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HAWS Uses SPARK Grant to Launch New Program

Dec. 15, 2013

The Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) in Waukesha is using a $5,000 SPARK grant from Diversified Insurance Solutions to fund a new program targeted to 200 area youth who have been ordered by the court to complete community service. As of January 2014, HAWS will implement The Citizen Project to teach teen offenders responsibility and concern for others.

“We’ve wanted to offer The Citizen Project for the past few years but our budget has never been able to cover it,” says Lynn Olenik, executive director of Humane Animal Welfare Society. “Now, thanks to the SPARK money, we can bring on a volunteer coordinator to direct the program and ensure teens are learning from their interaction and care of animals.”

The Citizen Project is patterned after successful programs around the country that pair juvenile offenders with animals. The teens are referred to HAWS by the Waukesha County court system.

“We’re excited that our funds will be used to help teach area teens valuable life skills that we hope will put them on the right track for the future,” says James McCormack, founder and chairman of Diversified Insurance Solutions. “Our SPARK Giveback program was designed to provide an infusion of cash so local nonprofits can address an immediate issue or a problem.”

The Waukesha County youth will spend three to five hours a week at HAWS where a volunteer coordinator will show them how to teach dogs basic commands, reward the animals for listening and give affection to canines, cats and kittens. During the program, the youth will see first-hand the results of clear guidance and direction from humans.

“As a company, we’re extremely community minded so we wanted to celebrate our anniversary in a way that has an impact beyond our doors,” says McCormack. “We hope our program will spark change and positive results in the community. We’d also like it to have a ripple effect so other small and medium-sized businesses are encouraged to get involved in the community and give back in any way they can.”

Tax exempt, nonprofit organizations in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties are encouraged to submit their grant request at www.DiversifiedSPARK.com now through April 30, 2014. A total of six nonprofits will be awarded $5,000 each to positively impact the community and people they serve.

Diversified Insurance Solutions is one of Wisconsin's largest, full-service insurance brokers, providing employee benefits, risk management and business insurance to area companies. For more information, visit www.div-ins.com.

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