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Spring Edition 2014

Las Vegas resident, Mona Johnson, is
a high school special educational in-
structional assistant who is a monthly
financial donor to Lead2Change.
She first discovered Lead2Change
through Dionne Grayson, the Execu-
tive Director of Lead2Change. Johnson
and Grayson have been friends for
over 20 years and when Grayson
asked Johnson to consider giving a
year-end donation, she decided to
become a monthly financial donor
I realized that I wanted to be a part of sustaining this great
organization that affords Milwaukee youth the wonderful op-
portunity to enhance their leadership skills through providing
community service and community engagement, says Johnson.
Johnson is also highly active in her own community as she facili-
tates life skills workshops to youth who participate in a paid
summer internship program. In addition, she assists them in
community engagement projects during the summer.
According to Johnson, youth can best serve their communities
by participating in organizations like Lead2Change. She explains
that youth should recognize their unique talents, enhance and
develop their academic and leadership skills, and they should
always remember to dream big and make things happen
through service.
As Johnson continues to support Lead2Change, she wants to
encourage everyone who has benefited from Lead2Change to
see the impact donations can make, in all capacities, and con-
sider becoming a donor themselves.
A few dollars in the hand of one individual believing in the vi-
sion of a program can only stretch so far; a few dollars in the
hands of many individuals believing in the vision of a program
can stretch far beyond our unlimited imagination, says John-

Lead2Change is more than an after
school program, its a lifestyle, says
Youth Advisory Council alumnae, Jerel
Ballard. When Jerel first joined the
Youth Advisory Council in 2009, was
afraid to speak in front of people and
wasnt involved in many activities.
Through his engagement with
Lead2Change, Jerel took advantage of
opportunities presented to him in-
cluding an internship at Fox 6, count-
less presentations, and emceeing two
DreamBig! events. Jerel is currently a student at Columbia
College in Chicago and is majoring in broadcast journalism,
while also serving as the At Large Senator for his class. Jerel is
just one example of the empowerment of young people.
Being an independent 501c3 for four years has been rewarding
but has not been without its challenges. In year four,
Lead2Change is grateful for the support received from donors,
volunteers and program several partners and champions.
New to the organization, Lead2Change launched
Dream.Explore.Build., a program that helps connect young peo-
ple to their career of interest. Hosted at three sites, this pro-
gram represents students from six schools throughout the
greater Milwaukee community. Currently there are 53 students
participating in the program who are preparing for their paid
internship experience this summer. In addition, Lead2Change
launched Block by Block a program in partnership with Layton
Boulevard West Neighbors and District 7 Milwaukee Police De-
partment. This program is designed to engage young people in
the communities they live.
We are excited to welcome five new board members to
Lead2Change: Jerel Ballard, Natalie Cooper, James Ferguson,
Allan Haas and our incoming board chair Latoya Sykes. Our new
board is excited and committed to expanding opportunities for
our young people.
The goal of Lead2Change is to offer programming that insures
young people have the necessary resources to be effectively
engaged in the workforce and society. Join us by becoming a
volunteer, donor or Lead2Change champion as we together
empower and inspire youth to be catalysts for change in their
Dionne Grayson

Naryan Leazer, Professor at Car-
roll University and Cardinal
Stritch University in Milwaukee,
has served for three years as the
first and only president on the
Board of Directors since
Lead2Change was founded.
Leazer first heard of
Lead2Change before it was an
independent organization and
the Youth Advisory Council was
housed at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. Leazers daugh-
ter completed this program and from there he met Dionnne
Grayson, the Executive Director of Lead2Change.
Leazer decided to join the board because he has always been
involved in activities with young people.
I was impressed with overall impact the program had on the
young people and the value it added to the community, says
Last years DreamBig!, which took place at the Milwaukee
County Zoo, was one of the most memorable accomplishments
that the board contributed to, according to Leazer. The board is
currently working on this years DreamBig! event, the
Dream.Explore.Build. program, solidifying and expanding the
board, and Youth Giving Circles, which are in the discussion
stage at this point. The overall concept of the Youth Giving Cir-
cles involves organizing youth, both affiliated and unaffiliated
with Lead2Chagne, who are willing to contribute to the
circles, that will decide how to spend the money.
As Leazer now transitions out of his position and a new
president will soon take his place, he reflects on his experience
on the board.

For the first 2.5 years, Lead2Change had one of the most di-
verse boards in the city of Milwaukee, says Leazer. It also,
made young people a part of the board and gave them a pow-
erful voice and a strong presence. Their voice and vote were
equal to all other members.
1.) Natalie Cooper
-Director of Adolescent & Holistic Health Initiatives
-Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee

-I am excited to join the Lead2Change Board because
it will afford me the opportunity to support, empower
and sustain a high performing youth development
agency that engages young people as active agents of
their own change, with inherent strengths and skills
to impact the overall well-being of our community
and beyond, says Cooper.

2.) Allan Haas
-President at Brand XLerator
-Im excited to experience kids evolving with
each other while focused on making our community
better for everyone, says Haas.
3.) James M. Ferguson, II
-Director of Corporate Affairs
-WestCare Foundation: Wisconsin

-I am excited about being on the board because I
know that Lead 2 Change is a transformative organiz-
ation working to bring out the best in our youth as well
as to assist our young people in reaching new heights
in their academic and professional careers. This miss-
ion and objectives are extremely important and consis-
tent with my own personal/ professional objectives,
says Ferguson.
4.) LaToya Sykes
-Managing Parnter
-Dampeer & Canady LLC

-Lead2Change is an organization that engages young
people not only as benefactors of service but authentic
leaders in education and service. Im excited to be the
incoming chair for such a forward moving organiza-
tion! says Skyes.


Lead2Change to Host 4th Annual DreamBig! Event at the
Wisconsin Center

Lead2Change will be hosting their 4
annual DreamBig! event
this summer. This years theme is Midnight in Milwaukee, with
the tagline, its never too late to lead.
DreamBig!, Lead2Changes annual grant program, disburses
two $5,000 grants to youth groups who best respond to the
question, What would you do with a $5,000 grant to make
your community better? The driving force of DreamBig! is to
challenge young people to devise a project idea that will posi-
tively impact their community
Youth groups will attend an information session, present their
project ideas to the Youth Advisory Council, and two grant re-
cipients will be announced on the day of the event.
The President of the YAC, Coty Weathersby, is confident about
this years event, I expect DreamBig! to be huge this year. The
attendance has been on a steady rising, growing almost expo-
nentially. The Youth Advisory Council in addition to summer
volunteers and Dream.Explore.Build. participants are dedicating
their entire summer to making this event a success, says
In addition to the grants, the James A. Marks Legacy Award (in
honor of Jim Marks, Youth In Service Fund Founder) will also be
presented to an individual or group who have made a substan-
tial impact in youth programming within Milwaukee, Ozaukee,
Washington, and or Waukesha Counties. DreamBig! 2014 will
be held at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee on Friday, August
8th. The evening will begin with networking at 5:00p.m. fol-
lowed by the program which will begin at 6:15p.m.
The DreamBig! event is open to the community. Those planning
to attend must R.S.V.P. as seats are reserved on a first come
first serve basis. Reservations will begin this summer.
DreamBig! is an annual grant program that disburses two
$5,000 grants to youth groups who respond to the question,
What would you do with a $5,000 grant to make your commu-
nity better? DreamBig! challenges young people to devise a
project idea that will positively impact their community. Youth
groups attend an information session, present their project idea
to the YAC and grant recipients are announced at our annual
DreamBig! event in August.
If you are interested in hosting an information session to learn
how to receive a DreamBig! grant, please call the Lead2Change
office at 414.226.2410 or e-mail
Please be advised that attendance at an information session is
required to apply for a DreamBig! grant. RFPs will be available
on June 2nd.


Every applicant must attend an information session and the
Youth Advisory Council can come to you. Schedule an infor-
mation session today with Ms. Niki at 414-226-2410.




Youth Issue Forum to Discuss Top 5 Issues in Milwaukee
March 15th, 2014

At 9am on a Saturday, area students had already started their
day, gathering at the Body & Soul Healing Arts Center in Mil-
waukee and tackling the top 5 issues affecting young people
1. Stress
2. College and Career Pressure
3. Safety
4. Transportation
5. Bullying
Each issue was given special attention through a group work-
shop that was led by members of the Youth Advisory Council at
Lead2Change. First up was stress, where students learned that
the leading cause of death is heart disease, accidents, and sui-
cide. Most members in the group agreed that sources of high
stress in their lives included time management, homework,
extra curricular activities, and family problems. In order to re-
lieve stress, students suggested talking their problems out and
finding positive outlets.
As many of the students were upper class high school students,
college and career pressures were on everyones mind. Here
students learned that 31% of admissions counselors visit Face-
book pages, but it wasnt just social media that had some stu-
dents concerned. It was the pressure they felt from their fami-
lies and a lack of independence from being too sheltered in high
school, causing them to feel unprepared. Students also men-
tioned the increasing demand on S.T.E.M. (science, technology,
engineering, and math) careers.
Deanna M., an 18-year-old senior at Wisconsin Virtual Acade-
my, explained there are resources available to high school stu-
dents to address such concerns, such as the Youth Options Pro-
gram. This program provides opportunities for high school stu-
dents to get a head start on a technical certificate or an associ-

ates degree, learn more about a field of interest, and develop
skills for entering the workforce immediately after high school
graduation, according to their website.
Safety was also of high concern for the group, as many students
attend schools where fighting and violence is a common scene.
During this workshop, an article was presented that explained
how The Milwaukee School Board held a Call to Action meeting
back in 2012 that addressed rising youth violence and the posi-
tive impact of Violence Free Zones in schools. Students men-
tioned the option of placing metal detectors and scanners in
more schools to improve safety, but most students agreed,
even with the benefits of advanced technology, some schools
will always carry the same reputation.
For example, one MPS student in the group revealed that,
Fighting is almost seen as the norm in MPS schools, its almost
acceptable. The only penalty for such behavior is a three day
suspension, according to the same source. A no fight policy,
stricter penalties, and raising awareness were the most popular
The Transportation issue was relatable to students as most re-
lied on a bus or a car for their primary mode of transportation.
So, students were informed of a New Fare System that involves
replacing passes and tickets with electronic cards that can be
reloaded and reused. The new system, which is currently being
implemented into the Milwaukee County Transit System, stimu-
lated mixed reviews among the group. Some thought that going
digital will make the process of paying for bus fares faster and
simpler, while others were concerned of repercussions if the
card would be lost or stolen. The group determined that car-
pooling and scheduling more school buses for after school activ-
ities would help reduce traffic congestion.
The final workshop discussed was bullying, including the detri-
mental side effects of bullying, which involves not just the phys-
ical aspect, but the mental and emotional aspects too. Bullying
can easily become personal as bullies tend to target peoples
talents, pinpoint faults, and sometimes even bully themselves.
Bullying is too close to home all the time. Cant even go out-
side and be safe, says Deanna.
Raising awareness about bullying was a popular solution
acknowledged by the group, but a more proactive approach
involved offering more culture clubs in schools to encourage
diversity and help diminish the stigmas attached to bullying.
When asked if the Youth Issue Forum mad a difference, Coty
W., President of the YAC, said, Its kind of small, but we have a
start. We proposed solutions we havent thought about.

High school Students on Track for Future
March 12
, 2014

Im prepared to fit in the business community. I know how to
present myself and be professional when I need to be, says
Marlena K, a junior high school student from Milwaukee Colle-
giate Academy (MCA) and a member of the
Dream.Explore.Build. program. This program, sponsored by
Lead2Change, helps connect students to their field of interest
and prepares them for college and their future careers.
Sitting in with a class at MCA and interviewing a handful of stu-
dents about Dream.Explore.Build., I learned that MCA is just
one of three host sites representing six schools in the Greater
Milwaukee Area, with the other two locations being West Allis
Central and North Division High School. Offered to 16-24 year
olds the program lasts 11 months, typically running from Octo-
ber through August and consisting of six main portions: Brick by
Brick coursework, Life Shops, individual development meetings,
etiquette boot camps, a summer academy, and an internship.
Alyssa B. P., 16-year-old junior at MCA said that
Dream.Explore.Build. has, helped me gain more professional-
ism and increase my communication skills. Alyssa has dreams
to become a criminal defense lawyer.
When interviewed the students were working on a college as-
signment, which consists of a written report that lists the col-
leges the students plan to attend, the required college courses
students need to take in their field of interest, the amount of
time it would take to graduate, as well as the percentage of
graduates who obtain jobs in their field of interest. In a sepa-
rate assignment the students will write their own resume and
cover letter as a part of the internship interview process. In
preparation the students engaged in an activity to list all possi-
ble components in their life that could be included in their re-
sume. Some examples students gave include: donating to a
blood drive, playing volleyball, and serving as president of stu-
dent council.

Nala S., junior at MCA, says, They really prepare us for the real
world. Nala has plans to go to UW-Parkside or UW-Platteville
when she graduates from high school. She has aspirations to
work in hair design. This program has, given me the ability to
incorporate professionalism, its brought a lot out of me, Nala

The program increases skills in the following areas: communica-
tion, analytical and reflective writing, planning, memory, per-
sonal responsibility, integration skills, and teamwork. Through
the Brick by Brick curriculum, 6-8 week internship experience,
and an advancement coach students are given the opportunity
to navigate multiple challenges through the program experi-
ence with network of peers who share their goals.

The students at MCA represent just a fraction of the total num-
ber of those involved in the Dream.Explore.Build. program who
are displaying strong devotion to their education and future

Kelly Michalski
We have started recruitment for the 2014-2015
Dream.Explore.Build. cohort. Joining our program is your
chance to seriously explore your passion and match it to a ca-
reer interest and internship experience.

Be one of the first to apply with our priority deadline on May
1st or take your time and turn in an application this summer.
We interview rising juniors through 24 year olds as applications
are received, so don't let the program fill up without you!
If you have any questions or concerns please contact Advance-
ment Coach, Kandyce McGowan at 414-226-2410 or

Lead2Change is happy to announce the neighborhoods for the
Neighborhood Engagement Program called Block by Block.
The first neighborhood is Layton Boulevard West, which has
partnered with Layton Boulevard West Neighbors.
Old North Milwaukee is the second neighborhood and they
partnered with the Boys and Girls and the 7th District Milwau-
kee Police Department.
The schools in which the groups will meet include Anna F. Doer-
fler Elementary School and El Puente High School.
Block by Block is a program at Lead2Change that is committed
to the engagement and training of youth concerning neighbor-
hood vitality. Through the program, youth are trained in Asset
Based Community Development as well as project management
to address neighborhood issues that affect them on the daily
Not only are resilient relationships created with each other,
they also find ways to make their community better, and devel-
op a strategy and execute their plans for transformation. The
goal of Block by Block is to enhance and strengthen community
assets from a youth perspective, one block at a time.
Perspective applicants must be area residents and must be able
to meet at the specified locations in order to participate.
Running since March, Block by Block will implement service
projects this summer.
For more information about the Block by Block program please
call the Lead2Change office at 414-226-2410.



Lead2Change, Inc. has aided in
nurturing many youth in the
Milwaukee community into the
leaders they are today.
Lead2Change Alumna, Mariah
Scott, is no exception.
Scott, born and raised in Mil-
waukee, graduated from Divine
Savior Holy Angels High School
in 2011. While in Lead2Change,
Inc. Scott stood out as a leader.
In addition to being an integral
member on the transition team,
her expertise, honesty and com-
mitment was a great asset to
the organization.
Scotts leadership in Lead2Change has extended into their col-
lege career. She is now a third-year Mass Media and Communi-
cation major at DePaul University student with a double minor
in Spanish and Journalism. As a McNair Scholar, Scott was able
to travel to Argentina and produce a documentary about AMF
and McNair scholar experiences. The trip gave her a new under-
standing of culture and acceptance.
Her passion to improve the community around her has not
changed either. During her freshmen year, she started an or-
ganization Speaking Out as Unified Leaders (SOUL), which is
housed under DePaul. SOUL teaches creative writing and public
speaking to marginalized youth 6
through 8
grade in the Chi-
cago area. The organization partners with different schools and
fosters a constructive environment where youth can speak
freely while engaging in activities created to afford them a posi-
tive outlet and live up to their full potential. Scott plans to es-
tablish it as its own non-profit before she graduates and take it
national within the next ten years.
Her achievement and community work has led her to recently
be crowned Miss Black Illinois USA 2014. With her new role, she
continues to promote her platform: SOUL. Scott will continue
to endorse arts education, encourage others to take ownership
of their own education and help others fully understand their
own self-worth and self-value.
Lead2Change congratulates Mariah Scott on her recent success-
es and cant wait to see the other great things she will do in the

Or gani at i o Name



On behalf of all of us at Lead2Change, we would like to congrat-
ulate our seniors serving on the Youth Advisory Council for their
dedication, efforts, and accomplishments. Thank you Coty,
Maddie, Megan, and Markiya for all of your hard work!

Coty W.: 18 year-old student at Rufus King International School

-Position: Youth Advisory Council President
-Years Served: 4 (Also served as the Pre and Post Inter-
view Committee Chair for three consecutive terms)
-Skills Learned: Leadership skills
-Future Plans: Attend UW Madison in the fall and ma-
jor in chemical engineering. Hopes to one day start
her own non-profit, to promote engineering and
science to urban youth.

Maddie K.: 17 year-old student at Divine Savior Holy Angels
High School

-Position: Pre and Post Interview Chair
-Years Served: 3
-Skills Learned: Public speaking, working with large
groups, delegating tasks, and time management
-Future Plans: Attend Duke University and major in
biology and global health and become involved with
Doctors Without Borders.

Megan W.:17 year-old student at Riverside High School

-Position: Junior Program Officer
-Years Served: 3
-Skills Learned: Maturity and teamwork skills
-Future Plans: Obtain a masters degree in social work
and psychology and become a social worker


-Position: Awards and Service Chair
-Years Served: 5 (Also served as the Finance Chair)
-Skills Learned: Leadership and teambuilding skills
-Future Plans: Attend UW Madison and major in busi-
ness management and minor in real estate and mar-
Coty W.
Prior to the Youth Advisory
Council, I was not seriously
committed to any extracurricu-
lar nor had I any community
service experience, says
Coty. This was definitely an
opportunity for me to get in-
volved with my community.
Maddie K.
I love how we are able to
reach so many different
groups of people and so many
different parts of the city by
distributing grants to groups
who reach people of all walks
of life, says Maddie.
Megan W.
I felt like Id be making a
difference in my community,
says Megan. It made me
realize that i wanted to help
youth and the community at
the same time.
"Lead2Change has helped me
improve my weaknesses and
cultivate my strengths."

Lead2Change continues to thrive and operate successfully with
the help of donors such as Mona Johnson. Your donation to
Lead2Change will go a long way by allowing us to equip young
people with the necessary tools and resources they need in
order to be catalysts for change in the Greater Milwaukee
community. Donating is simple. Visit our website at and click on the donate button on the
homepage. You may pay by credit card or mail a check to the
address listed in this publication. Below are examples of how
your grant dollars will empower teens through philanthropy tin
the greater Milwaukee community.
$2,500 can provide grant resources for a young person to cre-
ate and lead a service project, such as the ones highlighted in
this issue.
$2,520 will provide a pizza for a year for the Youth Advisory
Council (YAC) members formulate ways to impact communities
through grant making.
$5,000 will provide a DreamBig! grant to the youth group that
best responds to the question, What would you do with a
$5,000 grant to make Milwaukee better? Two grant recipients
will be announced at our annual DreamBig! Event August 9th,
$5,000 will support a Dream.Explore.Build. class.
$10,000 will pay for two annual teambuilding events for Youth
Advisory Council members. Teambuilding involves assisting
youth in becoming catalysts for change.
$12,000 will cover general operating expenses for the organiza-
tion. Lead2Change is composed of qualified staff and consult-
ants, working behind the scenes to bring the organizations
goals to fruition. We believe that youth leadership is a partner-
ship and that quality staff members play a major role in the
success of executing our programs. Besides, we want to keep
the lights on!
Financial contributions of any dollar amount are accepted and
all donations will go towards our mission to empower and
inspire youth to be catalysts for change in their communi-

Feel free to contact us with any questions, comments, or sug-
Lead2Change, Inc.
735 N. Water Street, Suite 727
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Mission: to empower and inspire youth to be catalysts for
change in their communities

Vision: a community strengthened through constructive youth
engagement in all aspects of society.

Upcoming Dates:
May 1st-James A. Marks Legacy Award RFP Available
May 31st-Philanthropic Youth of Today Award
June 1st-Dream.Explore.Build. General Admission Deadline
June 2nd-DreamBig! RFP available
August 8th-2014 DreamBig! Event
August 9th-Dream.Explore.Build. Graduation