Fresh Start Focus
May 2019

"OFS will help me reach my goals and get a job that will support me and my family in the future. "

- Jayquan, OFS Youth

Read Jayquan's
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.
Remembering Jack Osteraas
Founder of Operation Fresh Start

Jack Osteraas was the founder and original Executive Director of Operation Fresh Start 49 years ago. For those 49 years, Operation Fresh Start has been committed to helping disconnected youth turn their lives around. We believe in Fresh Starts and second chances in life. Jack had a vision that young people, given the tools, training and opportunity could succeed. 

We at Operation Fresh Start were honored to be able to host the Celebration of Life for Jack and his family  at our new home on Saturday, May 18. With many friends, family, OFS Staff and even some former Fresh Start Alum at his Celebration of Life, the impact Jack has had on this community was clearly seen by the sheer number in attendance, and was heard by the amazing stories told of his life.
Current Executive Director, Gregory Markle, put it perfectly by saying "Jack was a humble, caring person that was quick with a joke.  Through him, we realized just how vast an impact each of us can have on so many people just by following one idea or taking one action.  He will be deeply missed by us all at OFS and the community."

What an incredible legacy he created 49 years ago, that will live on forever in the hearts and hands of his family, friends, OFS Staff and the more than 8,000 young people of past and present that his vision has helped on the path to self-sufficiency. 

Thank you, Jack. Your legacy will live on through OFS.

incredible impact he had  on our community.

The Healing House

Public Dedication of the Healing House
May 4th, 2019
There have been hundreds of restoration and construction projects that Operation Fresh Start has worked on over the years, each one special and unique in its own way.  Madison Area Urban Ministry's (MUM) Healing House   is by far and away one of the most important and heart-felt projects our youth construction crews have ever worked on. 

The Healing House is a place where a homeless child or family member can go to recuperate after a surgery or stay in the hospital. This 8 bed facility will provide 24/7 recuperative care by medically trained staff and volunteers for up to 28 days. The Healing House will also provide clients with three meals a day, child care assistance and case management to end the cycle of homelessness. 

Operation Fresh Start was honored to be working with MUM in the process of helping to create Healing House.  Our young people had worked on the construction and remodel of the Healing House since November 1 st , 2018. During that time we have had over 45 young people and staff put in approximately 1,500 hours toward the completion of the renovations. 

The impact this involvement had on our young people was clearly shown when
 many showed up (on their day off) to the public dedication of Healing House on Saturday, May 4th. Our
Fresh Start Youth in attendance at the Healing House Public Dedication Event on May 4th
 young people who worked on this project can feel very proud of the long term impact they are making in the community. 

Operation Fresh Start prides itself on creating affordable housing for an under-served and most of the time forgotten about population in our community. For our young people to be able to lend assistance in this project means so much for not only our mission at Fresh Start, but it provides meaningful experience to those participants as they continue to pursue careers in the trades. 

The Healing House is truly the sort of community resource we need and Operation Fresh Start is honored to have assisted in its construction!


Operation Fresh Start has been serving Madison and Dane County disconnected youth for nearly 50 years. Since then, 8,000 young people have gone through
our programs and put their lives back on track. 
8,000! That number really shows the impact our programs have had on local youth.
In the past 5 years, monthly application totals have been coming in at a steady pace. In 2019,  OFS Legacy has increased the number applications by more than 60% compared to the prior 5 years. This increase is the result of a focused effort to expand outreach to schools and community partners who serve young adults, as well as the creation of a digital application available on our website. So far, this increase in applications has led to an increase in enrollments compared to prior years.  More and more young people are seeing the impact Operation Fresh Start programs are having and how it can transform their lives and put them on the path to self-sufficiency.

This increase in applications couldn't have come at a better time as the doors 
of  our new home at 2670 Milwaukee 
Street opened in January, 2019. With the completion of our new Education and Training Facility, funded through gifts from our community and built by Fresh Start Youth and volunteers, we look to engage the community in a broader conversation to determine the next level of partnerships and supports to fulfill the vision that EVERY youth is an asset in our community.

To prepare for this, OFS has engaged the community in what we call our Opportunity Roadmap assessment. In this robust assessment and gaps analysis, OFS is identifying barriers to success and gaps in service that are preventing young people from accessing the necessary tools and resources needed to become self-sufficient members of the community.

Learn more about our Opportunity Roadmap.

If you or someone you know is looking for a Fresh Start, visit our website to see which program is right for you! Or you can call us at 608-244-4721.

OFS Youth Reflection - Jayquan

When I was younger growing up, I thought I was going to have a wonderful life. I dreamed I could be the best basketball player in the world but let me tell you, with my attitude and often getting in trouble all the time it really wasn't looking good for me. So this is my story now and where I'm headed in the future.
I was born in Madison, WI. I'm the youngest out of the bunch. I have an older sister and brother. My sister is 26 and my brother is 19. When I was growing up they picked on me but it made me tougher and it was only that way when I was younger. When I got a little older, they tried to help me stay on track but I was hard headed and didn't listen.
My home elementary school was John Muir and the time I spent there I didn't mind going to school. I just didn't pay attention a lot in class like I did at recess. At recess, I played a lot of football and basketball because I was good at it. I made a lot of friends doing it. Middle school was a mix of good and bad. The good part about middle school was the club sports and I was really good at what I did. Plus, I got a lot of attention from it. At the same time in school, I was getting into fights and that caused me to get expelled. I spent my 7th grade year in an alternative school and I came back in 8th Grade.
8th grade I had a pretty good year. I didn't really get in trouble like that in 8th grade. I just did what I had to do to move on to the next grade. But I didn't even make it to school for 9th grade. I got locked up and I was going to school in jail. I was in jail from 9th to 11th grade, where I completed 15 credits towards graduation. 12th grade, I started Operation Fresh Start.
Now I would like to talk about the most influential person in my life, my grandpa. The person who influenced me was my grandpa, Johnny Harden. First, he always came to my basketball games. Sometimes he was hard on me for the stupid things I have done in my life time, but he was always there for me ten toes behind everything, and he's like that with all his grandkids.
Next I'd like to talk about the experience that changed my life. I broke the law and ended up in jail at Lincoln Hills. They had school for all of us that were there. I finally decided to pay attention and did a lot of my work. I learned how to stay to myself and I learned that jail wasn't for me. Now I work hard to stay out of trouble and stay focused.
Finally, I'd like to talk about my goals for the future. I'm glad to have found OFS. My goals here are to get my diploma and to keep doing a good job in conservation. My supervisor likes what I'm doing and supports me. OFS will help me reach my goals and get a job that will support me and my family in the future.
In summary, I told you about my life through 12th grade and about my influential person is in my life. I also told you about the experiences in my life that changed the course of my life. OFS will help me get my diploma and that will help me find a career in the future. I'm glad I found OFS and I plan to work hard to meet my goals here. That will prepare me for my career in the future.

Thank you for your support! 

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