What do a former police detective, an artist, the managing partner of Ernst & Young and a Milwaukee Area Technical College student have in common? These individuals recently gathered for a breakfast conversation hosted by College Possible Milwaukee about how we can improve our community.
The discussion was part of a larger effort by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation called On the Table. This regionwide forum offered Milwaukeeans a unique opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation among one another about the challenges and opportunities facing our city.
The questions posed to the group ranged from “what you love most about where you live?” to “if you had unlimited resources to improve your community what would you undertake?” and “as an individuals what can we do to make our region more vibrant?”
The group had many different ideas about opportunities to improve Milwaukee including expanding attractions for business development, post-college career matching for students, addressing hunger and homelessness and strengthening families.
One theme held true across the varied responses: there is a lot of good happening in Milwaukee.
Daesy Plascencia, a College Possible student and Mount Mary University graduate who served as a high school student mentor with College Possible talked about how she felt motivated to continue serving her community.
“Even though I’m not working for College Possible anymore, I’m not done,” said Daesy of giving back. She currently works as the assessment coordinator in the same school where she worked with 40 College Possible class of 2016 students, Riverside University High School.
Mayra Alaniz, another College Possible graduate and self-described idealist, dreamt of building a giant pipeline to connect the various programs that had helped her succeed as a student. Mayra graduated from Georgetown University in the spring of 2017.
“There’s not just one way,” said Mayra emphasizing that each person’s path looks different and there are many ways to make a difference.
The conversation ended on the same theme that started it, in order to move forward and improve our community we must come together.
Kingsley Ike, a College Possible student enrolled at MATC, expressed confidence in a united Milwaukee.
“We’re a city that can come together when it’s time to come together,” said Kingsley.
Part of this coming together was reflected in the group’s varied mix of experiences and backgrounds, including age.
Louis Johnson, a retired detective with the Milwaukee Police Department and College Possible board member, praised the young people in the room and their contributions to our city.
“You are going to make a difference in Milwaukee,” Louis said. “You already have.”
Participants from the photo above from left to right, first row: Mayra Alaniz of Mueller Communications, Kingsley Ike of MATC, Daesy Plascencia of Riverside University High School. Second row: Kalia Vang of College Possible, David Gay of Ernst & Young, Louis Johnson of SysLogic, Jennifer Florsheim of Weyco Group and Edie Turnbull of College Possible.