Participant Profiles

Below are profiles of past OFS Legacy (previously called Pathways), Strive, and Grad Crew participants with quotes taken from self-reflection essays which were written while at OFS, and where they’ve been since leaving OFS. For the most up-to-date information about OFS youth, please connect with us through social media.
       

Ashley, 16-17 Legacy (Previously called Pathways) Participant

Ashley came to Operation Fresh Start and participated in the Pathways Program. She successfully completed the program and went on to work for the City of Madison in the Traffic and Engineering Division and the Parks Division.

“Operation Fresh Start gave me courage and support to get through this journey of getting my high school diploma. They also assisted me with finding a career that fits my lifestyle. As a parent of two beautiful children, I feel like OFS helped me make the life change I needed.”

Victoria, 17-18 Legacy (Previously called Pathways) Participant

Victoria came to Operation Fresh Start and was a Pathways member for two terms. She found a love of nature as part of a Conservation Crew. From there, Victoria was hired by the City of Madison Streets and Engineering Division.

“When I think about Operation Fresh Start, I think about family. A great thing about ‘the OFS family’ is that we all have had our ups and downs, but we work through them together and that’s what makes us even more connected.”

Johnnathan, 17-18 Strive – Construction Participant

Johnnathan came to Operation Fresh Start and participated in Strive -Construction. During his time at OFS, Johnnathan truly took advantage of all opportunities offered to him. He successfully graduated from Strive and went on to full-time employment at Webcrafters.

“I am putting my mark on this place.”

Charles, 16-17 Legacy (Previously called Pathways) & Grad Crew Participant

Charles came to Operation Fresh Start and participated in the Pathways Program. He then went on to Graduate Crew where he worked on the crew for about six months. After shadowing J.H. Findorff & Son at the James Site on University, he got “picked up” to work with them as a pre-apprentice in Construction.

“Operation Fresh Start was a life changer. Before I had tried to get in, but wasn’t ready. I was still doing things I shouldn’t be doing. But then finally, the timing was right. I came back, got my high school diploma. I am on the right path and making a living wage as a pre-apprentice. I feel great. I am living a life I never felt was possible…I am at the best in my life.”


Special Feature: Life After OFS

A Letter from Terrence

I initially came to Operation Fresh Start because I was falling behind in High School due to involvement in gang activity. My breaking point was losing my two role models and elder brothers to the prison system (a 12 year sentence for both) when I was Junior at East High. With my crisis and low promise of graduating on time, I was determined to make a change.

My time at OFS was nothing short of magical, and instantly I felt a sense of community. I slowly befriended other students with similar backgrounds and opened up to a genuine staff that made me feel as though my life really mattered. For the 1st time in my life, I felt like my future was in my hands and not in the hands of gang culture — where I had previously found my false Identity. Simply put, those years were some of my happiest and most challenging moments that played a pivotal role in sculpting me into a better man today.

Currently I work at Ameriprint Apparel as the Senior Graphic Designer, and in my spare time, I am a Freelance Designer and Artist. Outside of work, I have gotten the opportunity to work with awesome people — like designing the t-shirts for Ha Long Bay, building a logo for The Badger Project, and working with local musicians like William Z. Villain who is touring in Europe and featured my artwork in Rolling Stone. I will never forget that OFS gave me the grant that bought my 1st MacBook when I started the Graphic Design program!

I reached back to OFS to give back, when I was going through a reflecting period of my life. I realized that I wanted to give back to all the people that played a part in my story and what I realized is that OFS literally saved my life. So, I am forever in your debt.

Thank you for a second chance,

Terrence

When Terrence reached out to OFS and offered to give back, he was recruited to design the posters that will hang in the reception area of our future home. Below is one of the posters that Terrence designed. We can’t wait to show you the rest in our new home! THANK YOU, TERRENCE!