme conditions, there is lack of adequate shelter and nourishment to

This web of interrelationships has biological foundations, into which current studies surrounding the nature of the human nervous system have brought new insights. A region toward the front of the brain activates when we are pondering our own feelings, but also when we are thinking about or observing those same feelings in another. More specifically, a class of cells, which are located in various areas of the brain, have been found to direct our ability to read not only another person’s actions, but also the intentions and emotions behind them. Dr. Giacomo Rizzolatti, a neuroscientist, was quoted in saying, “We are exquisitely social creatures. Our survival depends on understanding the actions, intentions, and emotions of others. Mirror neurons allow us to grasp the minds of others not through conceptual reasoning but through direct simulation”. In a sense we can simultaneously experience the thoughts and actions of another. This also poses the intimate connectivity of thought, action, and language. These cells


References Blakeslee, Sandra. “Cells That Read Minds.” Boroditsky, Lera. “Empathy and Other Mysteries.”

fire when one performs an action, sees another carrying out that action, hears it happening, says the word for that action, or hears that word. This can be seen as the meeting place of these different avenues, which all allow for understanding between people, and are essentially linked as a means of communication whose framework is emotional. The importance of empathy is apparent. It lends us the competence to recognize that other viewpoints must be just as valid as our own.

“ the poor are bound by their status....” Scientific research has provided us with more clues as to how and why this phenomenon operates, and has given us greater insight into how incredible this biological capacity truly is. The complexity and social grounding of our empathy is

something uniquely human. It lies behind much of our daily decisions and behavior, and is one of the key components of how we have developed as a society. It needs to exist for us to exist. All of this serves to remind us of empathy’s profundity. What teaches us most is the face-to-face encounter in which we share a real and fathomless humanness with another.

Illustrations by Rebecca McConnell

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MIAD Service Student Impact

Written By Jessica Hensley

Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design has been teaching students the importance of service learning in their communities for quite some time. Over the years, the college’s service learning program has evolved into an essential part of student life. Now, students are participating in the revival of their communities more than ever before. The current program requires that students complete at least 35 hours to be guaranteed a C in the course. More hours means more credit and in this class the work load is personal. Service learning offers students a chance to stretch their arms

and reach out to the community. Every year students are finding more and more organizations to volunteer which is why the program directors make sure to conduct a census each year to find out what is popular and how many students are participating. For the 2010 Service Learning Census the college found the monetary value of student service hours came to a total of $82,086.45 for a total 3,937 hours that students had completed. Now that’s a great lending hand! Consider some of these listed organizations for your own service experience.

top organizations to serve

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shawn simmons la causa crisis nursery rebecca mcconnell leslie fedorchuck janna wrench ben rothschild isabel kent eric ledesma nate pyper

As the editor and designer of this magazine I am honored to thank these great people for this remarkable opportunity. The ability to use my imagination and creativity into a context that is worth talking about has been very beneficial for myself. Again, I want to thank you for being with me through the countless critiques and prints. Your support and understanding gave me the motivation to push my design farther. On a wider scale, I would like to thank the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design faculty and administration for the educational initiatives they provide encouraging students to participate in their communities. Undoubtedly, this publication will be of great use to the students and families involved in their communities for the utmost benefit of our college readership.

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MIAD Bridge  

2011 MIAD Bridge: Bringing Back Hope by Jessica Hensley