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Our Impact

Operation Fresh Start views every young person as an asset to our community.

Throughout Operation Fresh Start’s 50-year history, construction crews have built more than 250 affordable homes across Dane County. Conservation crews have worked on projects across multiple Dane County and City of Madison parks. Check out their impact on these interactive maps!

Construction Sitemap

Conservation Sitemap


Since our founding in 1970, OFS has created opportunities for young adults who have faced barriers to education and employment. OFS is equipping young people with the skills and knowledge necessary to find their own success and, with our community partners, working to create equitable pathways for their continued success.

Our primary goal is to provide emerging adults a path to self-sufficiency.  OFS graduates earn a high school diploma, driver’s license and a post-secondary education stipend from AmeriCorps.  They also learn necessary employability and leadership skills that can lead to high-paying careers.  We aim for each of our graduates to find sustainable employment and/or pursue higher education.

Our focus on diploma attainment and employment makes good fiscal sense for our community.  A high school diploma and driver’s license are the top two most required qualifications for employers.  The OFS programming also helps reduce recidivism.

Along with transforming the lives of participants, OFS programming also benefits our community.  Participants build affordable homes and complete conservation projects to promote environmental equity and maintain the natural beauty of city and county parks.

OFS Elizabeth.webp

Over the last 50+ years, OFS has enrolled more than 8,000 young people. In our main, AmeriCorps-affiliated Legacy program, 75% of participants earned their high school diploma in 2022.

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