CFSS Community Newsletter

A Service Learning Project

The Center for Self-Sufficiency hired 15 youth for the "Earn and Learn" program, which is a part of the Milwaukee's Summer Youth Employment Initiative.  The "Earn and Learn" job assignments lasted from June-August 2017. 

CFSS youth employment was notably unique. Unlike many of the other summer y outh employment placements that required youth to perform the traditional sum mer job s such as community clean up, gardening, and office work etc., the Center for Self-Sufficiency "Earn and Learn" program developed a service learning project. The project entailed youth creating a documentary that would serve to change the narrative and the belief systems of others as it relates to youth living within the 53206 zip code.

Over the past few years, 53206 has been portrayed in a negative light, especially in the media.  However, CFSS and the E&L youth workers endeavored to counter this narrative by highlighting youth in the community who strive to achieve success despite their challenging environments.  The Center for Self-Sufficiency partnered with 371 Productions to teach youth film  making ba sics and create a high quality professional documentary that would accomplish the narrative  changing g oal. 

  The Center for Self- Sufficien cy  not only allowed the E&L youth to have a job placement for the summer, but they also provided the youth with transferable skills that can be applied later in their lives.

The job placement lasted 6 weeks. Throughout this timeframe, the youth participated in several workshops with 371 Productions representatives, Colin Systma and Santana Wilson. During the first week, CFSS youth supervisors facilitated workshops on team and relationship building activities, career readiness, and expectations of a workplace.  In week 2, the youth began the ir engagemen t with 371 Productions-they introduced the youth to videography, production and story development. Systma and Wilson presented various  documentarie
s for discussion to give youth an idea of what a documentary does as well as what goes in to the creation of a documentary. 

Subsequently in week 3, the workshop consisted of story producing and outreach. The youth learned about the responsibilities related to filming and were assigned roles for the documentary.  371 Productions trained the youth and imparted knowledge about impact producing, distribution, engagement, interviewing, and film editing.

By week 4, the youth were motivated, committed, and excited about their roles and responsibilities as producers and editors. The youth reveled in learning about editing and how to use the equipment.  Systma and Wilson worked with youth on lighting and contrast, and  how to use the video camera.  

The E&L youth had the opportunity to put that knowledge into action.  They conducted interviews at a Sherman Park gathering as a test run; they also interviewed several known community leaders. Each of the youth had the opportunity to display what they had learned during their workshop trainings.

During week 5 the youth reviewed the footage and began to edit and critique the product from the test run wherein they gave up an entire Saturday to fulfill the mission. BY week 6, the youth had developed questions for their final product. Youth recruited several individuals in the community who had the opportunity to answer questions. Interviewees were asked questions related to their lives and how they maintain their motivation to stay positive in spite of what is going on around them.

One of the "Earn and Learn" youth workers, Terrell Taylor expressed his appreciation for the job. He shared that he would rather work this job than hang out on the streets. Another  youth worker, Jordan Robinson wrote a letter of gratitude to the staff and praised each of them for the way in which they helped him develop throughout his employment and was grateful for the relationships that he built with each of the staff individually.

Overall, the Center for Self-Sufficiency E&L youth employment was a success. The youth have walked away with skill-sets that will be useful and applicable for a lifetime.  This job placement allowed them to work, learn, and have fun while connecting with adults in a working environment. Their documentary will definitely shed some light with the hopes of changing the narrative that it's not all bad in 53206. The overarching take away from this experience was that there is more good than bad in this community!

The documentary project was a complete success thanks to the "Earn and Learn" youth, 371 Productions, and the Center for Self-Sufficiency dedicated staff. Stay tuned for its premiere in the near future. 
Sex Talk - The Center for Self-Sufficiency Encourages Youth To Pursue Good Decision-Making Skills 

Health and Human Services Grant to Provide Sexual Risk Avoidance Education to Milwaukee Youth
Milwaukee - November 8, 2017 - The Center for Self-Sufficiency (CFSS) announced today that it is the recipient of funding for a two-year, $899,003, Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program.  CFSS will use funds to deliver abstinence, healthy relationship, and dating violence prevention education to high-risk youth over the two year period.  Services are designed to teach students about the importance of positive relationships and why it is beneficial to take time to get know and love oneself as well as how to develop and set boundaries.
Visit our website, to support this and other CFSS programs and services.

The Center for Self-Sufficiency's mission is to provide a foundation for people to actualize their hope and motivation to access a good life. The organization promotes positive family structures in Milwaukee by fostering healthy family relationships, reducing teen pregnancy and providing access to jobs and support services that enable low-income families to build economic stability.

Working to Reduce the Opioid Epidemic

The Center for Self-Sufficiency has teamed up with Milwaukee County and Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility to help combat the current Opioid epidemic that Milwaukee is facing.  The Milwaukee Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT) Partnership Program is expected to reduce recidivism and Opioid addiction by providing a targeted intervention of criminogenic needs to Opioid-addicted offenders releasing into community supervision in Milwaukee County. The program relies on the coordinated support of multiple organizations and funding streams to provide offenders with medication assisted treatment in conjunction with supportive recovery programs to reduce the physical craving of addiction while addressing the psycho-social roots of addiction.

Participant's eligibility is limited to offenders placed in the Alternative to Revocation (ATR) program at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF).  Participation for Vivitrol is voluntary. Once participants pass a medical and psychological evaluation they will be transported to First Step upon initial release from MSDF for their first Vivitrol injection.  Participants will then be connected with their assigned Recovery Support Coordinator (RSC) who will then assist with medical insurance, if needed, and a treatment provider which is mandatory.

The CPOP Member Services Coordinator provides community and social support to enhance stability and encourage therapy participation; provide extra support between the days the shot begins to wear off.  Since the start of the program there have been zero (0) overdoses for those who have participated in the program.  The program has shown to be a huge success.

Who's Hungry??

Center for Self-Sufficiency's Adult Services staff took time out to volunteer with The Salvation Army's "Feed the Kids" program. The program began in 1990 and over the years, volunteers have made more than two million mea ls that have been delivered to hungry children. Monday - Friday, for 10 weeks each summer The Salvation Army vans bring lunches to neighborhoods, parks and street corners serving more than 1,300 lunches  a day. When school is out for the summer many children no longer have access to a nutritious meal. The Feed the Kids is a summer meal program designed to meet the needs of hungry children in Milwaukee's most impoverished neighborhoods by providing them a nutritious meal during  those summer months. 

Our adult services 
staff works with men who are incarcerated in the Wisconsin  Prison system.   Some of their children  take advantage of this meal program.   When a father is incarcerated he is removed from not only the home, but also from the children's live s.  In most instances his absence puts a  strain on the family's income.   As an agency the Cent er for Self-Sufficiency is working to provide more of a h olistic approach to assisting not  only our members, but their families as well.  After all having a strong family supp ort is one less barrier that will stand in their way to success and their ability to ac cess a good life.


 Lindsay Krchma
Member Services Coordinator

They say that variety is the spice of life.  Member Services Coordinator Lindsay Krchma brings her extensive experience in a variety of life pursuits and she shares it with our members.
Growing up in Milwaukee, Lindsay was educated in Montessori schools that provided a setting focused on learning about the world through scientific observations. It piqued her early interest in the environment, recycling and her general love of the outdoors.  As she grew up and started working, her diverse interests led her to work as a kayaking tour guide, a driver of horse drawn carriages, a veterinary clinic assistant and she even worked on a dairy farm (she knows how to milk cows!)

At one point in her educational pursuits, Lindsay was planning to become a police officer or a detective, but as she delved deeper into her studies, she was drawn to the social work aspects she found in her sociology classes.  She received both a Bachelor's and Master's in Criminal Justice from UW-Milwaukee.   While in college, she completed internships as an Assistant to the Deputy Medical Examiner and Assistant in the Office of the State Public Defender.  Lindsay then joined the Peace Corps where she taught English and volunteered at a zoo in Ukraine.

Lindsay joined CFSS in May, 2014 when she was hired as a FExO Case Manager.  Now, working as a Member Services Coordinator in our Windows to Work (W2W) program, Lindsay works closely with Department of Corrections (DOC) staff to ensure our members have a case management plan prior to their release and that our members are aware of and have access to all the community resources available to aid them in their journey moving towards self-sufficiency.  

On a "typical" day, Lindsay can be found supporting our members by assisting them with applying to school, writing a resume, obtaining suitable interviewing attire, preparing for a driving test/license, or dealing with the trauma associated with incarceration.  Life can feel very hectic, scary and out of control for men leaving prison, especially if they don't have strong family support systems.  Lindsay believes that organization is the key to encouraging our members.  She ensures that everyone she supports in the W2W program has a professional resume, creates a plan for success and is ready to continue their journey to the good life. 

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