Welcome to OFS

Watch the new OFS Video that debuted at the Graduation Awards Celebration!

A Vision for the Community—An OPTION for Each Youth

Our vision for the community is that each youth has a path forward. This includes completing high school and training to prepare him or her for self-sustaining employment. For each young person not completing high school with their class this year, Operation Fresh Start–through partial funding by Madison Community Foundation–will work to engage them in building their path through a new project called OPTIONS, an expansion of the Pathways program with Madison schools. OPTIONS will engage more than 200 Dane County youth ages 16-24 who are not on track to complete high school. We will help them understand their options–from a GED, to OFS programming, to credit recovery through their local school district. We will help them chart their future, determine how to overcome potential barriers to success, and achieve their goal of finishing high school and starting a career.

As a community, we have the option of engaging disconnected youth or letting them slide. If we let them slide, we have a lost investment and a future cost. The lost investment? All the money, time, and educational resources that went into that youth’s first 12 years of school. The future cost? Each high school dropout costs the community $254,000 per youth in social service and corrections expenses.

To effectively engage disconnected youth, we need your help to make sure that each youth knows a path is available. OPTIONS provides options about this path. With your help, we can turn dropouts into graduates.

Madison Community Foundation encourages, facilitates, and manages long-term philanthropy. Since 1942, the foundation staff has helped people realize their philanthropic goals, allowing them to support charitable interests anywhere in the world. The community foundation also awards grants throughout Dane County to build communities. More information is available online at www.madisoncommunityfoundation.org     

Your gifts help young people get a second chance in life by working toward their high school diploma, learning job skills, developing career goals and strategies to achieve them, and serving their communities by building homes or working on conservation crews. In the process, they fundamentally change their lives and roles in society. As Dane County’s largest youth employment, education, and training program for disconnected youth ages 16-24, Fresh Start addresses the core issues facing Dane County communities: education, employment, crime prevention, affordable housing and leadership development. Five construction crews and two conservation crews (each with 8-12 young people) function as expeditionary learning labs where participants spend 80% of their time giving back to the community and becoming self-sufficient.

Operation Fresh Start is a non-profit builder of affordable housing constructing new or remodeling homes. These homes are sold on the open market to low- and moderate-income buyers. OFS is able to provide financial assistance to make the homes more affordable to buyers. Email or call 608-345-5577 to speak with Laurie Logan about our homes. VIEW OUR AVAILABLE HOMES NOW!

Operation Fresh Start Conservation Corps
OFS has year-round conservation crews available to complete meaningful, labor intensive conservation and community development work projects on public lands in South Central Wisconsin.

For a modest funding match, almost all units of government and non-profit organizations can sponsor an OFS crew. Eligible project sponsors include school districts, lake associations, environmental groups, historical societies, civic organizations, divisions of local government, many sporting clubs, and more. Find out more about our conservation crews and what they can do for your community or organization.