We Strengthen Our Fox Valley Community For Current And Future Generations By Helping People Make A Difference In The Lives Of All.
Engaging Perspectives: Helping the Fox Valley Flourish
Today we're excited to highlight an episode from Appleton Engaged, a compelling podcast from the City of Appleton. Much like Voices from the Valley, which is dedicated to amplifying diverse voices within our communities, the Appleton Engaged podcast lifts up the individuals, organizations, and resources that contribute to making our community an extraordinary place to reside, work, and play. And this month, hosts Andy Anaam and Timber Smith get the lowdown on everything about us, from our own Tammy Geenen, Vice President of Community Engagement. Enjoy!
Show notes here: https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/engaging-perspectives-helping-the-fox-valley-flourish/
Stories of Home
Sharing stories in the news and lifting up the voices of people in our community really lends itself to making the Fox Valley feel like home. The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation have been engaged in a major effort to support the work of local newsrooms to bring issues of importance in our region to the forefront through storytelling, and it’s called the NEW News Lab.
The News Lab was launched two years ago as a pilot program and local news collaboration in northeastern Wisconsin made up of six news organizations: the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Appleton Post-Crescent, FoxValley365, The Press Times, Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Watch. We teamed up with those organizations as well as The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Journalism Department as an educational partner. Microsoft provided the initial support to launch the project, and since then many other supporters have stepped up to fund this important initiative. Recently, that investment and commitment to preserving local journalism was renewed, thanks to collaborative support from the community foundations, and Microsoft's partnership with the Green Bay Packers and Titletown Tech.
Content produced by the NEW News Lab is shared at no cost for the purpose of increasing access and broadening awareness of community needs. These stories have been picked up by more than 125 news outlets nationwide, and have reached an estimated audience of more than 23 million people.
In this episode, we feature one of our news partners, Wisconsin Public Radio, and it's Home is Here series.
Healthy Teens: Sources of Strength
Do you know how our youth are doing, as far as mental health and wellness? How can we in the Fox Valley help our teens, and prevent the things that can lead to anxiety or even a crisis? The answers are complex, and challenging.
There is no doubt our teens are in crisis – with pressures our older generations can’t even imagine, because it really is a new world – and Covid made it worse. According to the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, we're seeing the continuation of a decade-long trend: The number of students reporting they feel “sad and hopeless” was up again, now at 34 percent statewide. Students reporting significant anxiety has increased to 52 percent. Meanwhile, 18 percent of all students surveyed seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months, the highest rate since 2003.
But there is some good news: Local efforts to strengthen the mental wellness of our students are beginning to have a positive impact – and that’s where our Voices from the Valley podcast episode will focus. We sat down with Wendy Harris, who coordinates a program called Healthy Teen Minds, an initiative of The N.E.W. Mental Health Connection, now called The Connection. And we visited Appleton North High School, to see how its "Sources of Strength" model, implemented at schools in several Fox Valley districts, is helping teens feel included and less isolated.
More links at: https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/healthy-teen-minds/
Mental Health: Tangible Solutions for the Fox Valley
Did you know that from 2010-2018, the suicide rate in Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties increased by 66 percent? And among those at greatest risk are middle-aged men, individuals in certain professions (like farming, construction and law enforcement, for example), veterans, members of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color), and LGBTQ+ community members.
In response to this alarming community crisis, Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection launched Project Zero, a suicide prevention initiative supported by the Community Foundation, and conducted a local 2021 Mind Your Wellness Survey, that was designed to collect population-level data on several mental health and suicide-related indicators. A total of 1,259 adults from Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties took the survey during the pandemic.
The Connection has just released a new report on recommendations aimed at improving adult mental health of adults in the Fox Valley. Outlined in the report, titled Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Recommendations, are more than 40 recommendations that can serve as a road map for many nonprofits, businesses and individuals to support and and advocate for new projects, strategic plans, and priorities. Go here to learn how you can impact the community.
The survey results identified many risk factors that contribute to poor mental health in adults, including having an annual household income of less than $50,000, feeling isolated, spending several hours of non-work time per day on screens, and inadequate sleep. The resulting recommendations are organized into three themes: basic needs, access to care, and social connection.Show notes at https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/mental-health-a-path-forward/
Libraries: Community Hubs for All
In an age of rapid technological advancement and ever-changing demographics, libraries are evolving to become more than just repositories of books. They have transformed into vibrant community hubs, catering to the diverse needs and interests of all residents in the Fox Valley region. Today, we’ll explore the remarkable role that libraries play in shaping our communities, fostering inclusion, and adapting to the changing times.
Learning for All
One of the fundamental principles driving these changes is the commitment to inclusivity. Libraries in the Fox Valley are striving to ensure that every member of the community can access their services, programs, and materials. Regardless of age, background, or interests, libraries are embracing the mission of serving all residents equally.
In this episode, we visit several libraries in the Fox Valley to find out how our libraries are curating collections that represent a wide array of voices and experiences.
Loop: Brillion Public Library expands its Spanish collection of books, resources
Loop: Agency Funds Build Lasting Support for Friends of Appleton Public Library
Loop: So many reasons to love our libraries
Loop: Kimberly Public Library’s Storybook Garden: A Community Vision
Loop: Legacy to help build New London’s new public library/STEM education center
Appleton Ready to Read: Outreach program brings early literacy to Hmong and Hispanic families
Libraries in Bloom: Appleton Ready to Read
Appleton Public Library
Neenah Public Library
Menasha Public Library
Brillion Public Library
Valley VNA Senior Care
Featuring Colleen Rortvedt, Director, Appleton Public Library
Game Changers! Celebrating Special Olympics
In this episode, we’re talking about including and empowering our neighbors and family members with differing abilities and exploring the power of inclusion in our communities through Special Olympics. Our guests today include parents, coaches, volunteers, and of course the incredible athletes who inspire us all with their determination, courage, and sportsmanship. These game-changers are flourishing through organizations like Special Olympics and SOAR Fox Cities.
Special Olympics is a worldwide movement of more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries, where one can participate locally, but make a global impact. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of Special Olympics, organized the first International Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field in Chicago, in the belief that the lessons these athletes learned through sports would translate into new competence and success in school, in the workplace, and in the community.
Today, Special Olympics Inc. is the world’s largest provider of fitness training, education and athletic competition — coupled with social, life, and leadership skill development opportunities — for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Wisconsin, an accredited program of Special Olympics Inc., was founded in 1972 and is the largest sports program in Wisconsin for individuals with intellectual disabilities.