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Holly's Community Highlights


Children's Dyslexia Center of Upper Wisconsin
"The Children's Dyslexia Center of Upper Wisconsin is a locally funded, nonprofit organization that provides multisensory, direct-instruction tutoring services to children 18 years and younger who struggle with the challenges of dyslexia at no cost to the families," said the Center Director of the Children's Dyslexia Center of Upper Wisconsin, Tammy Tillotson.

Having only been open for about two years, The Children's Dyslexia Center of Upper Wisconsin is a 100 percent locally funded nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free tutoring to children who struggle with reading due to dyslexia. "Dyslexia, which is a language-based learning disability, affects as many as 1 in 5 people," said Tillotson. Read More...


Adventure Girls- An After-School Program at Longfellow Elementary School
Longfellow Elementary is unique to the Eau Claire area in that the majority of students attending the school are below the poverty line. 82 percent of children are able to receive free or reduced lunch. Because of this, Sarah Duerre and Carrie Gee of Longfellow Elementary School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin created a free program for fifth graders nearly seven years ago called Adventure Girls. Adventure Girls' purpose was to generate opportunities for young girls at Longfellow who might not otherwise have resources to participate in other school activities. Duerre and Gee decided to target these students through an after-school-program designed in developing self-esteem, team building, and leadership skills.

All 5th grade girls are able to join the organization. In addition to the various "adventures," students get the opportunity to participate in an annual Puddle Jump 5K fundraiser, horseback riding at Trinity Equestrian, and each student also gets a year-long membership to the YMCA. Read More...  


The American Red Cross- World's Largest Volunteer Network
Did you know thatthe American Red Cross is part of the world's largest volunteer network found in over 187 countries across the globe? As such, The American Red Cross is almost exclusively run by unpaid community members. According to the Regional Volunteer Coordinator for the American Red CrossWestern Wisconsin Region, Linda Soltis-Schroeder shared a multitude of local service-learning and volunteer opportunities that are available today!

Schroeder discussed that the main opening for student service-learning volunteers is in the Red Cross Preparedness Education program. This is where students have the opportunity to meet with local schools, churches and organizations to teach them one of three classes: "Masters of Disasters," "Preventing Trips and Falls," and "Be Red Cross Ready." Read More...


Habitat for Humanity-Building Homes, Building Families!
To all you handymen (and women) out there! Are you someone who has experience in building or working on homes and landscape? You can get the proper training and fulfilling experience from the Chippewa Valley Habitat for Humanity. Get your volunteer or service-learning hours by building adequate, affordable shelter to help eliminate substandard housing in your local community.

Habitat for Humanity is a "nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization," dedicated to building housing and continuously working towards eliminating homelessness worldwide. President John Urice of the Chippewa Valley chapter of Habitat for Humanity focuses on an area within 50 miles of the Eau Claire area. "We have what we call 'primary builds,' those are done mostly. Read More...


American Cancer Society – Join the Fight Against Cancer
"The American Cancer Society listens, shares, heals, and helps nurture a spirit of hope and a culture of caring through voluntarism." If you are looking for a volunteer or internship opportunity that you can believe in, American Cancer Society is the place for you. Located just three-and-a-half miles from UW-Eau Claire, American Cancer Society has the perfect short term service-learning or long term internship opportunity available.

I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with Joe Lustek, Community Relations Staff Partner and coordinator for several Relay for Life events including: Eau Claire County, UW-Eau Claire, Trempealeau County and Buffalo-Pepin County, and his coworker Robyn Schultz, administrative support for the office. They each shared with me their volunteer and internship needs at the American Cancer Society office. Read More...

Phoenix Garden

Phoenix Garden - Improving community through gardening.
To all you green thumbs out there! Are you someone who has a passion for gardening and harvesting, but don't have the resources for doing so? Maybe you are a student on campus or someone in a rental complex who doesn't have a backyard to grow your own garden? Well, Phoenix Garden is here to help by providing individuals of all ages the opportunity to plant seeds, watch them grow, and really get your hands dirty. They want all green thumbs to have the opportunity to garden, so their main goal is to "reconnect people to land, community and each other, with a strong emphasis on reaching out to low-income families."  Read More...


Sojourner House - Open Doors, Open Hearts - Serving All...
As I walked in the doors of Sojourner House last week, I was greeted by their friendly director who was excited to share with me what the organization does and given a tour of their facility. Sojourner House is a community homeless shelter in downtown Eau Claire that has a mission to "provide a safe, clean place for single men and women, and to accept and encourage their ambitions or hopes; while continuing their main goal of ensuring guests personal dignity, safety and respect." Read More...


Girls on the Run Eau Claire County -
Inspiring girls to be happy & healthy.
Hey girls! Do you ever look back on your middle school and high school days and remember a time when someone put you down or hurt your feelings? Maybe you had days where your confidence was low and you didn't feel great about yourself. Did you ever find yourself looking at other girls in school, wishing you could be more like them?

Well those memories aren't okay, and that is what the organization—Girls on the Run—is trying to prevent girls in 3-5 grade from feeling. Girls on the Run is an organization that consists of about 200 councils found throughout the country; one of those councils located in Eau Claire County. The organization's mission is, "To inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running."

4-H Youth Development

4-H Youth Development Program -
Where youth learn life skills...
"You don't need to live on a farm; 4-H is not cows and corn!"
This is a common misconception that UW-Extension hears all too often about their 4-H Development Program, but it is so much more than that! The 4-H Development Program is about teaching kids, grades K-13, experiential, hands-on learning, with their mission being to "integrate research, education, and community-based partnerships, enabling youth to learn and practice skills to be productive citizens." UW-Extension has offices in every county, with one of them being located in Altoona, WI. Within their Altoona office, there are various departments that include: horticulture, agriculture, family living, 4-H development, nutrition education, and they also have a broadband educator. Read More...

FC The Log Cabin

Fall Creek Historical Society -
Where history lives on...
Back in 1976, Fall Creek Historical Society was founded by a group of dedicated individuals who wanted to preserve the history of Fall Creek. At that time, they had only one small log cabin that served as both their museum and work place. Another museum building was built in 1999. In addition to that, they also added Fall Creek's original jail. The historical Menge House was added in 2010. Today the museum buildings are open to the public on summer weekends during set hours, and individuals and groups can schedule appointments to ask questions or be given tours at any time during the year. Read More...

Bolton Refuge

Bolton Refuge House -
Impacting Lives Everyday
Have you ever known someone who's been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault? Or maybe you have been a victim and were unsure of where to turn? Well, good news…there is hope for anyone who has ever experienced this or may be experiencing it now—Bolton Refuge House. The mission at Bolton Refuge House is "to offer safety, support, education and other services, skills or alternatives that will empower victims and enhance the safety and well-being of domestic violence and/or sexual assault survivors by specifically addressing their needs on an individual and community basis." But they need volunteers!  Read More...

Eau Claire Children's Museum

Eau Claire Children's Museum
A place to see, touch, learn grow.
Years ago, a little girl and her father were visiting the Minneapolis Children's Museum. The little girl loved it so much! At the end of the day she turned to her father and said, "Dad! Why don't we have one of these?" Her father went straight to work creating a kid-friendly environment, and three years later Eau Claire had its own children's museum. As it says on their website, "The Children's Museum of Eau Claire is an interactive environment for children and their grown-ups that inspires imagination, discovery, creativity, and the love of learning." I couldn't agree more with this statement. Read More...


Oak Gardens Assisted Living Concepts - Brightening lives daily.
I'm sure there are students out there who think they are going to do their 30 hours of service-learning and then they're done. They see it as a requirement instead of something that could be inspirational or beneficial, where future careers are concerned. Well, this story tells about how service-learning is by far more than just a requirement and how it truly can lead into something much more than what you might have initially anticipated. Read More...


Eau Claire Cty. Humane Assoc. - Be a hero today!
Walking into the Eau Claire Humane Association office was a very welcoming experience. Not only was I met with smiles by the friendly staff, but I was also warmly welcomed by some of their fuzzy, four-legged friends! The humane association's mission statement focuses on "being a voice for all animals by providing education, resources and support for the community, compassionate care for homeless animals until they can be placed in forever homes, and coordination with other organizations to promote animal welfare." But in order to keep providing this special care to animals, they need the help of volunteers like you.

Click here to see list of volunteer opportunities at Eau Claire Cty. Humane Assoc.


Wisconsin Youth Success Program (WYSP)
"I am a good sport at all times and conduct myself with decency and honesty. I do my best to get along with others and have pride in myself. I put forth my best effort in all competition and always compete fairly"—Creed of Wisconsin Youth Success Program (WYSP). For the past 32 summers, WYSP has been teaching kids this important concept along with other life skills focused on athletics, leadership, health and academics. Each summer these kids are brought together at UW-Eau Claire to participate in a variety of activities, form lifelong friendships, learn how to participate in group activities, and enjoy their summer break outside in the sunshine.

Sacred Heart Logo

Sacred Heart Hospital is a Catholic healthcare organization that is one of thirteen hospitals under the Hospital Sisters Health System.They have 5 hospitals located in Wisconsin and 8 in southern Illinois.Because of their widespread network, they offer a variety of opportunities to individuals of many ages, occupations, and passions.But to make all these opportunities possible, it's important that the hospital has enough support from individuals within the hospital and out in the community!  Read More...

Trinity Equestrian Center

Trinity Equestrian Center - 
       Changing Lives & Healing with Horses
For 10 years, the Trinity Equestrian Center has been changing lives because of the experience and environment they offer individuals at their ranch. With 67 acres and 78 horses, they are able to provide life-changing opportunities to their staff, volunteers and program participants. These opportunities leave individuals seeing themselves and surroundings in a different light. Trinity Equestrian Center is a nonprofit organization and full service horse center offering Therapeutic Riding, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL).  They also provide boarding, training, lessons, horse leasing, summer horse camps and a unique and innovative summer child care program called Ranch Care. The Center has created these activities and programs to help heal physical, emotional, spiritual and cognitive disabilities.  Read More...


Beaver Creek Reserve
Since 1947, Beaver Creek Reserve has been providing individuals with the opportunity to learn about our surrounding environment in an educationally fun, hands-on way.It first started out with a group of county residents who were "committed to providing conservative education to area young people," and in 1985 another group of individuals created what is known as the Friends of Beaver Creek Reserve.This non-profit organization was formed to raise funds and implement programs for the Reserve.In 2008, the Friends took on the Reserve's daily operations and began working together with Eau Claire County, "allowing citizens, both young and old, access to the wonder of the natural environment around them." Read More....

Citizen Science Center

Citizen Science Center - Research Entity of Beaver Creek Reserve
"Citizen Science is the idea of conducting scientific research and bringing all kinds of groups together, whether that's scientists, researchers, university staff, students, or the general public, and educating and teaching them about scientific research and our natural resources." They also train them to go out and actually conduct this research.
This is one of the main goals of the Citizen Science Center, which is a part of Beaver Creek Reserve, and together they provide individuals the opportunity of becoming part of science and making an investment in the natural resources. Read More...


Chippewa Valley Museum
Sharing the story of our history
Since 1974, the Chippewa Valley Museum has been sharing stories about Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and other surrounding areas. These stories give local members a sense of what created this community, how it grew to what it is today, and they also help individuals feel connected to this place. As Winston Churchill says, "History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days." Without history we would lose touch with the stories of the past. This is where you, the student volunteer, comes in!  Read More...


Young Life Chippewa Valley
You were made for this
.This is the motto for which the organization Young Life uses to encourage teen moms, their children and high school students that they can make it through their toughest times and that they are not alone.Young Life, which is a faith-based international organization, is focused on building and maintaining strong, trusting relationships with children and young adults.They provide support to these individuals by being a friend and being part of their everyday lives.Young Life got its start in 1941, and has since grown into 77 countries, utilizing 37,000 volunteers worldwide.  Read More....

Junior Achievement

Junior Achievment
Preparing young people for the real world.
One of the memorable experiences from Logan Leske's elementary school days is when the Junior Achievement volunteers would come to his classroom and teach lessons about the workplace.This memory is what inspired him to become involved in the Junior Achievement program as a college student. Logan, who is a UW-Eau Claire senior information systems major, decided to come back to Meadowview Elementary School
when it came time to fulfill his service-learning requirement.

Special Olympics Wisconsin

Special Olympics Wisconsin
Special Olympics Wisconsin is a statewide organization dedicated to providing children and adults with cognitive disabilities the opportunity to participate in year-round training and competition. They want them to have "continuous opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community." Read More...


Feed My People Food Bank
Did you know that in west central Wisconsin, 14,500 individuals each month rely on food received from local programs for their very next meal? Also, did you know that of these 14,500 individuals, approximately 39 percent are children? That means there are 5,600 hungry children out there waiting for their next meal. So, what can we do? Volunteer at Feed My People Food Bank! For 30 years, Feed My People has been distributing food to agencies in 14 different counties in west central Wisconsin that are on the front lines of fighting hunger in their communities. Read More...


The Eau Claire YMCA
Since 1881, the Eau Claire YMCA has been working to make a difference in the lives of many individuals, both young and old. When they first started they were mainly focused on providing men with a safe, wholesome place to live, and they weren't yet thinking about the physical fitness aspect. Over time though, this initial focus had changed, and the YMCA began to emphasize the importance of physical fitness. Women were becoming more involved at this time, and as a result families became a number one focus for the YMCA.  Read More...

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin
Donate. Volunteer. Get Involved. This is the motto for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin whose mission is focused on "providing children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Big Brothers Big Sisters has been fulfilling this mission since 1972, with this being their 40th year celebration. Their 40 years of service includes many triumphs, one being that they grew from serving one county to five, and also that in their 40th year they now serve over 500 children annually! Read More...

Reading Partnership Program
Dr. Seuss says, "The more that you read, the more things you will know.The more you learn the more places you'll go." This says perfectly what the Reading Partnership Program is trying to teach children.The primary goal of this program, funded by the Title I grant for the Eau Claire Area School District, is to help children develop a love of reading. Along with that, they are trying to show children that reading can be enjoyable, something they should do for themselves, not just something you do at school, or under other normal conditions. These children just need someone to show them how wonderful reading can be. Read More...
Mayo Clinic Logo

Mayo Clinic Health System
When I walked into Mayo Clinic I was taken aback by their immaculate facility.Part of the building had undergone renovation, and the new addition had big windows to look out, beautiful artwork, and creative displays throughout.The renovation is due to the recent merge Luther Midelfort (clinic's previous name) had with Mayo Clinic Health System in May 2011. Read More...

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army of the Chippewa Valley
Since 1886, The Salvation Army of the Chippewa Valley has been delivering on the promise of "Doing the most good." They are an international movement, and the evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church.Their mission is, "To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, while meeting human needs."Last year they served over 25,000 individuals, and their needs were met with services such as a food pantry, transportation assistance, and vouchers for rent, utilities, and clothing.They also have a thrift store located in Chippewa Falls.The Salvation Army wants to continue delivering on their promise, but they need help. This is where you, the student, comes in. Read More...

Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes
"What did you do today? Did you do something that made a difference in the life of a child? Did you do something today that made you feel good about yourself? Did you have a caring conversation with a girl who brought out a need that she had that you didn't know, and you were able to help fix the situation and bring something new to her? What did you do today? How big of an impact did you make today?" This is the tagline for the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, but it's much more than a tagline. It's what everyone involved in Girl Scouts is all about. Read More...

Hope Gospel Mission

Hope Gospel Mission
Lives Rescued. Rebuilt. Renewed.
"To help those whose lives are in need of rescue with the necessary support and resources whereby if willing they can become productive members of society." This is the vision of Hope Gospel Mission, who opened their doors in 1998, and has been changing lives of homeless people since then through their many enterprises and programs.Hope Gospel Mission's enterprises consist of the Men's Shelter, Ruth House, Solomon Learning Center, the Bargain Center, Hope Gospel Mission Auto Sales, and The Building Hope Material Re-Use Center. But, these enterprises need help—and when I say help—I mean volunteers. Read More...

El Centro de Conexion de Chippewa Valley

El Centro de Conexion de Chippewa Valley
Two springs ago, a group of people, who shared an interest in the Latino community of Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley, got together to discuss how they could make things more united and welcoming for all Latino members.  These people had come from all different walks of life and directions.  And everybody had an interest, including the city manager, UW-Eau Claire Extension, UW-Eau Claire professors and students, and local agencies—with everyone bringing different ideas.  El Centro de Conexion de Chippewa Valley has been advocating since with their mission being: "To create a safe and inclusive community of diverse cultures through education, celebration, and collaboration." This mission is being achieved with the help and support of volunteers in the community. Read More....

Eau Claire Children's Theatre

Eau Claire Children's Theatre
Visiting the Eau Claire Children's Theatre brought back a flood of memories from my past high school theatre days; late night rehearsals, design and production of sets, and the final moments before stepping on stage for the opening scene.  Well, if you're a college student going through theatre withdrawals, or if you're a theatre or music major, this service-learning opportunity is perfect for you!  Read more....

Free Clinic

Chippewa Valley Free Clinic
When I visited the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic, I was greeted by friendly staff and volunteers that have an obvious passion and excitement for what the clinic offers the community.  As we walked from room to room, I noticed how each area was painted a bright color.  Everyone was happy to explain what the clinic does, who it offers it services to and how each volunteer and staff member plays an important role in the functionality of the clinic.  The clinic's mission is, "To provide health care to and advocacy for the people of the Chippewa Valley who have no health care alternative." Read More...


Eau Claire Regional Arts Center
As I walked in the front doors of the State Theatre I couldn't help but admire its historic beauty.  If only theatres could talk, we could hear about the talented individuals who've stepped foot on stage, the audiences' reactions, and the hard work that brings a show to life.  Well, instead of hearing about it, how about experiencing it first-hand through a service-learning project!  Read More...

Easter Seals Wisconsin

Easter Seals Wisconsin
"The main goals of Easter Seals Wisconsin are to increase independence, maximize opportunities, minimize barriers, and enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities," stated Keri Seubert, the Assistant Respite Coordinator at Easter Seals Wisconsin (ESW). This mission is accomplished by offering different services which aim to recognize the needs of people with disabilities and provide them with as much help as possible. Read More...


Blugold Beginnings
"The main purpose of the Blugold Beginnings program is to serve underrepresented students and inspire them to believe that a post secondary education is important, accessible, and within their reach at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire," stated Kirby Harless, the Americorps and High School Coordinator for Blugold Beginnings. This program was created in 2008 to help young people in fifth through twelfth grade with academic skill work and coursework. As a comprehensive, pre-college application program, this is an ideal program for all students to learn what it's like to be a Blugold. Read More...

Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Club
The Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley is one of nearly 2,600 independent local clubs throughout the United States. Currently, these clubs serve over three million boys and girls annually. Clubs can be found in all of the fifty states, as well as locations in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and US Military Bases. Read More...


Ice Age Trail Alliance
The Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) is a volunteer membership organization whose mission is to create, promote, and protect the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. This organization has been working to create a long-distance footpath which winds throughout the state of Wisconsin. Not only are volunteers an essential part in building the trail, but they are also essential in maintaining it. Thousands of volunteer hours are spent on the Ice Age Trail each year to build and advance the existing segments of this trail. IATA is primarily a volunteer organization, consisting of over 2000 volunteers throughout the state. Read More...

Community Table

The Community Table
Working at The Community Table is a fulfilling experience. "The organization's services are offered to the community by providing one meal a day, 365 days a year to anyone and everyone who walks in the doors—no questions asked," Rachel Keniston, director of The Community Table, shared.  The Community Table began seventeen years ago in response to a letter to The Voice of the People  in the Eau Claire Leader Telegram. Trinity Lutheran Church and the Junior League of Eau Claire started this organization by serving one meal a week in the basement of the Unitarian Church on Farwell Street.  "It belongs to the community, and in return, the community keeps it going," Keniston added. Read More...

wellness shack

The Wellness Shack
As a consumer run, nonprofit organization, the Wellness Shack serves as Eau Claire's Center for Adults in Mental Health Recovery. The mission of the Wellness Shack is to provide a safe place for adults with mental disabilities to find peer support, socialization, and recreation. Through community outreach, education, and advocacy, adults living with a mental illness will develop understanding of mental health awareness to promote individual recovery. Read More...


Chippewa Valley Free Clinic
When I interviewed the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic a few weeks ago, I learned about the service-learning opportunities they offer from the organization's perspective. But while there I was introduced to Chris Maierhofer, one of the student volunteers who spent a lot of time there.  He shared with me how he had started out as a volunteer and was then offered an internship; however, when his internship ended, he still came back to volunteer. He loves spending time at the clinic and was very enthusiastic about the work he does there. I knew right away that his service-learning experience would make a great, motivational story for other students!  Read More...


Literacy Volunteers of Chippewa Valley
"Forget graduation requirement; service-learning is a graduation privilege!" These are the compelling words of Briana Bryant, a UWEC student who fulfilled her service-learning hours through the Literacy Volunteers of Chippewa Valley (LVCV). Briana learned of this opportunity last year while attending the Service-Learning Community Action Fair, which takes place in both the fall and spring. "I was looking for something that I could be good at and something for someone who likes English type things." And when she came across the literacy booth, she knew it was the perfect place for her!  Read More....