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Welcome Home: Jordan's Impossible Made Possible

Written by Urban Ecology Center
    Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Welcome Home: Jordan's Impossible Made Possible

Skipping school, dodging the Riverside Park branch manager and free snacks leads to a home away from home…the perfect recipe for an “Impossible made Possible” at the Urban Ecology Center!

Jordan first came to the Urban Ecology Center in middle school on a Neighborhood Environmental Education Project fieldtrip. He remembers Mr. Flower coming and picking up his class in the busses and how cool it seemed to hang out in the woods. When he became a 9th grader at Riverside University High School, he realized that the Center’s Riverside Park branch was right across the field from his new school. He could come and visit afterschool!

Unfortunately, the topics of his last two classes were not his favorite subjects and Jordan’s trips to the Center started earlier in the day than they should have; a pattern that was noticed and discouraged by Jamie Ferschinger, Riverside Park Branch Manager.

Jordan was in a hard place in his life. Although he was living in a group home was longing for “a place that feels more like home.” He needed a place where he could feel welcomed and accepted.

He admits that at first he wasn’t comfortable being allowed to spend so much time at the Urban Ecology Center. He said, “it looks like a fancy place that you have to pay to go to.” Knowing that he was skipping some of his classes, he was also nervous when Jamie would confront him about missing school. But with guidance, Jamie was able to help Jordan feel that he is always welcome … as long as he stays in school and comes AFTER class is over!

As he started to feel more welcome, Jordan introduced his friend Thomas to the Urban Ecology Center. The two then started bringing more friends with them. “The free snacks are awesome and there are lots of friendly people who would help if we need them. We can talk and be ourselves and we are always treated really nice.” For Jordan, the Riverside Park branch has become the “home away from home” he was looking for.

Spending time at the Urban Ecology Center has helped Jordan build confidence and make positive changes. He is doing things he once thought were impossible. One of his highlights was to join Mayor Barrett during the Riverside Park leg of Walk 100 Miles in 100 Days. “I didn’t think I was the kind of kid who would get to walk with the Mayor,” he said with a big smile.

We spent some time chatting with Jordan because very soon his life is shifting in a pretty dramatic way; he is moving to Colorado to be with his foster parents. He says he hopes there is an Urban Ecology Center out there. His foster mom Myria is thankful for the role the Center has played in Jordan’s life as he’s gone through some tough years.

“When the Urban Ecology Center was first described to me by Jordan, I pictured something in the inner city of Milwaukee -- institutional and rough around the edges,” said Myria. “When I saw it I was blown away! It’s a sanctuary in the city, full of great educational opportunities.”

“It’s calming; a great, safe place to hang out,” she continued. “For me, I feel a tremendous amount of assurance that when he’s there he’s safe, playing some games, hanging out with friends and maybe even doing a little homework. When I’ve come out to visit, I get to spend time there. Everyone is supportive and it’s fun to hang out and get to know his friends. It’s been an awesome place for him, and for me.”

“The programming you are doing is effective in giving kids alternative, healthy opportunities,” she added. “It helps them make better decisions for their lives.”

The members, donors and friends of the Urban Ecology Center create this warm and welcoming community. Thank YOU for making the Impossible Possible! 

Please join us by making a donation today so we can continue to reach out to more kids like Jordan!

 

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