Fresh Start Focus
June 2019

"Operation Fresh Start has changed my life and helped me become a better person, and taught me a lot of things. "

- Damion, OFS Youth
Read Damion'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.
Former OFS Participant 
Signs Letter of Intent with Ideal Builders

It's a well-known tradition to celebrate a youth athlete's future with a letter of intent signing with their future college. No doubt young athletes who work extremely hard to train and perfect their craft to compete at the next level deserve a day and ceremonial opportunity to celebrate that hard work. But why just athletes? Why not do the same for our youth working in the trades?

That's the question Zimmerman posed to himself as he came up with the idea to have a ceremony celebrating a young person signing his letter of
intent in  being selected & joining the Carpenters Local 314  Apprenticeship Program. Tony joined Ideal  Builders six months ago as a field intern, after completing his program at OFS.

Tony's signing day was celebrated with Fresh Start staff and participants in attendance. With a decked out backdrop and a proud look on his face,  Tony was able to listen to several speakers from OFS talk about his growth  and realizing the potential we all knew he had. 

This really was a big step in Tony's life and we couldn't be more proud of him and his hard work!

Beloved OFS Teacher Retires

Operation Fresh Start is saying goodbye to an amazing teacher and mentor,  Gary Cyrus, as he retires after a long and illustrious career as an educator. Gary has been teaching kids for longer than many of us have been alive. When Gary decided to retire for the first time around a decade ago, he found his purpose  to be there for young struggling students was still something he could provide. 
Luckily for us, when Gary came out of retirement 8 years ago  he decided to  join Operation Fresh Start  and has been a valued teacher and friend to all of us ever since.
 Throughout his teaching career he has touched
 thousands of lives with his passion, patience, quick whit, and effective teaching style, all of which will forever be remembered as something we strive for at OFS.

On his last day, OFS staff and participants joined to say thank you. Several staff members and even students spoke about the immense impact Gary has had on OFS.

Thank you for your service to our young people, Gary. Your presence and passion will be missed here at Fresh Start!

Music Makes a Difference
Music M akes a Difference! (MMAD) and Operation Fresh Start are partnering up  for a concert, and we want you to join us! On July 19, MMAD will host a concert with Jack Williams, one of the most dynamic performers in contemporary folk at Threshold, all to benefit Operation Fresh Start.  
Music Makes a Difference! was founded by Bill Zorr in early 2017. Bill was working regularly at a homeless shelter and supporting other organizations
Bill Zorr
 to help those in need, but felt he could do more. Bill loves music and  noticed how people of  different backgrounds enjoyed musical events TOGETHER. So, it dawned on him to combine his passion for music with his passion for charitable causes and Music Makes a Difference! was born.
MMAD is a nonprofit and is staffed all by volunteers dedicated to supporting musicians with paid performances in venues around Madison and the surrounding area. MMAD then donates contributions it receives to local charitable organizations. This time, Operation Fresh Start is lucky enough to be that organization!
Come down to Threshold on July 19 to see the show & support the cause. 
This show is co-sponsored by Music Makes a Difference, Threshold and The Wisconsin Room. 
For more information on the event, see the performers and timeline below, check out the MMAD event page on their website, and their Facebook Event page . Like OFS and MMAD on Facebook and share  with your friends & family!
          • Tickets: $15
          • 6:00 pm - Doors Open - Arrive early to socialize. Beverages (beer, wine) and snacks provided for donations which will also support Operation Fresh Start!
          • 7:00 pm - Opening Act - Wisconsin's Kari Arnett
          • 7:45 - 9:00 pm - Headliner - Jack Williams
We thank MMAD for their amazing work in our community and for believing in a fresh start for our youth!
OFS Wish List Items

OFS Youth Reflection - Damion

This is the story of my life. I've had successes in my life and I've made some poor decisions but I want to make changes to get my diploma and education or training to get a good job. OFS will help me do what I need to achieve these goals. My hope for the future is a career in basketball. To begin the process of self-reflection I will tell the story of where I started and the experiences and events that led me to where I am today.

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I live with my Grandmother and I have two older siblings. I moved to Madison when I was five years old and I started elementary school in Madison at Leopold Elementary. I liked my teachers and I was good at reading. I had a challenge with math in 6 th grade when I started Cherokee Middle School. I liked the environment and the staff and students. Math was still a challenge for me in middle school but it started to become easier as I progressed. In 9 th grade I started West High School where I liked the size of the school, and the teachers. I also liked my History classes but Algebra was a challenge for me.

The beginning of my senior year my case manager told me I didn't have enough credits to graduate. Then he told me about the OFS program. I was accepted and I started three weeks ago and am looking forward to work hard to get my diploma.
Now I am going to tell about the most influential person in my life, my Grandmother. She has helped me stay focused and achieve my goals in life. When I talked to her about OFS she was on board and encouraged me to do it. I know she would support me and help me through it.

Next I want to talk about the experience that changed my life when my mother suddenly died in 2015 while I was in middle school. I was really close to her and that summer was really hard. Then I moved in with my Grandmother after. I worked harder in school knowing my mom would want me to. I talked to my Grandmother a lot more and I expanded my relationship with her. I'm very grateful to have my Grandmother and my siblings support me through everything. Losing my mom made me look at life better and become more mature. I turned my anger inward and used it to motivate me. I'm proud of myself and all that I've accomplished.
I feel that I've achieved most of my goals here at Operation Fresh Start, I plan to go to college very soon, and my family has been very supportive through all of it. My relationship has greatly improved with my 

Grandmother and she's been with me every step of the way and I can't thank her enough. One more goal I have in mind is I want to get a good paying job so I can support my family and be successful. Operation Fresh Start has changed my life and helped me become a better person, and taught me a lot of things.

Finally, I'd like to talk about my goals for the future. After OFS I will work until I get my diploma and CPR, and OSHA. I'm also on the conservation Crew and we will learn what jobs I could have after OFS. After OFS I hope to go to college to achieve my dream of technical Engineering. OFS has given me the work ethic I needed to get my diploma and I even earn money when I work at OFS. I also get a lot of advice on how to achieve my goals. The values that are important to me are to get a good paying job and be able to support myself and my family. These are my goals for the future at OFS and after. OFS will provide me a good path and I'm going to work hard to meet my goals.

Thank you for your support! 

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