Voices from the Valley: A podcast of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region-logo

Voices from the Valley: A podcast of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region

Education Podcasts

We Strengthen Our Fox Valley Community For Current And Future Generations By Helping People Make A Difference In The Lives Of All.


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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. Articles: Loop: Brillion Public Library expands its Spanish collection of books, resourcesLoop: Agency Funds Build Lasting Support for Friends of Appleton Public LibraryLoop: So many reasons to love our librariesLoop: Kimberly Public Library’s Storybook Garden: A Community VisionLoop: 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 familiesLibraries in Bloom: Appleton Ready to Read Learn More Appleton Public LibraryNeenah Public LibraryMenasha Public LibraryBrillion Public LibraryValley VNA Senior Care Featuring Colleen Rortvedt, Director, Appleton Public Library Your hosts: Amy Spreeman Kyle Armstrong


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.


Local Podcasters Lift our Community

Today we’re doing an entire podcast episode about podcasts! Why do people like them so much, and how are organizations using this audio platform to tell their stories in a whole new way? And what do you need to do to start your own podcast? It’s easier than you might think! What is a podcast? It is simply an audio tool that people and organizations can use to tell their stories and inspire people to think, dream, engage and act. Unlike radio, podcasts are not live. Recorded episodes can be downloaded from a streaming service. Here are some interesting facts about podcasts: And - At least 33% of people who don’t listen to podcasts aren’t sure how to get started. Source: https://earthweb.com/podcast-statistics/ Learn more at https://www.cffoxvalley.org/Local Podcasters Lifting Our Community Community


Art Making an Impact: Part2

Art truly does help shape a community in so many different ways. Performing arts in particular can provide a platform to celebrate traditions, customs, and stories, fostering a sense of identity and pride among community members. A community rich in arts can foster economic development too, and give tourists a reason to visit a venue and boost the vitality of the region. Today's episode is a second part of a 2-part series on arts making an impact in the Fox Valley. If you missed it, listen to Art Making an Impact: Part 1. We are incredibly thankful for the vibrant and diverse art programs that make our communities flourish. We hope you enjoy learning more about how art in the Fox Valley is breaking down barriers and making a difference for all! Links to Featured Art Performance Organizations Northeast Wisconsin Chinese Association Summit Players Theatre Kids from Wisconsin Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra More links: Brats, Beer & BeethovenN.E.W. Dragon Boat FestivalCreating And Sharing Joy Through ArtWaupaca Arts HubWeaving The Community Together Through ArtLocal Art ShowcaseLocal Art Woven Into The Fabric Of Community FoundationArt Making An Impact On At-Risk Youth Thanks To Generous DonorsSummer Of Service Teaches Skills Through Art


Art Making an Impact!

Did you know that engaging children in arts activities can teach team-building skills and provide a positive and constructive outlet and build their self-confidence? Here at the Community Foundation, we are dedicated to supporting art activities that bring our communities together and provide creative opportunities for people of all ages. Research shows arts-rich communities stimulate innovative thinking, recruit and retain residents, drive tourism and create an economic engine. But more than that, art has the ability to not only add beauty to our world, but to educate or spark new ideas we wouldn’t have had otherwise. It can inspire us to engage with people we don’t know. It even has the power to bridge the gaps between people from different cultures and languages. It truly helps us understand each other and opens doors for us to experience our common humanity in new ways. Links to our Artists Irineo MedinaBergstrom-Mahler Museum of GlassStacy Parish - Full Spirals Podcast More links: Creating And Sharing Joy Through ArtWaupaca Arts HubWeaving The Community Together Through ArtLocal Art ShowcaseLocal Art Woven Into The Fabric Of Community FoundationArt Making An Impact On At-Risk Youth Thanks To Generous DonorsSummer Of Service Teaches Skills Through Art


Childcare Crisis

Finding quality childcare in Wisconsin is a challenge, with long waitlists. It's also expensive. Many parents say they are paying more than their monthly mortgage or rent to have their children cared for while they work. And for single parents, it's a difficult road to navigate. If you don’t have young children in your life, you may be thinking this topic doesn’t apply to you – but it does! Nearly nine in 10 working parents say childcare costs them time and productivity at work, which may mean more work for others or jobs that don’t get done. At the national level, according to a study from ReadyNation, the childcare crisis is costing our country $122 Billion dollars a year, because of lost earnings, productivity and taxes. For our state, in 2018, 50% of Wisconsinites, and 70% of Wisconsinites in rural areas, lived in a childcare desert, which is an area where childcare is not available, or the number of children exceeds the number of slots. Childcare providers are not babysitters. They are trained professionals. But their poverty-level wages and minimal benefits contribute to high staff turnover in many centers, which affects availability and quality of care, and is the reason why many centers unfortunately are closing their doors. Industry experts and childcare providers say finding a solution to all of this will require the efforts of government, employers and families working together. Like most complex issues facing us, there is no single solution that will address the shortage of care, centers’ high operating costs, workers’ very low wages and the exorbitant prices families pay for care. So how do we as a community invest in solutions? We’re excited to tell you that a local task force, the Greater Fox Cities Childcare Alliance, is in talks right now specifically working on the provider compensation piece of the puzzle. In this episode we hear from the Alliance's Suzanne Brault. And we'll visit Joyful Beginnings Academy in Dale, just west of Appleton, where two moms have found a childcare solution that is attracting national news attention. All the links in our Show Notes here: https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/childcare-crisis/


Healthy Smiles for All

Dental care is critical to a person's overall health, especially in children. But the pandemic and financial constraints have been barriers to families trying to access proper care, causing decreases in visits. Organizations like volunteer-driven Tri-County Dental help fill the gaps and meet thousands of students where they’re at, offering preventive care to avoid emergencies and keep students healthy and able to focus in school. It’s estimated that there are over 85,000 people in the tri-county area of Northeast Wisconsin who cannot afford even limited oral health care. And according to the Dental Association, about a third of all children in the state of Wisconsin have untreated tooth decay. The dental community wanted to do something about that. For the past two decades, volunteer dentists and dental hygienists have been offering their services free of charge through the Tri-County Community Dental Clinic. Roughly 90 dentists from throughout the area volunteer to work at Tri-County. There are paid fellowships for new dentists who recently graduated to get experience for a one-year term. There are income and insurance requirements to be eligible to go to the clinic. Co-pays for regular visits never cost more than $35. But for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, care is completely free. Show Notes at https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/healthy-smiles-for-all-23/


Understanding Autism

What is it like to learn your child has autism? And how do you find resources to give your child the best opportunities for learning and for experiencing all the joys and challenges life has in store? In this episode we take some time to consider how we think about Autism, a developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates, thinks, and interacts with others and the world around them. People with autism experience the world differently. You may have heard the term, “Autism Spectrum,” to describe the diverse range of symptoms and abilities that are unique to everyone. We visit Shawano, Wisconsin, where a non-profit called Bridge the Gap for Autism is making a huge impact. It is a nationally recognized organization that has helped hundreds of children and adults with autism through a unique approach. And we go to Black Creek Elementary in the Seymour School district, where students with Autism are using technology that is a real game-changer. More at https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/understanding-autism/


Welcoming Refugees

In this episode we're discussing the number of refugees from other countries who have recently resettled here in the Fox Valley. What is life like for them, and how can our communities be welcoming to our new neighbors? Most of them come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa. Two years ago, we began to see many come through the Afghanistan evacuation program. About 300 more refugees will resettle here by the end of 2023. We hear from Tami McLaughlin, executive director of World Relief Fox Valley about the resettlement of people from Afghanistan seeking refuge and starting a new life in our communities, and the challenges they face as they make the Fox Valley their new home. Episode notes and links: https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/welcoming-refugees/


Housing: A Plan Forward

Imagine if all residents can live in a good home they can afford. Our region is composed of households across the income spectrum, and it's getting harder to find these homes. High-quality, stable housing is central to the health and wellbeing of all families in our communities. A new Fox Cities and Greater Outagamie County Regional Housing Strategy was developed in 2022 as the result of a study done in our communities. Over the next decade, our region needs roughly 11-thousand to nearly 18 thousand new dwelling units just to keep up with the estimated population growth. In this episode, we'll discuss the plan forward, thanks to the many who are coming together to take on the challenge. Do you have a role to play in this path forward? Visit https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/housing-a-plan-forward/ for the episode show notes.


Kaukauna and King: 50 years Later

What happens when we uncover lost stories and tell them in new ways? And how might shared experiences, between people who are different from one another, bring us closer together? In today’s very special episode we’re going to take you back to a story that happened over 50 years ago. It's the story of an exchange of Black and White high school students in Wisconsin in 1966, right in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement. Black students from Rufus King High School in Milwaukee switched places with White students from Kaukauna High School during a time of heightened racial tensions in our country, and on the wave of big changes. The young people lived in each others' homes, attended classes in each others' schools and took what they learned to the stage, performing Martin Duberman’s groundbreaking play called “In White America” in both cities. Today a new generation of high school students are re-living that era in a project called, “The Exchange In White America: Kaukauna & King 50 Years Later.” It's all thanks to journalist and filmmaker Joanne Williams, who had been a student at Rufus King when the exchange took place. She wondered about what happened to the students in the exchange and what their lives were like now and was inspired to embark on a 6-year journey to create a documentary film, which involved a revival of the play 50 years later by high school students in Milwaukee and Kaukauna. Two weeks ago during Black History Month, over 1,000 people in the Fox Valley area had the chance to view the film and participate in conversations with the filmmaker Joanne as part a Northeast WI premiere tour. More episode notes at: https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/kaukauna-and-king-50-years-later/


Clintonville’s Compassionate Connections

In many rural areas of the Fox Valley region, there are often serious gaps in services such as transportation, healthcare, and other services meant to help individuals and families that might be struggling economically. Clintonville's Compassionate Connection Center, a nonprofit we partner with here at the Community Foundation, is working to bridge those gaps. In this episode we learn how an entire community is coming together under the guiding principle that everyone deserves the same opportunities and to be treated with personal dignity and respect. The Compassionate Connections Center provides access to basic necessities like clothing, food, diapers, formula, emergency relief, home repairs, and automobile repairs, and provides children with enough food and resources to help support them at home. Articles Compassionate Connections receives funds from Clintonville Community Heroes Award winnerClintonville nonprofit hosts trivia night to help provide free back-to-school clothes


Mental Health: Do You Need Emotional CPR?

We’ve probably all faced an emotional crisis. Something that rocks our world and sends us into a feeling of despair. Just in the last two years alone, people have experienced increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and uncertainty. It's that collective trauma of living in a world that is no longer predictable. The growing need for emotional support is urgent. In this episode we’re going to talk about a program in the Fox Valley called e-CPR, and, like CPR, it can be a lifesaver. E-CPR is a community education workshop that teaches people how to support another person experiencing an emotional crisis. Program resources, links, and more at https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/e-cpr-help-for-emotional-crisis/


Inclusion in the Outdoors

The Fox Valley is renowned for our outdoor activities, from lakes and parks to more than 340 miles of trails for use year round. But many people might be surprised to learn that not every member of our community feels safe or welcomed in our outdoor spaces, especially people who are considered historically marginalized, such as people of color, people who speak different languages, people with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQ+. Why doesn't everyone has the same access to positive outdoor experiences, and what’s being done about it? More at: https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/inclusion-in-the-outdoors/


Our Story: We’ve come a long way!

People of all walks of life have been impacted by the Community Foundation since its founding in 1986. We hear their stories, and we want you to hear them too! Our Voices from the Valley: A Podcast of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region podcast launched in September, 2021, and we've come a long way in telling the eye-opening, heartstring-pulling stories people and nonprofits in our community have shared with us. 30 episodes later and more than 3,000 downloads from around the world, we are celebrating and sharing the unique facets and challenges of living in our area! Our Story Our fledgeling episode was titled Our Story, and we took that opportunity to share how the Community Foundation came to be, what we do, and how we've grown to touch lives throughout the Fox Valley region. Back when we aired this episode, we were still recording our interviews on Zoom, and not able to record in person. In spite of those audio experiments, our mission remains the same: We strengthen our community for current and future generations by helping people make a difference in the lives of all. More show notes here: https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/our-story/


Building For Kids: Three Decades of Empowered Learning

The Building for Kids Children's Museum opened in downtown Appleton in 1992 at the site of the former Prange's building. Thirty years later, the Community Foundation is honored to celebrate being a part of "BFK's" history! Generous gifts from donors with funds within the Community Foundation have supported the museum over the years. The museum receives around 120,000 visitors annually from all over the world, and is a cultural gem in the Fox Valley communities. Amy and Carolyn visit the museum to talk about what's happening now, and how the museum is embracing the future for generations to come. Program notes and links at https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/building-for-kids-three-decades-of-empowered-learning/