Summer 2019
Public Policy Institute Insights
Friends --

This year is flying by! Summer is on the horizon and it's a good time to take stock of what we have achieved throughout the first half of 2019. We launched new activities -- such as a Spring Wellness Fair -- and are expanding current initiatives, including our professional and community training opportunities. Thanks to support from our partners and community members like you, we're able to creatively and effectively build a more equitable, healthy, and prosperous Milwaukee.

Happy Summer --
Kari Lerch
Deputy Director
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute
Perceptions of Poverty in the Cities and Suburbs
with Scott Allard
We enjoyed a frank discussion of the myths and realities of poverty in the suburbs and cities with Scott Allard, author of  Places in Need: The Changing Geography of Poverty , at West Allis City Hall on March 28. Community Advocates Public Policy Institute and the City of West Allis sponsored his presentation.

Allard’s research shows that there are more people in poverty in the suburbs than in our cities, although our stereotypes of poverty are tied to cities and people of color.

"I think the way we link place and race and poverty promotes bias in understandings of poverty," Allard said.
During Allard's presentation, participants broke into small groups to discuss questions raised by his research. They talked about the difficulty of finding funding to address basic needs in the suburbs, of finding common links between urban and rural communities, and of identifying resources in the suburbs with established connections. Afterwards, they signed up to connect with PPI's Senior Policy Advocate Julie Kerksick to continue working on poverty issues in our area.
Did you miss Allard's presentation?  You’ll find a recap and his slides on our blog.
Spring Wellness Fair Enlightened and Entertained
To mark Mental Health Month, on May 11 the Public Policy Institute and Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division organized a Spring Wellness Fair with demonstrations, a resource fair, raffles, and networking. Presentations included yoga with Denna Haslett of Grounded Soul Yoga; mindfulness with Ambrose WB of MISPIBO Fitness; line dancing with Mind, Body & Soul Urban Line Dancers, a lyric/poetry workshop with Joshua Jenkins from Safe & Sound; and martial arts with Frederick Coleman of Studio69. A dozen organizations provided information and resources to participants. "We really enjoyed meeting everyone who came and providing activities and resources that can help them maintain their mental health and wellness, from mindfulness and creativity exercises to yoga and line dancing," said Kari Lerch, PPI’s Deputy Director. "We tried to offer something for everyone to show that there’s no one way to achieve wellness."
2018 Was a Very Good Year
Our 2018 Year in Review is hot off the presses! Check out our recap of our 10th anniversary celebration with Richard Rothstein and Reggie Jackson, highlights of our Transitional Jobs and Smart Reentry work, and the many ways we’re helping to prevent substance abuse and misuse throughout our community. 
Celebrate Our Award-Winning Staff
It’s a great pleasure to announce that two of our staff members have been recognized as outstanding leaders. Conor Williams, PPI’s Economic and Policy Analyst, received the Distinguished Leadership Award from MICAH at its 2019 celebration on May 23, "We Still Have a Dream." At PPI, Conor organizes the Milwaukee Transitional Jobs Collaborative , the Healthy Workers, Healthy Wisconsin initiative, and the Milwaukee Reentry Council . He’s also helping to form Circles of Support for returning citizens and allied community members. Conor received this award "in recognition of the work he has done, both in his church and in the broader community, to move MICAH and the City of Milwaukee closer to the vision of the Beloved Community that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of so often," MICAH noted in its announcement.
In addition, Amanda Clark, a Public Ally, received second runner up for Youth Worker of the Year: Working with Youth Aged 13 to 18 from the Wisconsin Association of Child and Youth Care Professionals . She was nominated for her respectful, encouraging, and supportive approach with young people. While at PPI, Amanda has been very active with the youth in the Amani and Lindsay Heights neighborhoods as part of her work on the 53206 Drug-Free Communities Project . When her Public Ally placement ends this summer, she’ll join our staff as the full-time coordinator of the project.

"Conor and Amanda’s colleagues see every day how much time, talent, and effort they put into their work, so it’s wonderful to see that they’re recognized by others for their dedication to improving the lives our community members," said Kari Lerch, PPI’s Deputy Director. "All of us are looking forward to seeing what they achieve in the future."
Do You Want Smoke-Free Festivals?
It seems that people rarely agree on anything these days, but clean outdoor air appears to be the exception. When the City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance surveyed nearly 600 people, a whopping 86% said they wanted to enjoy smoke- and vape-free outdoor festivals, such as Summerfest, Irish Fest, Jazz in the Park, and PrideFest. Just 14% said they thought smoking should be allowed everywhere on festival grounds, while 44% said the entire grounds should be smoke free, and 42% said smoking and vaping should be limited to specific areas. In January, 18 organizations, including the Milwaukee Fire Department and the Milwaukee Health Department, submitted a letter to the city’s Department of Public Works urging them to consider designating the Henry Maier Festival Park, home to Summerfest and ethnic and cultural festivals, smoke- and vape-free. Learn more about smoke-free outdoor spaces on our blog.
Get Rid of Your Unwanted Meds!
One way to prevent substance abuse and misuse is to keep medication out of the wrong hands. That’s why the Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention (MCSAP) coalition emphasizes safe drug disposal as an effective prevention strategy. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, MCSAP will be among the many sponsors of a drug take-back event at Summit Place, 6737 W. Washington St., West Allis. Look for the white Skywalk Pharmacy tent!
Circles of Support Seek Participants
Circles of Support are expanding throughout Milwaukee for those touched by the criminal justice system. These circles explore hope, healing, and accountability in restorative justice-style gatherings that include returned citizens, community members, and a circle keeper. An evening meal is shared before the circle forms.

Circles of Support gather at:

  • Hephatha Lutheran Church, 2906 N. 18th St., Milwaukee
  • St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church, 1015 N. Ninth St., Milwaukee
  • Community Advocates, 728 N. James Lovell St., Milwaukee
  • Project RETURN, 2821 Vel R. Phillips Ave., Suite 223, Milwaukee
  • St. Vincent de Paul, WCTC Campus Building W, 892 Main St., Pewaukee

See the flyer below for details about times and dates.

In addition, a weekly Peer Support Circle gathers at Project RETURN every Monday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., and welcomes new participants whose lives have been impacted by incarceration and supervision.

Interested in joining a circle? Contact Amanda Smit at 414-374-8029 or 414-858-6885 or .
June Training Opportunities Announced
It's never too late to learn a new skill or expand your insights. That's why the Public Policy Institute is continually providing new training opportunities for youth workers, human services professionals, and community members from all walks of life.

Thanks to sponsorship by ReCAST MKE through the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention , we’re offering these no-cost training opportunities in June:

  • June 13: Building Prevention Programs: Learn how to build relationships with youth, manage classroom behaviors, and help youth build pro-social skills. Ephesians Missionary Baptist Church, 2412 N. Sixth St., Milwaukee. RSVP and details here.
  • June 17: Youth Reentry Support: Provides youth workers and community members the tools to support previously incarcerated youth and young adults who are reentering the community. Pathfinders, 4200 N. Holton St. #400, Milwaukee. RSVP and details here.
  • June 27: Suicide Prevention Training: Question, Persuade, Refer: To save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors, this two-hour session provides innovative, practical, and proven suicide prevention training. Pathfinders, 4200 N. Holton St. #400, Milwaukee. RSVP and details here.

Want to be the first to know about new training opportunities? Sign up for our email announcements at this link.
Community Advocates
2019 Board of Directors
President: Sheree Dallas Branch | Public Relations Consultant
Vice President: Jodi Wire | We Energies
Treasurer: Sandra Samse | Johnson Keland Management
Secretary: Bryan House | Foley & Lardner, LLP

Board Members
Marquette Baylor | Aurora Health Care
Anne DeLeo | Community Volunteer
Valerie Gabriel | Community Volunteer
Dr. Stephen Hargarten | Medical College of Wisconsin
Erin Henry | Northwestern Mutual
Betsy Hoylman | Northwestern Mutual
Gary Ingram | Igary Events
Moriah Iverson | Medical College of Wisconsin
Sharon Jordan | Direct Supply
Pamela Klein | Fresh Coast Partners, LLC
Jim Liedtke | Community Volunteer
Kate Venne | Brady Corporation
Lisa Kaiser | Community Advocates Public Policy Institute | 414-270-2999  | |