Monday, December 2, 2013

How did everyone feel about our conference kick-off?

Just had our conference kick-off and the kids retained a lot of valuable information about the water industry of Milwaukee. Here are a few posts from our College Project Managers, about the kids that they are working with and how they are enjoying the our program.

       "I have learned that thirty-eight water technology companies have headquarters in Wisconsin, and five of the 11 largest water companies in the world have operations here. “This concentration of water industry leaders has bolstered Wisconsin’s reputation for sustainable leadership and helped make the Wisconsin-based Water Council a global authority on advanced water technology development and deployment” (inwisconsin). I have learned that we have a resource like no one else has and that there is a demand for fresh water.
      I think learning about rain barrels, rain gardens, and community clean ups will impact my teams project because it shows how we can find more ways to conserve water by using a rain barrel rather to capture the rain rather than filling up buckets of water from our sinks. It could make my team realize the amount of water that we use and be more cautious in the way that we use it.
       We have not yet been put into groups, but I have looked over a few of the projects that students have done in the past and I do see a connection between community cleanup and my life. I feel like we are all responsible to keep our environment clean and it is great for all of us to participate in a community cleanup every once in a while. I also see how the rain barrels can be a great tool to use when we need to water a garden. I think that is a great idea so that we do not use freshwater.
         My reaction to the kickoff conference was that it was such a great experience. I was able to meet many of the other students that participate in Lead To Succeed and see how dedicated they were to show up and learn more about water companies throughout Wisconsin. I really enjoyed the workshops that were set up and my favorite part was getting to walk around and get to listen to the speakers that work with a company that deal with water. I was also able to talk to professors that teach students about water and I found it interesting that he brought a visual to show everyone."
        -Taylor Ansay (YMCA)

"I have been to Bayview High School around four times now and I am really starting to enjoy it! We still haven’t gotten fully into the project yet, since a lot of the students keep switching each week we have meetings, but we are finally starting to narrow it down to some of the regulars. Last week the students discovered that water is made in basically every type of food, which was very interesting to them! They had to make a list of their favorite foods and determine how water is incorporated with them! For example, one girl wrote down chicken wings and they weren’t exactly sure on how water was incorporated in them until we started from the very early stages. This is what the chickens would drink, which is water! So overall it was just really interesting to see how excited the students were when they discovered that water really is used for everything!
Another exciting experience is that on Saturday we had the official kickoff Conference where the students from all around Milwaukee who are in the Lead to Succeed program came to the UWM campus! When they first got there we had free pizza, drinks, and t-shirts! While being at the conference, the students learned about different jobs in the water industry, how to be professional, about their personal logos and much more! It was an exciting, fun filled day for everyone and I am lucky that I got to be part of it! It was awesome to see how excited the students were to see what their futures are full of and also to hear their awesome ideas! Overall, I think that it was a great start to kickoff Lead to Succeed and I am excited to see where the rest of the semester will take us, learning about water and watching their projects evolve."  
-Amanda Olejiniczak (Bayview Highschool)

"Do you ever get that jarring sensation when you suddenly get a glimpse of another perspective that is alien to your own? I have been passionate about water resources, conservation and hydrology for so long that it was refreshing to see how students are introduced to the different aspects of some of my favorite subjects. Since I haven’t really figured out what exactly I want to do with my hydrology/conservation degree, it was enlightening to hear about the career paths of the various professionals in the water industry that were invited to speak at the conference. I had the opportunity to speak with an engineer and a geologist who had worked on the Milwaukee Deep Tunnel project, which I would have loved to be part of!
As of right now, our group still hasn't pinned down the project we will focus on, but hopefully the Kickoff Conference gave them some good ideas. Most of the Milwaukee professionals who spoke to the students were enthusiastic about their careers, which I think makes more of a difference to high school students than the actual careers themselves.  I’ll admit that I caught a few napping during the breakout sessions (it was warm in the room and right after lunch), but the kids seemed to absorb the information they were given about the jobs available in the water industry, tips for being professional and the importance of taking an active leadership role in your community.  In particular, they really enjoyed the community service Jeopardy game.
The students in our group at WCLL are great! They were respectful and seemed interested in the variety of jobs that were available in Wisconsin’s water industry. I can’t wait to get started on their project."
-Charlene Rogers (WCLL)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Start to the 2013 Fall Semester

Kick off of the Fall 2013 Semester is on its way and the College Project Managers are very excited to get the ball rolling after meeting the students for the first time this semester.   Here are a few words from the Project managers, see for yourself how excited the Project Managers and students are:

"My first session was great. It was filled with a lot of information but I was able to learn a lot about Lead to Succeed and what we will be working on throughout the semester. Even though we had a small group the first week, in the second week I saw a lot more students come and join us, and hopefully more will come next week! What surprised me the most was that I would be a college mentor which means that I will be a main leader along with the program facilitator. That surprised me because I feel like I know just as much about water resources as the high school students do and so I wasn’t sure what to expect as to how I could help with giving information. As Petra explained, it is as much as a learning process for us as it is for them and we are there to encourage our team to think of great ideas and to help develop their project goals."
-          Taylor Ansay (YMCA)

"My first sessions with lead to succeed were eye opening to me. Going in I did not know what to expect.  I thought it was going to be a mandatory thing for the students from their schools. I was wrong. The group is filled with kids who seem passionate about the organization and about their futures.  So this was surprising to me.  My team's strengths are their dedication to the organization.  I admire that they are willing and responsible enough to come to session each week by bus and participate.  They are a really good group of kids with dedication and passion for the organization.  As of now I see no weaknesses among them." 
-          Zoe Bacik (YMCA)

"My first session was very interesting, because I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I am going to school to be an Elementary school teacher so working with High School students is something very new to me. It was the first time being at Bayview High School so it was exciting when I walked through the doors. When the students finally made it to the room, I greeted 9 boys who were interested in Lead to Succeed.
This is the first time doing the Lead to Succeed program at Bayview High School so the first few sessions were all about getting the information out to the students, recruiting other students and getting all of the paper work situation.
Something that surprised me last week was how motivated the students were to get involved and get a job. They were very excited about the job portion of this program, especially since some of them have never had a job before. This was exciting to me because I feel as though the more energized the students are about this program, the more serious they are going to take it so that they can get a career and be successful!"
-          Amanda Olejniczak (Bayview High School)

Like all of our College Project Managers, Lead to Succeed is also very excited to see what the students come up with and to see their success throughout the semester.  

Make sure to follow Lead to Succeed on Twitter and like our Facebook page too.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Last Thoughts

Thursday, May 9, 2013

As the Spring 2013 semester is ending the Project Managers are giving their final thoughts. All of the Project Managers this spring have been very diligent in giving the most up to date information about their team and how they are progressing.

“I have learned a lot from working with Lead to Succeed! I have made significant improvements on my leadership skills and have a new sense of responsibility while I attended the program every week. Through this volunteer opportunity I have learned how much a small group of people can make such a difference on conservation in Milwaukee and throughout the United States. It will help me in the future because I will take the skills and confidence I have gained through Lead to Succeed and carry it on to future volunteer projects as well as my own career.”Lacy – NeuLife

Final Projects will be updated once the semester ends. Stay updated with the Lead to Succeeds blog and Facebook to see how the Spring 2013 Celebration Ceremony goes! The Celebration Ceremony showcases all of the projects the Project Managers and students have worked on throughout the year as well as shows all of the businesses that have contributed to Lead to Succeed’s students success!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Melanie's take on Lead to Succeed

Melanie, one of our project managers at Lead to Succeed explains how her group project is coming along and how their project is affecting her students and herself.

Our Lead to Succeed project addresses the issue of waste and pollution in our water. On this our third meet up, we focused particularly on the poor quality of the Milwaukee River and how we contribute significantly to this trash buildup that seems to increase on a daily basis. I definitely feel that this issue affects my life. I have learned so much from working with these kids about water conservation and management, and how to prevent my own waste from polluting our waterways.

            I also feel that this issue will affect my high school students. These students are learning even more than I am because they are completely hands on with this project. They are the ones finding the information that will be used in their final presentation and they are the ones coming up with different ideas for how they can showcase the amount of waste each person creates every day. These kids have grown significantly in the few weeks that I’ve worked with them, and even if they don’t end up changing their water-using habits significantly, they will think twice before they leave the sink running while brushing their teeth in the morning or taking that unnecessarily long shower after school!

As project manager, I am getting my team of students engaged and interested in this project by asking them to find how it is most closely related to them. When I was in high school, I always learned best when there was some type of visual or physical representation, so with these kids, we came up with different ideas of how they use and can then re-use water in their daily activities. The kids were especially interested in the project when they found out that they could talk about athletics and sports the importance of hydrating with clean, safe water.”

            As you can tell Melanie believes this project has and will continue to affect herself and her group of students. Lead to Succeed hopes that all of their students are as engaged and excited as Melanie's group!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What barriers have the teams faced?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This week, the College Project Managers were asked to tell us how their teams are were coming along.  They also were asked to elaborate on their barriers that their team's are facing and how they will overcome them. Here's what they had to say! 
“My team’s project is coming along smoothly. There are still lots of things we need to get done, but we have come a long way. Our Lead to Succeed group has been divided into subgroups. The teams interaction with each other has come a long way and has helped with creating their game. They have begun to understand the software and so far it seems like a lot of fun. 

As a team, the students work together very nicely and have come up with some great collaborative ideas. 

The only obstacles we have had with the team’s success are absences.  A couple of the students have been absent a couple times which make for an obstacle but we ended up creating a team email when needed. We have used this in contacting someone to interview. That way if a student is absent, it will not hinder the rest of the group. “ 
Paula – PLI

“The team is progressing on schedule. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in such a short period of time! After meeting with a representative from a River Revitalization group for a practice interview, the team met with a local environmental leader to do the real thing. Using the interview skills and techniques we taught them in class and the questions we crafted they conducted a successful interview with someone from which they got valuable information. The interview will be a great addition to the burgeoning website. 

I’m Happy to report that the team, which is made up of a bunch of kids from a handful of different high schools, has meshed well together. Like any sports or business team, our group of young environmentalists and ambitious thinkers has set aside their differences for the greater good of the whole. The result has been one primary focus which has gotten us closer to our goal of contributing to Milwaukee’s environmental conscience. The students may come from different backgrounds, but they all share the same enthusiastic approach to working n our project. 

We have encountered a few barriers to team success. Unfortunately, my team partner Rachel and I have not been able to make that last couple of meetings. The students have shown a remarkable amount of determination and independence in our absence. Even though spring break and health concerns have gotten in the way of the meetings, Rachel and I have been diligent in our preparation and action with the program. We can’t wait to attend more meetings, spend more time with the students and continue our path to the end goal of a completed project. “– Michael - PLI

“Our team is making extensive progress over the past couple of weeks. After completing the interview questions we had worked on for a few weeks, we actually conducted 2 full interviews. The project is at its final stretch of conducting more interviews and then proceeding to edit them. The team is going above and beyond by meeting outside of the typical meeting days. They are meeting at different locations to conduct the interviews and are doing a wonderful job!

The team in itself is also progressing and continuing to work well together. They are complementing one another more and more as time passes. They are coming together to complete this project and are still working well under a time crunch.

Some barriers that we have come across are sound quality, in regards to the interviews, scheduling interviews with organizations, and the technology itself. These are all things that the group was able to overcome and figure out all together. This was one of many times that the group exemplified problem solving strategies. This group has shown massive progress and I am proud of them or their ability to work towards completion of this project.”- Rachel - PLI

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Savannah's first experience with Lead to Succeed!

One of our College Project Managers was very detailed in how her first experiences with Lead to Succeed went and with her new students. Here is what Savannah had to say:

“As a new project manager for the Lead to Succeed program, I originally envisioned an environment where students came for studies, homework help, but after my first session, I was pleasantly surprised. My students or “scholars” as I call them were distant at first, with good reasoning. Many of the students I work with have very few mentors to look up to and communicate with, so when I was introduced in our first session, I expected them to react with suspicion. After familiarizing myself with each student and making them feel comfortable with one another, I knew that my team was destined to succeed. We work together splendidly, taking turns and showing each other respect along the way, which assists in completing our tasks in a reasonable manner. Making personal connections is one of my biggest goals with my students; ensuring that there is trust, teamwork, and respect within one another. 

My team and I have decided to work on a movie educating other students about jobs and careers in the water industry. With Wisconsin being one of the most innovative and adapted water industries in the United States, it is crucial to educate our youth on new and exciting jobs in the water field to encourage schooling and training for these growing positions. My group and I have gathered information on several different water careers; and have conversed openly about the benefits these jobs have to the community and one another. 

So far, so good! My students have shown exceptional interest in environmental problems having to do with water and the lack of certified workers to complete the job. Working together, we completed a survey on our own personal water consumption, and began to think more critically about preserving what we have. We also discussed the importance of knowledge and education in regards to the environment and water, and came to the conclusion that many people in our community are unaware of these important things. 

One of our team members, Tony, has been experimenting with video making in preparation for our interviews and movie. A clip of one of his drafts, which was done on his first time using moviemaker will be uploaded soon for everyone to see. Go Tony!!"
 - Savannah - COA

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Welcome Spring 2013 Project Managers

All of the Spring College Project Managers have been assigned to their schools and have begun working with their high school students! We asked the Project Managers to check in and tell us how their first meetings with their team went and what are looking forward to accomplishing this semester.

My first meeting with my team as being project manager went better than I expected! I was not sure what to expect because I have never done anything like this before. I also wasn’t sure what it would be like working with high school students because I have typically only supervised younger children. We met at the Neulife Community Resource Center, and there were about seven of us. I was surprised at how much my team knew about water conservation and why it was important. I was also surprised at how eager they were to work on this project; they seemed to really care about what they were doing. This really impressed me and excites me to continue to come back. Overall, my first meeting went great and I am excited to keep working on this project.”  - Lacy – Neulife 

My first week with the team consisted mostly of getting caught up to date on what has been done so far with regards to the project. We figured out what we could further do to advertise the Beasty Barrels so we will be able to continue to sell them. We used Facebook to put posts and pictures for our friends to see and we brainstormed other possible ideas to advertise as much flyers and the website. We have very strong creativity skills so we are confident we will be able to think of ideas that will be effective in getting the word out about Beasty Barrels.”  - Mary – Neulife 

“The first session with my team was a lot of fun. We met at the Open Mike room in the Grand Avenue Mall. The room is very spacious and there were quite a few kids involved in the program. I am in charge of the group that is working on doing interviews with non-profit organizations around Milwaukee that deal with the water crisis. These interviews will then go on the website for public viewing in hopes that people will become educated about the organizations and of the water crisis as well. 

My group is comprised of about ten kids. I was surprised at how intelligent the kids in my group were. They all worked very well together and they also had a lot of great ideas and input for the interviews. Some strength that I will bring to the team are organization, word and sentence structure, and manageability. In terms of weaknesses, sometimes I get lost in the fun and lose track of time. I also may et off topic once in awhile. Hopefully the kids will keep me on track

The team’s strengths overall are their ability to work together, their friendliness, their work ethic, and their dedication, The group is a wonderful group of kids and they are extremely dedicated to the program. At the same time, they have fun with what they are doing. I am excited for the upcoming meetings and the completion of the project.” – Rachel – PLI

“For the first session, my classmate Rachel and I met the Milwaukee Public School students at the Lead to Succeed offices at the Grand Avenue Mall. I was impressed with the turnout of students and the organization of the program directions. Immediately, I felt like a part of the fabric of the program. Everyone was welcoming and by the end of the first session we were taking pictures of the whole group working together! I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I was hopeful there would be an opportunity to help some young students work on something that would fulfill a passion of theirs. It turns out that the high school students are incredibility thoughtful and excited about environmental issues, which is the program’s primary focus. One of the three options we were asked to choose from was an interview assignment, which is one of my strengths, as I come from a journalism background at UWM. I am hoping I can provide the students with some insight to help them on their task. The group of kids, our team shows an impressive amount of enthusiasm on this subject, which I feel is the biggest strength in not only this assignment, but in life.”  – Michael – PLI 

“I have officially started my role as project manager for WCLL with Lead to Succeed. I was not sure what to think going in to my first meetings with these kids, but I was excited. I love working with kids, especially those who all have a common goal and purpose. And these kids definitely brought a bit of passion for our projects with them to the first meeting. 
Trevor Hines, who is the facilitator of our project, told me that the usual number of students that show up is eight, so most of them were still showing up faithfully. Not too bad considering that these kids have been working on this project for weeks already before I joined. 

Our project focus is to help people who understand the damage that can come from overusing water, and from polluting our water. I was surprised at how much these kids already know about the pollution in Milwaukee. As a high school student, I was aware that as a population we are slowly but surely destroying our earth, but I had no idea how much the smallest things can have the largest impacts. These kids, on the other hand, seem to grasp this, which makes this project a lot easier to manage because I don’t know to spell it out for them. They are wise beyond their years and are willing to do what needs to be done to educate other about water usage in Milwaukee. 

My team’s strengths are that we have a solid group of kids who come prepared to work and who come with ideas. None of these kids seem shy, which is a huge strength for our team. These kids were also never afraid to give a new idea or piece of advice for how e can relate to the people we plan to go out and interview. The biggest weakness would have to be the fact that as much as these kids now, they are still kids, and can only comprehend so much without actually experiencing some of the stories and instances we talk to them about. This is where I come in as project manager. I can help these kids see the bigger picture and give them more facts and statistics that will make us stronger as a team. It also helps that Google is right on our fingertips! I am already learning so much from my group and I cannot wait to learn more!”  - Melanie – WCLL

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Final Recaps From Fall 2012

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
With the Fall 2012 Projects Managers finishing up, Spring 2013 Project Managers will be coming in and filling in the previous managers shoes. Here are some last thoughts and reflections from the Fall Project Managers. We can’t wait to have our Spring Project Managers come in and finish these projects with all the students!

On our final days, my team and I worked on our goals we set for the future. My students needed some help with motivation but once I got some ideas flowing they slowly started to get going. I feel respected but it is hard for me to motivate them at times. When I told my students that I was going to come back after the holiday break and continue to volunteer, they seemed excited. I think they liked the fact that I was not just going to ditch them once I fulfilled my requirements. I am looking forward to next semester to continue the projects with them.

           -- Stuart, Youth Water Website: PLI

While being the project manager, I have begun to feel comfortable in my own skin in regards to talking in front of larger groups. I have learned how wonderful of an experience this was to contribute to the girls I worked with and to see what wonderful things are offered to educate the community. I was very challenged coming into this because I don’t usually like large group situations but this did help me out a great deal. Thus far, my team is not finished with our project, but we are continuing through winter break. When we finish this project, the community will have knowledge about Lake Michigan, aquaponics, and hydroponics. 

          -- Kendal, Youth Water Website: SJs