MILWAUKEE — You may not know it, but Milwaukee has a state forest right in the heart of the city. Just off Silverspring Drive, you’ll find a sanctuary of nature and quiet. It’s the Havenwoods State Forest, the only urban one in Wisconsin.
“So I definitely think it adds this extra layer of getting the nature involved in what we’re doing,” Says Katlin Hahn.
Hahn works with the Havenwoods Neighborhood Partnership and supervises the new Street Keepers Program – aimed at helping people improve their job prospects.
“The Street Keepers program is a transitional jobs program that really centers around the Havenwoods Community,” Hahn says.
Transitional employees may be looking for higher education and better employment or they might be looking to switch career tracks. Either way, Hahn says she wants to teach program participants soft skills like accountability and leadership.
“There’s a lot they can teach people on the job once they are there, but those basic interpersonal skills are so essential,” she says. “So we really emphasize those.”
Mastering those skills makes a huge difference for the people Hahn is working with. She described practicing a job interview.
“We were all working on ways to get more comfortable with the idea of building ourselves and you could see her self-confidence grow and it’s such an amazing thing,” Hahn says. “So I definitely hope that it’s beneficial and helpful for them.”
There’s a lot of benefit to helping build these individuals up.
“When someone is confident in themselves, they’re going to go further in their career. They’re more likely to become a homeowner in the area, get involved in community projects, and volunteering,” says Hahn.
And the Street Keepers will give back, too.
They’ll help with tree trimming, picking up litter, and other beautification projects, like community murals.
Hahn also wants people in the program to help plan community events.
“That could look like anything from focusing on the kids in our community, doing something that focuses on seniors, working with local artists or businesses,” she says. “It’s really kind of a big opportunity to do anything that connects with the community.”
For the Street Keepers, every step forward is a step toward something better for everyone.
“It’s really a beautiful process, in my opinion,” Hahn says.
The Street Keepers program is still hiring. The program pays $14/hour for 20 hours per week.
For more information contact Katlin Hahn, Katlin@havenwoods.org