Green Bay, WI -- UWGB students Brooke Fitzgerald and Paula Miller are teaching their classmates something they can't get out of a textbook.
"It's good for students to learn how to become good members of the community and to be involved in civic endeavors," said Miller.
It's why the women joined the Phoenix Philanthropy Club. They've organized the 8th annual Steps to Make a Difference Walk which will raise money for four local charities. They are Harmony Cafe of Green Bay, the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates of Brown County) and Literacy Green Bay.
"It's not everyday that someone knocks on your doors and says, 'Hey, we'd like to give you money,'" chuckled Harmony Cafe Program Leader, Carolyn Desrosiers.
Desrosiers says Harmony Cafe in Green Bay serves more than 8,000 people a year. She describes it as a hub that offers a wide range of services including LGBT programs, free live music and a place for special interest clubs to gather.
"What it means to us to be a part of this walk is it's an opportunity to inform people about everything else that we do and to make even more connections to increase the good work that we're doing," said Desrosiers.
The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance appreciates the same opportunity.
"Our mission is to protect and restore, and I like to say celebrate, the water resources that we have in the area. They're so important to every part of our lives," said member Jessica Schultz.
Schultz says the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance plans to use the money generated through the walk to continue their school programs and expand into rural areas to work with farmers on reducing runoff.
Another recipient is CASA. Volunteers work as a liaison between Brown County's abused and neglected children and the judges who are tasked with making important decisions that impact their lives.
CASA's Executive Director, Connie Greenawald, says her organization is crucial for "at risk" children, "To make sure they're safe, to make sure they get a permanent home, so they can grow up and become productive citizens of our community. We don't want the cycle to keep repeating."
The final non-profit is Literacy Green Bay. The organization provides English tutoring programs for immigrants and their families. The funds will be used to add classes and reduce the space crunch in their building.
When asked about the walk, Literacy Green Bay's Executive Director Kathy Cornell said, "It's great to know that there are students that want to help the community, that they have identified areas that they see need help and that they want to reach out and give back to the community."
They're students who are making a big difference with one small step.
"Knowing how much we raised for each of the non-profits and seeing and knowing what that will do for them is just going to be the best," said Fitzgerald.
The Steps to Make a Difference Walk is being held Saturday, October 19th on the arboretum trail at UWGB. Registration begins at 9:30am at the Mauthe Center on campus. Walkers can choose which non-profit their registration fee will benefit.
For more information, click on this link... http://www.uwgb.edu/steps/