In an effort to bring about awareness of the more than 6,500 youth in foster care in Wisconsin and the more than 150 who age out of foster care in the state each year, Lad Lake, Inc., will kick off Project Pinwheel this week. Project Pinwheel is an annual initiative that Lad Lake started four years ago during May, which is National Foster Care Awareness Month, as a symbolic reminder of the youth who are in foster care.
In addition to placing pinwheels outside the organization’s Education and Life Skills Center located at 225 W. Capitol Drive, youth will deliver pinwheels to Mayor Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee Common Council and area businesses on May 10th and on May 24th they will travel to Madison to deliver pinwheels to State Legislators.
“When the pinwheels spin in the wind, to us it represents a call to action to help our youth who—through no fault of their own—are in foster care. These young people have aspirations and dreams, but need the care, support, mentoring and other assistance from the community,” said Gary Erdmann, Chief Executive Officer of Lad Lake, Inc. “We don’t want our youth to wander aimlessly with little or no direction. We want to give them the support, purpose and the guidance that they need to be focused and successful.”
Currently, Lad Lake works with more than 350 youth ages 16-23 who are in foster care or who have aged out of foster care each year to help prepare them to live independently. Each year in Wisconsin youth leave the foster system without care and support from their families. On their own, these young adults must learn to navigate a weakened economy offering fewer jobs and less support for vital services such as housing. Lad Lake’s caring staff work to guide and support them to help them succeed as they struggle to find places to live, employment and manage their lives without traditional family support systems.