The Aldo Leopold Neighborhood Project Story

"Neighbors came to the games and cheered the kids on and began seeing the police officers in a new light. This has been such a great program to be involved with the YMCA. It has had such a great impact on the kids that the program served in this neighborhood."
– Jim Spahr, Project Leader

Name of Project: The Aldo Leopold Neighborhood Project
YMCA: YMCA of Dane County, Madison, WI
Partner: Madison Planning Commission, Madison Police Department, Madison School District and Madison Parks Division.
Date: Summer 2012 and 2014

Building a Stronger Community

The goal of this partnership was to meet the needs of children in the at-risk/emerging communities in the city of Madison, Wisconsin, specifically the Aldo Leopold Neighborhood. This partnership included 10 volunteers each week who gave 35-40 neighborhood kids the weekly opportunity to play youth sports, stay off the streets, establish relationships with neighborhood police officers and build a sense of stronger community in the Aldo Leopold neighborhood.

One Y Member Takes the Lead

A West YMCA board member by the name of Jim Spahr was passionate about the Aldo Leopold neighborhood. Jim connected the YMCA and the Madison Planning Commission, Madison Police Department, Madison School District and Madison Parks Division. We all came together to discuss the need in that neighborhood. We came away with a consensus of running a flag football program together. The Y organized the league. The school psychologist at Leopold Elementary School helped promote the program with the children at school. The Madison Parks provided and maintained the field space. The Madison Police officers (two officers that worked specifically in the Aldo Leopold Neighborhood) were at the program each week to help the Y staff and volunteers. It was so great to see this collaborative effort in working together to meet the needs of the children in this neighborhood.

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