Appleton, WI (March 23, 2018) SOAR Fox Cities is excited to announce their, Make I.T. SOAR (I.T. stands for Intellectual Technicians) program was awarded a prestigious Force for Positive Change Award. Accompanying the award is a $12,500 grant provided in partnership by the Wisconsin Alumni Research (WARF), John and Tashia Morgridge, Marquette University, Promega, and American Family Insurance. Awards were announced at the Force for Positive Change Event held at Marquette University on Thursday, March 22, 2018.
This is the second year of the Force for Positive Change event and awards ceremony. When the program first launched in 2016 there were two goals: Shine a light on the impactful work already taking place across Wisconsin; and inspire and engage the next generation of social entrepreneurs eager to make a difference. This year there were over 150 for-profit and non-profit applicants from throughout Wisconsin in six different categories including Food/Agriculture, Energy/Cleantech/Water/Environment, Finance/Lending/Housing, Education/Youth Programming, Manufacturing/Art/Design/Construction, and Workforce and Urban Development. The judging committees were struck by the stories of all the applicants and the ways in which each of them became a Force for Positive Change within their communities by demonstrating that it is possible to emphasize both social impact and financial stability. For more information on the Force for Positive Change visit https://www.warf.org/through-programs-and-events/for-inventors-entrepreneurs-and-researchers/force-for-positive-change/force-for-positive-change.cmsx.
The Make I.T. SOAR program gives high functioning individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) an opportunity to be gainfully employed in the information technology industry. Our program allows individuals with autism to have the opportunity to be gainfully employed and to fill the community need of IT talent.
Studies show that autism is the fastest growing developmental disability and autism in U.S. children has increased by 119.4% from 2000 to 2010. 35% of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school (Shattuck et al., 2012). Some estimates indicate that the rate of underemployment among adults with autism exceeds 90%. According to the Economic Outlook presented by the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce on in February 2015, and article published in November 2015 by NNB2B, there is a shortage of IT talent in the Fox Cities. Many high functioning individuals on with ASD have high technical skills and interest. These two key factors are the reasons Make I.T. SOAR program’s mission is to empower high functioning individuals with autism to pursue their dreams and utilize their talents in the technology industry.
Executive Director of SOAR Fox Cities, Erin Schultz, “We are honored to have been chosen as one of the recipients of a Force for Positive Change Award. There were over 150 well deserving applicants and for Make I.T. SOAR to have been chosen is truly humbling. It also sends a clear message about the social change we’re working to create within the Fox Cities and throughout the State of Wisconsin. Sadly, more often than not, individuals with developmental disabilities are only seen for their disabilities, not their abilities and SOAR Fox Cities and Make I.T. SOAR are working diligently to break this stigma. Receiving this award reaffirms what we’re doing and has energized our efforts.”
SOAR Fox Cities, Inc., often referred to simply as SOAR, is excited to announce the hire of Erin N. Schultz as the organization’s new Executive Director.
Schultz joins the leadership team at SOAR with over 10 years of non-profit leadership experience, a significant portion of which has focused on program and organizational development, fund development, and strategic planning. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Marian University, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s Masters in Social Work Program, and completed a non-profit leadership certificate at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.
Most recently Schultz served as the Executive Director of Hope House of Manitowoc County, Inc., a shelter program serving homeless families located along the Lakeshore in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. During her tenure with Hope House, Schultz lead the organization through a relocation to a new operating location and facilitated a capital campaign to help fund renovations to the new building and the move.
“I am beyond excited to have joined the amazing team that already exists at SOAR” Schultz notes. “I truly look forward to serving the nearly 1,200 individuals, families, and corporations from throughout the Fox Cities region that SOAR serves.” Schultz continues, “The mission of SOAR to empower people with differing abilities clearly spoke to me. I believe in the inherent ability EVERYONE holds and believe that every individual, regardless of ability, has something to share with the world.”
Schultz began with SOAR on January 8, 2018.
SOAR Fox Cities Annual Corn Roast!
Tuesday, August 22nd from 5:30-8:00 PM
Location: Pierce Park (1035 W. Prospect Ave., Appleton)
Theme: “Celebrating Community”
There’s a lot to celebrate in the Fox Cities with so many organizations that make this community a great place to call home. Join us for a fun-filled night as we are joined by a variety of local organizations and community groups! Each will provide a game or activity for your enjoyment. An event you don’t want to miss! Fun for all ages!
Registration & Cost (Registration, including names of all attending, and payment is due August 14th.)
Þ Anyone who attends without registering in advance will be invoiced $10.
Þ No payments will be accepted at the park.
For Corn Roast questions, please contact Diane at 920-731-9831 ext. 100
Registration starting at 5:30, Meal starting at 6:00 PM
2017 Camp Onaway Space Camp hosted 47 campers for four nights and five days of jam packed action. Campers took part in swimming, fishing, boating, mini golf, science experiments and nature activities. They also launched rockets they built themselves up to 50 feet in the air.
The weather was great, the chain of lakes was beautiful and the company outstanding! Here’s counting down to 2018 Camp Onaway! If you can’t wait, remember we have two weekend camps and one 4 day camp that runs from 8 am-3 pm in August!
Please join us in welcoming Julie Biesterveld as the newest member of the staff at SOAR Fox Cities. Julie has had a passion for interacting with and learning from individuals with differing abilities since a very young age. She followed her heart and graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language Studies, a minor in Community Education, and a certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders. She began her career within the Autism community as a Line Therapist at Beyond Boundaries of Autism, later becoming a part-time Senior Therapist when they merged with Agnesian Healthcare out of Fond du Lac. Julie is thrilled to be a part of the Make I.T. SOAR team and is enthusiastic about supporting our mission. In her free time, you can find Julie spending time with her family and friends, practicing yoga, or staying active outdoors. Welcome Julie!