For the next six weeks, kids aged ten to thirteen will be participating in Camp Rise, a program put together jointly by Employ Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools and the City of Milwaukee based on a concept developed by the Voices of the Elders.
Voices of the Elders (VOTE) is a group that includes many older residents born and raised in Milwaukee who are making a conscious effort to serve as positive role models for children in that impressionable age group. Earl Ingram Jr., VOTE’s founder and chairman — and also host of The Earl Ingram Show on WAUK Radio — was present for the inauguration of the second year of the program.
“Camp Rise came out of a vision I shared with [Milwaukee] Mayor Cavalier Johnson about a program that would help change the trajectory of our young people’s lives by providing them an opportunity to be mentored by older folks from around the community,” Mr. Ingram said.
Chytania Brown, President & CEO of Employ Milwaukee, welcomed everyone present. “It’s hard to find in this country a program that focuses on workforce development that starts with youth as young as ten,” she stated. “But I truly believe the younger we can introduce young people to career opportunities, the more we can change the narratives of what happens to [them],” she continued.
Paulette Chambers, Chief of Staff for Milwaukee Public Schools expressed her excitement about the program. She congratulated the 250 children who were present, highlighting how this summer they will be “learning about leadership skills, learning about advancement possibilities, learning about financial responsibility and just getting started with their young adult lives.”
Kyle Ashley, Director of Governor Evers’ Milwaukee Office was present to express the support of the Governor of Wisconsin for the program. “Make sure that you pay attention and listen to all the adults that you have around you,” Mr. Ashley said as he addressed the children. “I’m blessed to be able to look at the future in front of me,” he added.
Camp Rise participants will be earning $200 a week working on projects like park cleaning; taking field trips to different local businesses; engaging in the exploration of career opportunities; and receiving mentorship from community leaders like Earl Ingram and Mayor Johnson.