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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Heroes of the Week: COA Staff and Volunteers

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Founded in 1906, the nonprofit Children’s Outing Association (COA) serves Milwaukee children and families by offering educational and development programming throughout the year at its youth and community centers and at 22 additional locations throughout the city. COA is one of six National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited child care facilities in Milwaukee and has a five-star rating from the Department of Children and Families’ YoungStar program. Some of the programming offered includes early childhood education, family support services, camping opportunities, youth development services and community services. The Riverwest Center provides year-round car seat installation instruction and gives away child safety seats free of charge at its summer Car Seat Safety Fair. Also of note is the Riverwest Center and Goldin Center’s pre-teen and teen after-school drop-in program, which serves about 1,350 kids ages 7-18 each year and includes creative, physical and educational activities. COA’s services are available to everyone regardless of ability to pay and more than 150 volunteers contribute time to the nonprofit regularly.

“We don’t focus on the deficits and what our participants are lacking,” says Christine Sweeney, COA’s development and public relations director. “We think that everybody brings skills and experience, great things that we can use to help them grow in self-sufficiency, achieve their goals and just have stronger, healthier families. The holistic family-centered approach is core to our programming here.”

COA Youth and Family Centers is always seeking volunteers and donations. Currently on the nonprofit’s wish list are backpacks, school supplies, computers, musical instruments, coffee, a shuttle bus or van for youth field trips and art and craft supplies. To learn more about volunteering or donating, contact Laura Lysaght at 414-263-8383 ext. 119 or llysaght@coa-yfc.org. For more information about COA, visit coa-yfc.org.