Newaukee
NEWaukeean of the Week

Erik Kennedy

"Milwaukee is the perfect place for someone to 'get their foot in the door.'”

By - Nov 11th, 2013 12:42 pm
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Erik Kennedy

Erik Kennedy

What is your job and its responsibilities?
I am the Volunteer and Leadership Development Coordinator for YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. I am responsible for the coordination of volunteer opportunities for those wanting to strengthen the foundations of the community. Through this role, I cultivate relationships with numerous local organizations, businesses, schools, and community volunteers to help support events such as: the Miracle League All-Star game, community clean-ups, the Y’s urban garden, holiday drives and events, Bank Your Future mentoring event, and the MLK Day of Service. I am able to help strengthen the foundations of the Greater Milwaukee community and more importantly, I am able to connect those wanting to make a difference with an opportunity to share their passion, experiences and knowledge with others.     

How long have you lived in Milwaukee and what brought you here?
I have lived in Milwaukee for five years, but have been familiar with Milwaukee since I was young.  My parents are originally from Milwaukee, but lived in Akron, Ohio. Every summer when I was growing up, we would come to Milwaukee to visit family and friends.  What I remember most from those visits are Kopp’s Custard and Cousin’s Subs. To be honest, Milwaukee has always had an impact on my life growing up because of my roots and family traditions. With that in mind, the reason I moved to Milwaukee five years ago was because I joined the AmeriCorps team through the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee and built a strong foundation here. I have fallen in love with the city, despite my dislike for snow, because of my career and the friendships I have cultivated.

What is your favorite Milwaukee building?
There are so many buildings to choose from due to the rich history of each one, but by far my favorite building in Milwaukee is Werner Family Foundation Field or the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee-Miracle League complex.  It may seem like a shameless plug, but the reason it is my favorite establishment is because it provides an opportunity for children and teenagers with cognitive and physical disabilities to be included in America’s pastime—baseball.

Miracle League is Milwaukee’s first universally-accessible baseball league, for children with physical and mental disabilities, which means anyone is able to participate.  The players wear MLB gear, walk-up to his/her own theme music, and the facility itself has an amazing announcer, a concession stand, dedicated fans, stadium lights and so much more.

The Milwaukee-Miracle League complex is home to a positive environment and helps build relationships amongst players, families and volunteers. Miracle League is like a Lay’s potato chip, “you can’t just have one” because you will want to come back again and again for this memorable experience.

Do you see this as a good city for young people?
I definitely think Milwaukee is an amazing place for young professionals. It is truly is a big city with a small town feel. There are so many outlets to strengthen the foundations of the community from volunteerism to leadership opportunities. There is never a dull moment when it comes to social outings (festivals, concerts, 5K’s, sporting events, Brew tours, tailgates, and so much more)!  One can definitely lay a foundation here in Milwaukee, just like I have, and create your own journey.

How would you rate Milwaukee as a place to work and do business?
I think Milwaukee is the perfect place for someone to not only “get their foot in the door,” but also continue to grow as a professional. For me, the collaborations and partnerships with numerous organizations, schools, and businesses that my colleagues and I have created to help support the Y’s programs has been remarkable. Through these collaborations, I have cultivated lasting relationships that have made me become a better professional and more importantly a better person. I especially attribute my professional success to NEWaukee, Best Buddies, Associated Bank Young Professionals, the WGirls, AmeriCorps Alumni, Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee, and everyone else who has supported so many of the Y’s volunteer programs.

What makes Milwaukee a good place to live?
I love the diversity that Milwaukee offers through all of the various festivals, concerts, areas to live, sporting events, volunteer opportunities, restaurants, and nightlife.  The community has a strong voice and is empowered to make a difference in Milwaukee. As with any place to live, Milwaukee has its struggles, but I strongly feel like we are addressing this through community advocates coming together to address issues and make lasting change.

NEWaukee’s Seasons of Giving:
“We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”

With that in mind, NEWaukee’s Seasons of Giving is a time where we can show our community how grateful we are to be a part of it.  Check out the NEWaukee website for more information because we are helping six amazing organizations, including the YMCA, that are strengthening the foundations of the Greater Milwaukee community.

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