Welcome to the Silver Spring Neighborhood Blog and News Center

A Humble Request from the SSNC

Posted by Silver Spring Neighborhood Center - 2021-08-06 14:29:10

Hello friends, family, and supporters of the SSNC,


Every Friday we absolutely love sharing stories of the heroes who make our community successful. The number of people who give their time, money, or skills to help thousands of folks in Northwest Milwaukee who need a helping hand is beyond inspiring. Every once in a while, however, we need to share the realities of how these services are provided. We know it’s a bit awkward to peek behind the curtain, but we truly need your help.


Today we want to introduce you to the theme of the Summer:


“Honoring our past… Acknowledging our present… Anticipating our future”


The SSNC was created in 1958 to serve the residents of Westlawn Gardens, Wisconsin’s largest public housing complex. Since then we have expanded into serving all of Northwest Milwaukee, but Westlawn itself has also grown. In 2010, the most ambitious project in state history began: an $85 million makeover of Westlawn, done in collaboration with the city, state, Milwaukee Bucks, Johnson Controls, and more. While Westlawn is run by the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM), the SSNC has been described as the “heart of Westlawn,” offering the services and programming needed for local families to thrive


With the makeover completing at the end of this year, we at the SSNC are trying to finish a long-term project of our own… Finishing our daycare’s playground and finally obtaining a 5-out-of-5 YoungStar rating (which would make us one of the few in Northwest Milwaukee). Besides having a safer, higher-quality space for our youngest to learn and play, the rating provides long-term financial stability. With higher federal reimbursement dollars, we’d have more resources to devote toward the children of our community, putting them on a path toward success from their earliest days.


We've so appreciated your support in the past and present. Will you join us in anticipating a better future?


The SSNC has been blessed with an opportunity to potentially get matching dollars from your donations through a grant via A Community Thrives, nationwide grantmaking and crowdfunding initiative.

All donations to the SSNC provide quality caring for those who need it in Northwest Milwaukee. Plus with the potential of matching dollars, your donation could be doubled!


Whether it’s caring for infants in our childhood development center, helping adults finish their education or re-enter the workforce, offering academic enrichment and counseling to teens, or fighting food insecurity with our community gardens and food pantry, all of these things require funding. We have so many incredible people who follow what we do, but without the proper resources, we are unable to deliver our mission.


Lasting community change is certainly our passion, but it’s also expensive to produce. Will you consider making a donation to the SSNC today? Let’s take a quick moment to cover what your donations will go toward by taking a quick stroll through our whole-family services, from our babies to our seniors.


For the little ones, we have the Elaine Schreiber Child Development Center, which offers services for ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. It's a 4-star YoungStar Accredited center (soon to be 5-Star with donations like yours!), one of the only ones in Northwest Milwaukee. At the center:

  • We serve more than 100 children, ages 6weeks to 12 years.

  • 90% of our Early Childhood Education participants are at an age-appropriate reading level by third grade, compared to just 12% in Milwaukee Public Schools.

  • 95% of participants improved their communication skills.

  • 95% of children displayed developmental improvement in cognitive skills.


As our youngest get older, we have a variety of programming for children and teens, as well as multiple partnerships we're proud of. We actually share the same building as Browning Elementary, and many of our program participants are from there. We have: 

  • Afterschool programming (Continued Learning Center)

  • Teen leadership programs

  • Literacy programs with organizations like SHARP literacy and Literacy Services of Wisconsin

  • Drug and violence prevention programs

  • Art,music, and recreational activities

  • Character education programs

  • College tours (We have 20 students going to Atlanta literally this Sunday to tour a variety of potential schools!)

  • Math programming

  • Learning and athletics programs with organizations such as America SCORES and Milwaukee Tennis & Education Foundation

  • Our Youth Social Development Program (YSDP), which helps youth ages 12-18 develop social skills, promote healthy lifestyles, achieve academic success, and increase cultural awareness


As our school-aged kids get older, we have a program for vulnerable youths between the age of 16 and 24, who are neither enrolled in school nor working. These so-called “Opportunity Youth” are served by our program that:

  • According to the Opportunity Youth Data report (March 2018) published by Milwaukee Succeeds, there are approximately 16,300 Opportunity Youth in the City of Milwaukee

  • Milwaukee's Opportunity Youth population is disproportionately African American

  • Approximately 66% of Opportunity Youth live below 200% of the federal poverty level

  • Of the approximately 16,300, about 3,500 reside in the Silver Spring/Havenswood community, where the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center has been located for over 60 years


To continue critical services for when folks are adults, we have both adult education and adult employment programs:

  • As one of four administering agencies of the Transform Milwaukee Jobs Program (TMJP), we help adults gain work experience through 6 months of subsidized work. After TMJP, we assist participants in finding and maintaining unsubsidized work.


  • For our adult education programming, we help folks get their GEDs or high school equivalency in a partnership with MATC.


We also have a food pantry that fights food insecurity in the 53218, 53209, and 53225 zip codes:

  • Our four-day-a-week Emergency Food Pantry is available to local residents. Last year, we served more than 3,000 different people from our community.

  • On Fridays, senior citizens from any zip code can receive a stock box, which contains a three-day supply of emergency food.

  • We also support pregnant women and their families by providing baby food, diapers, wipes, formula, and pre- and postnatal resources.

We want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to hear our plea. We are passionate about what we do and try not to focus on the financial aspects of it. However, it is a reality that we must face: require support like yours to continue our mission. Any level of support or donation helps, and we cannot thank you enough for allowing us to serve our community and to anticipate a brighter future for all of Northwest Milwaukee.

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