Youth Development

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The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is a universal phrase that parents, educators and perhaps, even young people can understand at some level. Children of all ages develop, learn and play in the company of their parents, peers and other adults such as teachers, grandparents, neighbors and mentors.  And, life is moving at a rapid pace filled with more demands for our time and attention which makes the presence of a village ever so important in a child’s life.

The Need: Meeting Basic Unmet Needs

Childhood experiences can have a tremendous, lifelong impact on one’s health and quality of life. To reach their full potential, youth need safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. Bader Philanthropies supports organizations that serve as catalysts for change and healing in the lives of youth by addressing their most basic needs.

Our Approach: Promoting Physical and Mental Agility for Lifelong Success

Youth Development has three key strategies:

    1. Wellness:
      Supportive and preventative services for youth who are facing homelessness, hunger, health/dental issues, trauma and special needs
    2. Extended Learning Opportunities:
      Quality programs that support school-age youth, teens and young adults 18-24 during the school-year and in the summer months, with an emphasis on:

      • Academic Support
      • Arts
      • Environmental
      • Sports
    3. Character/Professional Development:
      Programs that have an overall focus on the character and or professional development of youth, offered throughout the year that involve one or more of the following key components:

      • Mentorship
      • Leadership
      • Internships

These strategies provide a framework for meeting the overall wellness of Milwaukee’s youth and ensuring they can develop into vital assets in our community.

Our Impact: Realizing the Full Potential of Each Child

Research shows that when a children’s overall wellness is tended to, they can fully benefit from education, extended learning opportunities and other life preparedness programs. Youth Development organizations throughout Milwaukee are on the frontlines addressing basic needs and creating opportunities for youth to grow themselves. Through their blended or focused approaches, organizations are creating access to dental exams; teaching children the power of being a part of a team through sports and connecting young people with “real life” job experiences.

A Strong Infrastructure is Key

Our Youth Development partners touch the lives of children in nearly every neighborhood. They are implementing national models that have worked in similar size cities, using evidence-based programs or trying new techniques through small-scale pilots. While the approaches may be different, each organization has or is building a strong organizational infrastructure.


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