Living Local tells the stories that connect us in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington & Ozaukee Counties through interviews and personal testimony. Hosted by United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County staff and donors, we cover topics ranging from fatherhood to homelessness, volunteering to school readiness…and everything in between. Our communities’ toughest issues affect all of us because we are all connected. Have a listen. Join us. Live United.
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Sheila Cochran addresses the crowd at United Way's 2017 Community Campaign Kickoff
October 12, 2017
One of the best parts about interviewing community leaders and partners for this podcast is hearing their origin story; how they got to where they are today, and what influences they experienced as a child that led them to their current values and beliefs.
October 5, 2017
Today’s podcast is hosted by Krystina Kohler, Financial Stability Portfolio Manager at United Way.
Designers from Project Runway's 15th season who will be featured at the Project ReUNITED event.
September 28, 2017
Fashion is powerful. While it may seem like a small detail, the right outfit or piece can increase confidence, boost professional success, and be that bit of motivation we all need to get out into the world and, as the kids say, #SLAY.
Guests at 2016 Project Homeless Connect.
September 26, 2017
To many outsiders, Milwaukee has two faces: one of privilege, and one of need.
As of the last count, nearly 1,400 people in Milwaukee are homeless and 1 in 3 live in poverty.
Tom Ellis (second from right) and the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center team.
September 21, 2017
Today on the podcast we continue our partnership with Ex Fabula, a local organization committed to strengthening community bonds through the art of storytelling, to bring some of their most compelling stories to you….and to learn a little more about the tellers behind these stories.
Be sure to listen to our interview with Ex Fabula alum Rissie Lundberg, who shared her story about being one of three generations of teachers.
September 14, 2017
The 53206 zip code in Milwaukee is the most incarcerated zip code in the US, with 62% of adult males having spent time in prison.
Rissie Lundberg with colleagues Mr. Timothy (left) and Miss Elizabeth.
August 30, 2017
Collaboration is what United Way is all about. Starting this month, we are proud to partner with Ex Fabula, a local organization committed to strengthening community bonds through the art of storytelling, to bring some of their most compelling stories to you….and to learn a little more about the tellers behind these stories.
August 22, 2017
Research has shown that, while breastfeeding has numerous benefits for both mom and baby, many women – particularly women of color – do not decide to breastfeed.
Candi Castleberry Singleton (L) and Darlene Slaughter
August 8, 2017
Diversity is a popular word these days. For most, when we hear the word diversity we tend to think of racial diversity. However, our guests today want us to expand our understanding of the word diversity as inclusive of all ages, abilities, religions, sexual orientations, backgrounds and, yes, races.
The Conversations Count team: Toni Gray (second from left), Nalani (second from front left), Riley (second from front right), and Kellie Tutkowski (second from right)
August 1, 2017
Did you feel like you “fit in” in high school?
This is a complicated question, and the answer can change depending on the day. Most teenagers experience at least a moment of self-doubt, of feeling different, of feeling that no one could possibly understand.
July 28, 2017
Today, we mark a couple of milestones for the Living Local podcast: Our one-year anniversary and our youngest (and cutest) guest to date! To celebrate one year of Living Local, we invited Tonda Thompson to join us again. Tonda was our very first interview in August of 2016, when she shared her journey from losing a child to working on the issue of infant mortality here at United Way. At the time, Tonda was finishing her tenure as a Public Ally with the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families (LIHF) Collaborative, funded by WPP, and was preparing to move on to another job. Today, Tonda is back at United Way, once again working with Lifecourse to reduce racial disparities in and prevent infant mortality in the city of Milwaukee.
July 20, 2017
CORRECTION: In the July 11th epiosde of Living Local, Shannon Reed's professional title was incorrect. Shannon is Director of Innovative Strategies for Boys and Men of Color at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
Milwaukee is among the top five cities in the nation in poverty as well as in the bottom five cities in Black male and female employment. Milwaukee is also the most segregated metropolitan city in America, leading to limited opportunities for some in comparison to others.
July 11, 2017
Fatherhood is powerful. Whether he is a biological father, a step-father, or simply a role model, having a man to look up to is critical to young men as they navigate the complications of life and growing up.
June 27, 2017
Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction is a growing public health concern in Wisconsin and across the country. In 2013, more Wisconsin residents died from drug overdose than motor vehicle accidents. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports that, in 2015, Wisconsin experienced 872 drug overdose deaths.
June 20, 2017
“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”
When William Wordsworth said that, he was talking about the art created by poets like Kavon Cortez-Jones.
Brad Fisher (center), Holly McCoy (second from right), and members of the YNPN MKE board at a fundraising event.
June 15, 2017
It’s graduation season and, for many young people, the time is right to explore available careers and find a satisfying and sustainable job. Each year, more and more emerging professionals choose careers that allow them to give back to their community. According to Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial survey, six in ten millennials chose their current employer because their role gives them a feeling of purpose. For many of these young people, that means a career in nonprofit work.
Tiffany Miller (L) and Megan McGee, reading UltraShorts while emceeing Ex Fabula’s New Year Spectacular in January (photo credit: Art Montes)
June 6, 2017
In our region, we hear a lot about what divides us. Our many differences can cause interpersonal conflict, mistrust, and fear. However, many of us learned from a young age to, when conflict arises or mistrust bubbles to the surface, take a moment to “walk in someone else’s shoes;” to consider the world from a different perspective.
Steven Daniels (far right) and Keziah Carter (near right) with Sharonda Phipps and LaTeff Alston, Boys & Girls Clubs Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program staff
June 1, 2017
What do you remember about your in-school sexual education class? Maybe you just remember feeling uncomfortable, or tuning out because you felt that you already knew everything you needed to know about sex.
May 17, 2017
Think about your group of friends. What drew you to these particular people? Often, friends are those we grew up around, went to school with, work with, or met through the pursuit of similar hobbies.
May 10, 2017
This episode is bittersweet: Mary Lou Young, who has served as president & CEO of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, will retire from her position after eight years of service.
May 2, 2017
Think back to when you were a teen. Would you say you were comfortable opening up to your doctor about sensitive topics like sexual health, mental health, or drug and alcohol use? Who didn’t cringe at the dreaded questions like “are you sexually active” or “could you be pregnant?” In fact, this uncomfortable feeling with telling your doctor the whole truth about your health may have even followed you into adulthood.
April 25, 2017
Remember those summers when you were too young for a job but too old to just hang around the house all day? What did you do to pass the time? Pre-teen Simmi Urbanek’s mom had an interesting solution: she dropped her two daughters off at their local United Way and said "find something to do!"
This began a long life of giving, volunteering, and advocacy for Simmi. After her first summer with United Way staffing charity root beer float stands, playing with kids at local agencies, and volunteering at a nonprofit coffee shop, Simmi stayed involved in volunteer activities through college.
April 19, 2017
Trigger Warning: This blog post and podcast contain recollections of and information about sexual assault.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men has been sexually assaulted…so why is it still so hard to talk about?
April 11, 2017
Trigger Warning: This blog post and podcast contain recollections of and information about sexual assault.
At the age of 21, Dawn Helmrich experienced a brutal sexual assault. This life-altering event had many negative outcomes for Dawn, including rampant victim blaming and lack of support during a traumatic experience on the witness stand. As a result of these experiences, Dawn has become one of Milwaukee’s most vocal advocates for victims of Sexual Assault through her leadership of the annual Denim Day. Each April, Denim Day brings awareness to sexual violence and helps end victim blaming.
April 4, 2017
“It came up casually in conversation. He died. What? No one thought that would be something I would have liked to know? It happened years ago, but to me it was like yesterday, every day. I relived the abuse daily. It affected so many facets of my life.”
March 28, 2017
What would happen if we threw our rules out the window and started from scratch?
This is the question Audra O’Connell asked her staff at Walker’s Point Youth and Family Center’s Emergency Shelter when she began her tenure as Executive Director in 2016. The shelter, which serves teens, had a list of rules governing everything from behavior to dress, but Audra did not see how these rules were helping impact the broader issue of youth homelessness in Milwaukee. In fact, 6 months after trying to run the shelter without rules such as “no baseball caps in the house,” Audra and her team found themselves serving more youth than ever before.
March 21, 2017
Problems. The ones most people don’t have the stomach for. The ones nobody talks about at cocktail parties. The ones that can’t be solved overnight. We go looking for them.
These are the words in United Way’s new credo for 2017, and they perfectly describe the issue of Infant Mortality. Milwaukee has one of the highest rates in the country, with Black babies dying at nearly three times the rate of White babies.
March 14, 2017
There are many ways to affect change in our community. Here at United Way, we raise funds and mobilize volunteers around our communities most difficult issues. In Madison at the Wisconsin State Legislature, Representative David Crowley works with his peers on both sides of the aisle to advocate for issues affecting an area of Milwaukee that is close to his heart: the near-North West side. Representative Crowley intimately understands this neighborhood – it is where he grew up playing on the playground near his Grandma and Uncle’s house, and where he now resides with his family.
March 7, 2017
What kind of Community do you want?
What is keeping us from making progress?
Who do you trust to take action?
These are some of the questions that the 330+ participants in United Way’s Community Conversations project answered in 2016. Participants from 70 zip codes, diverse in race and income level, and ranging in age from 12 to 95, shared their candid thoughts on what they see in their community when they walk out their front door every day. The 2016 Community Conversations year-end report was released on February 22 at United Way’s Annual Meeting.
February 28, 2017
Here at United Way, we recently said goodbye to Living Local co-producer Rebecca Schimke, who moved on to an excellent position with Palermo’s Pizza. In her honor, let’s revisit one of her favorite interviews from 2016.
This week we talk to two women who spend a majority of their time on the streets. They aren’t homeless but spend their time helping youth who may be experiencing homelessness and young people who need help finding resources or maybe just need a friend.
These two women are Shaquita and Adrienne. They are outreach specialists on the Milwaukee Street Beat team through Pathfinders and the Walker’s Point Youth & Family Center. Our conversation ranges from how they got the job to what some misconceptions may be about who they are working with.