From “New grants in Green Bay to help teen mothers” — GREEN BAY- Green Bay Area School District and NWTC are working together to make sure teen moms graduate high school.

It’s an effort that may benefit the entire community.

Nineteen-year-old Augustina Medina says she wants to give her 18-month-old daughter Isabella the best life possible.

“When you get pregnant, you’re put in as you’re not going to graduate,” Medina said. “You’re not going to get far in life. And that always bugged me.”

Medina says she was supported by family and school counselors after giving birth.

But she still needed to step up her efforts to graduate from Green Bay Southwest High School.

In Wisconsin, nearly half of high school aged mothers do not graduate.

School social workers say one of the biggest barriers to not graduating high school as a teen parent is not know where to go for help. But two new grants are aimed at helping teen parents get their diplomas and go on to higher education.

The first grant: 200 thousand dollars from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It will provide additional academic support, career counseling, and parenting classes.

“We know that a really strong predictor of whether or not a child will grow up in poverty is if they are born to a mother who is a teen and one of the amazing things of the opportunity of this project is by getting more of our teen parents to the post-secondary level, we can potentially take two generations out of poverty,” said Green Bay West High School Social Worker Kim Schanock.

The second grant is from the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation Women’s Fund.

The organization won’t say how much it’s for.

The money will go toward a two year program which will directly connect NWTC counselors with pregnant high school students.

“How can you develop study skills and really learning about how to apply for financial aid, and how to fill out a college application,” said Amber Michaels, the students services manager for NWTC.

Medina now attends NWTC, studying business management.

She hopes other teen mothers will use the new resources in high school to find their own motivation, and provide a better life for their children.


From “Gateway Technical College offers support for military veterans” — By John Krerowicz – Russel Timms, who survived three tours of duty in Iraq, faced challenging Veterans Administration paperwork after he decided to return to college.

“If I had had to fill all that out on my own, it would have been a nightmare,” said the 31-year-old U.S. Army veteran from Kenosha.

Timms had help from counselors at Gateway Technical College, which began emphasizing veteran services in December when officials were considering how to serve students better, said Anne Witte, a student support counselor on the Elkhorn campus.

Timms graduated from Gateway in May with an associate degree in electrical engineering technology. He has received other degrees from Gateway, too. He plans to attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering this fall for a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

He said making the college attractive to veterans is a good idea.

“It’s nice to see fellow soldiers getting an education and bettering their lives,” he said. “It makes sense as there are quite a few veterans going to school there.”

There aren’t figures on the number of veterans attending Gateway, mainly because the application used statewide for the 16 Wisconsin technical colleges did not ask about military service, Witte said. That changed this past school year.

However, Witte did say Gateway figures showed 36 students received state financial aid benefits for veterans and 272 received federal benefits during the 2007-2008 school year. That’s jumped to 205 receiving state benefits and 491 with federal help for the 2012-2013 school year.

Gateway offers veterans help with financial aid, job-related matters and psychological issues, said Barbara Wagner, student adviser at the Burlington center.

Student veterans sometimes go through mental and other health issues such as trauma, loss and grief, as well as possibly difficult transitions into school settings, Wagner said.

Gateway has licensed counselors who can help with brief therapy and referrals for long-term therapy, she said.

“In many cases they’ve come from structured daily activities and now they have a lot more freedom to decide what they’re going to do,” Witte added. “That often can be culture shock.”

Veterans sometimes have concentration, memory and irritability problems affecting their education.

“Sometimes we see they have hypervigilance, a constant state of threat awareness, especially if they’ve seen combat, and that raises their stress levels,” she said. “We try to get them to lowering that threat level.”

Assisting veterans is a way to show appreciation for those who have served the country, Witte said.

“This is a benefit they’ve earned,” she said, adding, “Look what they do for us. It’s an awful lot, the sacrifices they make. We want them to know they’re appreciated. We owe them that.”

Services for military veterans include:

— lunch gatherings on topics such as finances, social media and employment, employers’ needs, interviewing skills, resumes.

— “red shirt Fridays,” where the clothing could be bought with lettering about Gateway supporting U.S. troops.

— a scholarship fundraiser — the first for veterans, called “Boots on the Ground” — drew in almost $625. Continuing veteran students can apply for the funds between late August and mid-October. The first veterans scholarship is to be awarded at the January 2014 Continuing Student Awards Ceremony.

— the Student Veterans of America Club, a national organization the school joined several months ago.

Veterans who want to consider attending Gateway can call 1-800-247 7122.

From “WCTC receives $30,000 mentoring grant” — Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) received a $31,349 grant from the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) to fund the college’s new Minority Peer Mentoring Program, which provides support to minority students through personal connections.

The grant allows WCTC to match 28 first-year students with 14 mentors; two students per mentor.

The college’s Multicultural Resource Center has designed the program to help new students adjust to the college environment and guide them during their initial year.

Peer mentors are minority students who have completed at least six credits, are knowledgeable about WCTC and are trained to assist students with college transitions.

“The Minority Peer Mentoring Program provides academic and personal support for participating students during the challenging first year of college. Students are more likely to remain in school until they graduate and are also more successful,” WCTC diversity coordinator Rolando DeLeón said.

Mentors will also provide service to students and the campus, develop organizational and leadership skills, increase self-awareness and practice critical life skills. Mentees improve self esteem and self confidence, gain academic support, garner tips for success and feel a stronger tie to the college.

“While nothing can replace good faculty mentoring, peer mentoring can contribute to the retention and graduation of our students in a number of ways,” DeLeón said.

The one-year grant is for the 2013-14 academic year.

From “The challenges of a child moving home” — Adulthood is an exciting time, but it can also come with challenges. If you have sent your children off to college or if a life situation squelched the plan of independence for your adult children, there is a chance they may return home for support during that time. Setting expectations and helping them gain financial support for independence can go miles for these so-called “boomerang kids.”

Priority number one is discussing household expectations and an idea of what the final outcome will look like.

“Always talk about future plans and bring it up early enough to plan accordingly,” says Dr. John Teske, a lead counselor clinician at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College with a doctorate in clinical psychology.

If your child is going to be graduating from college, determine if they plan to stay in that city or if they plan to move home. “If they are staying in their college town, make sure they think about what they are going to do for a job, how they will pay the bills, and if a roommate moves out how their housing will be maintained,” says Teske. As a parent, you can help your child stay independent by offering them any unneeded furnishings, helping introduce them how much it will cost to live and work out health care benefits through your own employment.

If your adult child will be moving back home, lay out the ground rules. Teske says topics such as what time you will be coming home if you head out for the day or night, who is allowed to come to the house to visit, what time other members of the household go to bed and how to respect that time, and in what ways financially they can contribute to the household operations.

“If your child is at home and not responsible for cleaning up, what will they do to make their contribution?” asks Teske. A good option might be to have the adult child shop for and prepare one meal a week for the family.

In addition to the food expenses, consider having your child contribute to a portion of the monthly bills. If they are working, whether full or part-time, determine a reasonable amount they could pay for rent. “Going over expenses is a teachable moment. Discuss the normal cost for a heating bill, water bill and cable bill,” says Teske.

From “Moraine Park celebrates the holidays by giving back” — At Moraine Park Technical College, students have been busy finishing up final projects, cramming for end-of-semester exams and registering for spring classes.

Despite their active schedules, many student clubs and organizations are finding time to make spirits a little brighter for families in need this holiday season.

■At the Fond du Lac campus, the Straight and Gay Alliance club helped Broken Bread with more than 900 families who registered to receive food for Thanksgiving. They assisted with registration, handed out turkeys and helped carry food to people’s cars.

■The Student Veteran’s Association is running a Christmas in a Shoebox campaign by packaging and mailing donated items to deployed troops.

■Moraine Park’s Cosmetology, Corrections, Radiography and Clinical Lab Technician clubs are all adopting families through the Salvation Army or collecting nonperishable food items for donation to a local food pantry.

■Staff and units of the college are donating items to support Elijah’s Mantle/Ebony Vision. This local organization supports at-risk minority youth ages 6-18 in the Fond du Lac area that are in need of clothing and shoes this holiday season.

■On all three Moraine Park campuses, the IT club is holding a hat and mitten drive and Phi Theta Kappa honor society is sponsoring a family on each campus by holding a food and gift drive.

Those interested in donating items or learning more about the holiday service projects should visit

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