Fresh Start Focus
February 2019

" I found OFS, the best schooling set up for me, surrounded by my kind of people, leading me into the career I already wanted to pursue."
- Will, OFS Youth

Read Will' s Youth
Reflection  Below


Thank you for taking the time to read
our monthly newsletter.

Our Mission: Operation Fresh Start provides disconnected youth a path to self-sufficiency.
OFS Officially has a New Home!

OFS has moved into our brand new home at 2670 Milwaukee Street!  Moving day could not have gone any smoother and it was all thanks to our hard working and dedicated youth and staff. Big shout out to Gorilla Movers as well for generously donating a moving truck and labor for our big day!

This marks the end of a period of hard work and dedication by our youth as well as the amazing support from the community at large. 
It is the beginning of a new era for Operation Fresh Start!

If you haven't already, please update your records to reflect our new address:

Operation Fresh Start
2670 Milwaukee Street
Madison, WI. 53704

We are truly grateful to our community for helping 
us  reach this incredible milestone. 

For this, we thank you!


Beginning Spring 2019, Operation Fresh Start's STRIVE program for 17 to 24  year  
 old high school graduates, will offer a 6-week Nursing Assistance Program, in a partnership with Madison College, WorkSmart Network and the City of Madison. During that time, participants will complete a rigorous 120-hour program, which consists of classroom, lab and clinical hours.

Benefits of participating in this program are:
  • All course materials are paid for, including books, uniform and licensure exam
  • Receive continual support as part of a select group of OFS STRIVE participants
  • Get job leads help in applying, and continuing support in their new job

We are currently recruiting for this healthcare program and spots are limited, so don't delay! To participate in the STRIVE Healthcare Program, participants need to meet eligibility requirements and can start the process by following this link: or by going to the Operation Fresh Start website and completing a STRIVE interest form, either electronically or paper version.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Jasmine Banks, STRIVE Coordinator, at 608-244-4721 or by email at

MLK Day of Service

On January 21, youth, staff, board members, and OFS supporters came together at 2670 Milwaukee Street for one final service day before the big   move. We were thrilled to have representation from so many in the community that supported OFS during the Building Futures Campaign. 
Volunteers from organizations such as Ascendium (formerly Great Lakes Higher Education Corp), Hausmann-Johnson Insurance, DaneNet, and a few others were in attendance and ready to work. Final touches such as cleaning and painting were main tasks for volunteers. DaneNet provided 7 volunteer IT members to assist in setting up staff computers throughout the building. 

In total, we had close to  60 volunteers that day. 
What an amazing turnout it was!

The construction of our new space was truly a community effort.  From start to finish we received so much support from our community and for that 
we thank you! 

OFS Youth Reflection

        My self-reflection is a story of my most challenging and positive impacts, changes I've had to make, and changes I've had to face in the past 18 years. I was born in August 2000 at St. Mary's hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. I was born a very healthy baby with no complications or preexisting conditions. Ever since I could remember, my parents have both worked very hard but especially my dad. My dad has always had multiple hard labor jobs that require a lot of his time and attention. This kept us from traveling a lot and overall time together but, it showed me at a very young age that hard work is appreciated and required if you want your own things. I started elementary school at Charles Lindbergh where I was, and always have been the oldest. My birthday is "late" or in other words, right on the cutoff of summer when school starts, so it was just a matter of whether my mom wanted to start me as the youngest or the oldest.

           Lindbergh was overall a pretty good school, I made a lot of friends that I am still friends with and consider very close to this day. I had pretty okay teachers. It was more about how you interacted with others in elementary that was looked at by the teachers rather than academics and skills. I never had a problem with my peers and even remember learning a lot of my core social skills from really good teachers in Lindbergh.
            Moving to middle school at Black Hawk I struggled a bit more due to just not liking how the education plan was laid out. I felt like the transition was pretty rough due to how Lindbergh was more about socializing and getting along with everyone and Black Hawk was much more concerned about finishing packets and getting from one lesson to the next. Although I say Lindbergh was a pretty good school for finding friends, it may not have been the best at preparing kids for what middle school, or just school in general would be like. I remember really struggling with how much homework was assigned and trying to juggle it in with my wrestling, football, friends etc. I also had a hard time dealing with teachers for the first time in middle school. We ended up butting heads because I loved to argue with teachers I disagreed with. I was very poor at expressing any thoughts that were different positively. Therefore, I started to become a handful and developed bad habits and relationships with my teachers. By the time I was in my 3 rd and last year of middle school it was time for me to move to something different. Everyone knew me as the class clown and troublemaker and I could tell people were sick of it, having this new changing attitude made me very optimistic along with a new set of teachers and new school day layout.

             Nonetheless, the exact same problems occurred not too long after I started at East. Not to push my problems/altercations on anything or anyone else, but four out of my seven freshman year teachers were coming from an online schooling curriculum or it was their first year head teaching not as an assistant. This made the atmosphere very sloppy and hard to concentrate on any curriculum rather than behavior. After year one of public high school, one year of online school, and one year of alternative school. I knew I had to do something different.

I found OFS, the best schooling set up for me, surrounded by my kind of people, leading me into the career I already wanted to pursue. I started my term at OFS early April 2018. I started with a pretty good outlook knowing what I'd be doing. It quickly turned out to be one of the best, if not the best school I've ever attended. I got a whole new set up of help from a whole new crew of people with different goals and outlooks for me. I am able to go to school and work towards my diploma.
          It is structured just like work, or as if I were doing an internship for a trade. I wake up every morning and it's my responsibility to be in uniform, ready to work, and in my van that leaves for site. More than anything else I've gotten from the program is good advice. Going into OFS I had the wrong idea about a lot of things I thought I had figured out. I was planning on spending chunks of hard earned cash on stupid things that I had to second guess when I started talking with more matured people that challenged my thinking.
           I don't think I could have gotten a better assigned supervisor. My supervisor is Chris Brown. Chris showed me and our crew an array of different sides and adjustments he makes and how easy it is to overcome and adapt. Just in the short time being here, I've seen Chris come into work sick, I've seen him come in exhausted with no sleep, and the list goes on. Chris pulls through, and he makes it a point to us. I genuinely believe it's Chris's presence, work ethic, and attitude that keeps our group so eager and take pride in our projects. I am very thankful for the time/experience spent at OFS and actually finding what I had been looking for in a school. I think this was a really good final step to me being as ready as I can be for the real world and what life as an adult will really be like.
           I plan on working off the rest of my hundred hours or so here at OFS, and then start to venture out, and travel. I'm really into botany so I hope to have some time to see if there are any courses or cheap classes I could get into some time here in the near future, maybe see if there are any good opportunities out there I could take advantage of. I just know after the eighteen years of battling with homework, teachers, headaches and other great perks that come along with school, I don't see myself hopping right back into a classroom. Some things I do see myself doing more now is self-evaluating, second guessing decisions a lot more, and being cautious to what the real world as an adult is actually like. After eighteen years of life, I feel like it has just been years of overfilled thinking, anxious worrying, and an uphill battle vs schoolwork and trying to find the right program that could get me to a valid diploma. I am just thankful that in the past six, to twelve months, I've been able to find the place I needed and have been able to really work on myself and find people/connections that really care about me and want to see me do my best. I'm sure it seems as though I've made school my whole life, or focal point, and I think there's a reason. School has always been one of my few, but biggest challenges. It has felt like a long uphill fight and I am so proud to be almost done and start expanding my opportunities.

Thank you for your support! 

Operation Fresh Start is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.