FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2021
City’s Office of Violence Prevention and Beyond the Bell Milwaukee Launch
“Fall Into Fun” Youth Programming Resource Guide Website
MILWAUKEE – Kicking off the first day of fall, the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention in partnership with Beyond the Bell (BTB) Milwaukee launches Fall Into Fun: Powered by Beyond the Bell to improve awareness of and access to youth programs. This online resource will promote real-time events, employment opportunities, and programming through youth-serving organizations for Milwaukee residents ages 11-24 and their families, sorted by interest, age, date, or location.
“As schools, businesses, and entertainment venues reopen in Milwaukee, the pipeline of resources for young people has struggled to identify meaningful and purposeful ways to reconnect these critical programs and services to young people,” said Arnitta Holliman, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention. “This can leave them vulnerable to harm, neglect, trauma, and violence. The Fall Into Fun website addresses this need by offering easy access to opportunities and resources in our community.”
“Beyond the Bell’s work focuses on violence prevention and youth development, and the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention recognizes the importance this collective impact initiative has on our full community,” said Kweku TeAngelo Cargile Jr., Youth Injury & Violence Prevention Coordinator with the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention. “We must ensure young people are connected to critical programs and services, and this resource is a step in the right direction around elevating out-of-school time.”
Beyond the Bell is a collective impact coalition of youth-serving agencies, advocates, and youth working to improve the awareness, access, and quality of out-of-school time opportunities for young people. The initiative that has been supported by the Office of Violence Prevention since 2016.
In 2019, the Office of Violence Prevention established a Beyond the Bell leadership team with community members from Milwaukee County, PEAK Initiative, Running Rebels Community Organization, and the Milwaukee Christian Center to engage and provide support to local youth-serving agencies.
“The Fall Into Fun website is a much-needed resource in our city, both for youth seeking recreation and enrichment and for young professionals looking to collaborate and connect,” said Demetria Smith, Senior Director of Programs for the PEAK Initiative. “It is an important stepping stone to building a robust network of organizations working together to lift up our young people.”
Together, the leadership team successfully engaged and provided support to over 70 agencies struggling to maintain connections with young people and their families during the pandemic, facilitating access to Personal Protective Equipment, grant resources, and health updates from the Milwaukee Health Department.
“It is great to see this resource come to life,” said Reggie Moore, co-founder of Beyond the Bell and Director of Violence Prevention for the Medical College of Wisconsin. “This is the next phase in a journey by Beyond the Bell to increase awareness and access to quality youth programs and services in the city. The Medical College of Wisconsin is proud to support this effort.”
The Fall Into Fun website was developed and supported by INPOWER, a local Black- and woman-owned communications agency founded in the 53206 zip code, now based in the Harambee neighborhood.
“Being able to build a website that keeps youth and families informed about positive activities and events in our community was an honor to be a part of and support,” said Emani Taylor, co-founder of INPOWER and part of the site’s development team.
ABOUT BEYOND THE BELL (BTB) MILWAUKEE:
Beyond the Bell (BTB) Milwaukee is a collective impact coalition that prioritizes youth development with an out-of-school time focus. Beyond the Bell engages partners in working groups that develop sector-driven strategies to increase the coordination and quality of programs and services for youth. Those three active working groups are Policy, Access, and Quality.
This initiative is currently focused on programs and services for youth ages 11-24, a critical age group that is significantly underserved in Milwaukee and cities across the country.
Since 2013, partners have put forth a significant amount of work to explore national best practices, gather input from youth locally, and discuss the unique needs and opportunities for improving coordination of youth programs and services in Milwaukee.