John Lynch, former UWM professor wins the Peace Builder Award for Hope House Food Pantry

A true Peace Builder with 11 years of service under his belt! John mentors our Hope House volunteers, especially the students from UWM. His quiet leadership transforms our pantries into spaces of humility and genuine relationship-building. Watch this video to learn how John nourishes the body, mind, and soul of our community.

UWM, Marquette, and MATC students to help seniors as part of ‘Make a Difference Day’

MILWAUKEE — More than 800 student volunteers from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Marquette University, and Milwaukee Area Technical College will come together Saturday, Nov. 9th, to help older adults across Milwaukee County get ready for Wisconsin’s winter.  

The event, coordinated by UWM and cohosted by all three institutions, is part of “Make a Difference Day, an annual nationwide event in which organizations join forces to elevate community service.  

This year, student volunteers will visit more than 150 homes throughout Milwaukee County to assist older adults with raking leaves, cleaning yards and providing a friendly visitor, ensuring they are able to stay safe, warm and independent in their homes this winter.  

One-third of older adults live alone, and many cannot complete the outdoor tasks required as the winter months approach. In addition, according to the Milwaukee County Department on Aging Area Plan for 2019-21, when compared to the state of Wisconsin as a whole, Milwaukee has a higher percentage of people age 65 years and over living alone.  

The Make a Difference Day event is also in partnership with organizations Eras Senior Network Inc., a nonprofit organization aimed at engaging and supporting seniors in leading meaningful lives.  

“Every year, seniors look forward to students arriving to help with home projects. Without help, seniors may try to do the work themselves and be at risk of falls in their homes,” said Kathy Gale, executive director of Eras Senior Network. “Falls can be devastating for seniors, resulting in hospitalization and loss of independence. The students’ hours of service are making an appreciable difference for vulnerable neighborhoods.”  

Make a Difference Day is collaboration among UWM’s Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research; Marquette’s Sorority and Fraternity Life and the Center for Community Service; and MATC’s Center for Engaged and Service-Learning.  

Interview opportunities 

Interviews with Make a Difference Day participants, including staff, student volunteers and homeowners, are available from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 9, at a benefitting home in Wauwatosa. For more information, including the exact location, contact: Zack Garrity, Program Manager, 262-720-3713. 

May 2019’s Featured CESN Member: David Pacifico

David Pacifico (Ph.D) is an anthropological archaeologist and ethnographer who has taught and published on ancient neighborhoods as well as the public value of archaeology. Much of his fieldwork has taken place in Peru via the Proyecto Arqueologico del Interior de Casma – Casma Hinterland Archaeological Project (PAIC-CHAP). However, following short experiences with archaeological projects studying New Orleans and Chicago and after teaching for more than a year on urban anthropology in the US and France, David began working toward a long-term goal of running a local community-based archaeological project in his own community as General Director Milwaukee Community Archaeology Project. At UWM, Pacifico serves as an Assistant Professor in Art History and directs the Emile H. Mathis Gallery and UWM Art Collection.

UW-Milwaukee Student Makes Huge Impact at Milwaukee Food Pantry


Student and community leader continues to help people living below the poverty level

MILWAUKEE, WI – March 26, 2019 – A Community Leaders Internship Program participant continues to serve under-privileged families in the inner-city of Milwaukee. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) student, Amaya Varela, has been serving with Friedens Community Ministries: Coggs Food Pantry since her sophomore year. Friedens is a non-profit food pantry that’s part of a network of 5 total pantries. Friedens is located in the 53205-zip code and according to U.S. Census Bureau data from years 2013-2017, the zip code is home to a large African American population (8,150) as well as 44.6% of individuals living below the poverty level. Serving at Friedens gives Amaya the opportunity to assist people who are in need that live below the poverty line.

Amaya’s responsibilities mainly include intake, where she briefly interviews pantry users. When needed, she also serves as a pantry attendant and walks community members through the pantry. 

“My job is important because it is the first impression community members have of the pantry. It is expected that volunteers and employees be sincere, compassionate, and helpful.” – Amaya Varela, UW-Milwaukee Junior.

The pantry receives regulars’ patrons but also sees many new faces. Friedens is very diverse and inclusive and serves a wide range of cultures, ethnicities, ages, abilities, etc. The environment at Friedens is warm, welcoming, and accepting of these differences on behalf of the volunteers, employees, and pantry-users. Amaya believes some aspects of her community work that are exciting are meeting new people, helping them and making their day! Amaya wants to share with others the importance of being involved with the community.

“When I first began working at Friedens, I had low confidence in myself, I was very shy, and I was nervous it would not be a good fit for me. Eventually, I gained confidence in my ability to do intake and connect with others. Now, I cannot imagine myself anywhere else. I love my job and I feel a sense of pride working at Friedens.” – Varela. 

Before coming to UW-Milwaukee, Amaya had never interacted with or served a predominately black community because of where she grew up. Working at Friedens was a key turning point in Amaya’s college experience because she began to build relationships with the surrounding communities that she may serve one day as a Social Worker. As a result, Amaya is invested in bettering the community and supporting those who are most vulnerable to issues like poverty, homelessness and food insecurity in Milwaukee. 

“My work at Friedens has positively shaped me as a student, professional, and person. With this, I hope more people are inspired to volunteer in their community and make a difference for themselves and others!” – Amaya Varela, UW-Milwaukee Junior.

Amaya Varela is a junior at UW-Milwaukee. She majors in Social Work and pursuing a minor in Spanish. Amaya participates in the Community Leaders Internship Program hosted through the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research (CCBLLR) at UWM. The Community Leaders Internship Program (CLIP) engages work-study eligible students by placing them in community-based work-study jobs at local non-profit agencies and public schools in the Milwaukee metro area. CLIP students work between 6-10 hours per week at their work-study site and earn between $10.00 and $14.00 an hour. Participants in the program will also enroll in 1 credit course during the program. Students in CLIP will reflect on their experiences as a group during class time. The course, complementing work experience, is aimed at the development of critical thinking and effective communication skills as well as a sense of intercultural competence and individual, social, and environmental responsibility. The goal of the program is not only to provide students with an opportunity to earn their work study award at a non-profit or school, it also seeks to provide a learning experience that develops civic responsibility and prepares students for their future careers.

CCBLLR partners with the community to inspire students, faculty, and staff to engage in activities that foster enduring personal and social change. CCBLLR moves UWM to the next level by improving the student civic and leadership experience through a holistic and seamless approach to community engagement. Overall, the CCBLLR will ensure greater impact and success in UWM fulfilling its civic mission and providing well-developed leaders for our communities.

First-Year UWM Student Prepares 6th Graders for High School

UW-Milwaukee Student helps 6th graders develop positive study habits!

MILWAUKEE, WI – March 15, 2019 – College Bigs and Youth Mentor volunteers at St. Marcus Lutheran School to help with homework and to develop positive study habits. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) student, Gabriel Dove assists with St. Marcus’ efforts to improve study habits of their students in order to prepare them for high school. Since October 2018, Volunteers from UW-Milwaukee have worked with a small group of 6th, 7th and 8th graders on self-empowerment and positive habits that will help with their academic success in the future. While developing great rapport with his students, Gabriel assists with work on math, reading, writing, and the Lutheran school’s word of God assignments. Each week, Gabriel assists 1-2 students with their homework. The Little Chute, WI native helps the students as needed with things they don’t yet understand and keeps them on task. Through his volunteer opportunity, Gabriel has had the chance to meet a few kids from the school’s neighboring community. He has worked very hard to build a positive relationship with his mentees. While Gabriel has done some things for the St. Marcus students, he feels that the students have done much more for him. 

“The students have taught me a lot about how to be a better person, how to work hard, and how to have fun while doing it, all of which have impacted me as a UWM student. I am so thankful for the opportunity and I look forward to volunteering there throughout the rest of the semester.” – Gabriel Dove, UW-Milwaukee student.

Gabriel Dove is a first-year student at UW-Milwaukee with a 3.67 grade point average. His major is currently undecided, but he is looking to focus on either education or social work. Gabriel signed up to volunteer at St. Marcus Lutheran School through the College Bigs and Youth Mentor program hosted through the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research (CCBLLR) at UWM. 

CCBLLR partners with the community to inspire students, faculty, and staff to engage in activities that foster enduring personal and social change. CCBLLR moves UWM to the next level by improving the student civic and leadership experience through a holistic and seamless approach to community engagement. Overall, the CCBLLR will ensure greater impact and success in UWM fulfilling its civic mission and providing well-developed leaders for our communities.

Milwaukee students teach art for housing at senior homes

“Several Milwaukee senior care facilities are welcoming younger residents as part of a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee program that allows students to teach art in exchange for housing…”

To read more of the story, visit the link below.

Milwaukee students teach art for housing at senior homes


Criminal Justice 520 GIS Project with Dr. Headley Spring 2018

Students from Criminal Justice 520 utilized GIS mapping skills to accomplish their different goals ranging from locating, within Milwaukee County, a suitable spot for a new “Early Education + Care Center” based on known socio-economic variables within the region, to investigating if lead laterals overlap with certain demographics (e.g., high proportions of the population that are children), and if so, where this overlap takes place, and more.

View the PowerPoints of the students full final reports below: