FOX POINT, Wis. – On Friday, the Cercle de l’Amitié organized a panel discussion highlighting the work they do. The hope is to spread this to many other organizations.
Representatives from the Department of Administration and many other non-profit organizations were present.
The topic of conversation was how to expand services for people with mental health issues and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Both of these topics are something Friendship Circle has been working on for years. They have developed programs that best suit people’s needs.
Their hope is to share their ideas and expand these types of services to more organizations.
Friendship Circle executive director Levi Stein said these are important topics that affect many people in Wisconsin.
“82% of disabled adults are unemployed. Stein said. “And that has to change. When it comes to mental health, nearly three people commit suicide every day in Wisconsin. This affects 20% of the population of people who have suicidal thoughts. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t do anything about it. »
Stein said he hopes more organizations can use their tools and training to have a bigger impact across the state.
Over the past few years, the Circle of Friendship has made a difference in the Fox Point community and beyond.
They are known for their work helping people with disabilities gain job skills, but have recently branched out into mental health services.
Eva Antonoff has just graduated from high school. She is part of the teen leadership group called “U Matter” at Friendship Circle.
Antonoff has had mental health issues in the past and said she wants to use her experience to help others. “I was alone. I had no help, I had no support. says Antonoff. “I was a little lonely. only one way out. Children and teenagers, no one should feel like this.
She said she has grown over the years and is now able to help others in her position at the Friendship Circle.
“I think it goes places. said Antonoff. “I really want to reach more people in more communities. And I’m really happy to be a part of this to make a difference, and I’m really excited about the future of “U Matter.”
Mental health is one of the new initiatives that Friendship Circle is working on. But their core started with workforce training for teens and adults living with disabilities.
Shira Miller has been part of the workforce training program from the start. She worked her way up and is now a barista at the cafe.
“I learn a lot.” said Miller. “I’m learning to make coffee. My boss taught me how to be a pro and how to make coffee.
These are the types of successes Stein has had over the years. He said he wanted to be able to share opportunities like this with others across the state.
“The goal is for the community to see what’s going on, reach out to us, and bring these important programs to your community and help make a difference,” Stein said.
Antonoff said she has seen a difference in herself since being part of this program. She also saw a difference in many others.
“Just being able to help others and learn new things so I can be better at it. said Antonoff. “That makes me happy.”
Their goal is to fight for inclusivity and a brighter future for those struggling to find employment and achieve mental health.