NEWaukeean of the Week

Brad Schlaikowski

"If there is one child sleeping on the street at night, that is one child too many. "

By - Jan 9th, 2017 12:24 pm
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Brad Schlaikowski. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Brad Schlaikowski. Photo courtesy of NEWaukee.

Where do you work and what makes your role awesome?

I am the Founder and Executive Director of Courage MKE. Courage MKE is Milwaukee’s newest non-profit that supports the LGBTQ+ youth in our communities ensuring they have the skills, tools and resources needed to grow into successful leaders throughout the community. Our three main focuses are:

  • Working with state funding and donors to raise money to open and sustain “The Courage House.” A drop in shelter with onsite support for any LGBTQ youth that has suffered mental or physical abuse, has no means to support themselves or needs a place to call home temporarily.
  • Community outreach through local high school Gay Straight Alliances. This is one of our proactive approaches to reach out to at-risk children. We work with our community partners through safe sex education, substance abuse support and overcoming day to day challenges to ensure these children do not end up on the streets. We also award one high school GSA a grant each month to allow them to continue to make a positive impact within their school community.
  • Encouraging and supporting post high school education. We have established the Dawn Bloomfield Scholarship Fund. Each year through a written essay application, we will award high school seniors with scholarships to help with their post high school education. What makes my role awesome is that I get to build so many new relationships with community leaders but, more importantly, I get to see the smile on a young person’s face when they finally get to see what it means to be accepted for who they are regardless of who they are or who they love.

What is something that is missing from your community that you would love to see implemented?

I would really like to see the many amazing community non-profit organizations in our city work together more often. Each of us do amazing things for the people in our communities but, I am a firm believer that if we partnered more we have the ability to do more good and make really significant improvements to policies, resources and awareness.

If you could create one thing in your city, what would it be?

This one is easy. The Courage House.

What local restaurant is at the top of your list?

I have to say Crazy Water hands down. From the service to the food, the entire experience there is simply amazing.

What is your biggest hope for your city?

My biggest hope for our city is that more people join us in building awareness and the blinders come off and we all face the reality of what we aren’t admitting to. If there is one child sleeping on the street at night, that is one child too many. Sadly, the reality is we are talking about hundreds, not just one. Did everyone hear me? I said hundreds of children are sleeping on our streets at night because they have no home to go to and no one wants to talk about it. Courage MKE has decided that this can no longer happen and we are bringing it to the forefront of the conversation, in our communities and with our community leaders.

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