By Dave Link, Eastside News
Madison East High senior Greta Craemer-Meihsner has been involved with Goodman Community Center for over three years. As she prepares to graduate from East and begin a new chapter in her life studying at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to be an animator, she will remember fondly her time at GCC.
“I’m really grateful to be here,” Greta said. “(I love) the sense of community here.”
Greta began working with GCC’s Preservation CSA before the coronavirus pandemic. When Fritz Food Pantry demand exploded during the pandemic, she started volunteering in it, which she still does after school one day a week. As COVID-19 restrictions eased, she joined Goodman’s catering team and has also been part of the team of teens evaluating Goodman programs through the lens of youth.
“I liked to be able to collaborate with all the different people at Goodman,” Greta said. “The adults here are trusted.”
She feels Goodman has helped prepare her for life after high school.
“It’s given me confidence and good skills. I can think more critically, and I’m more of a leader,” she said.
As generally happens at the end of high school, there are things that are going to be missed. Greta said she will miss the music and art programs at East and all the friends she’s made after quarantine ended. At Goodman, she’s going to miss the staff and work environment.
“Goodman is a really good work environment for teens,” she said. “Staff are on your side and are not adversarial. That’s really helpful for your first job.
“Goodman has made an impact on who I am,” Greta said. “I’m going to miss it here.”
By Thomas Tatus, GCC program participant
As a high school senior, figuring out my post-high school plans wasn’t easy. It took some time and effort. College was always an option or maybe a gap year. My parents and sister went to college, and that motivated me to follow in their footsteps. I have been accepted into multiple colleges, one of them being the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where my parents and sister are alumni. I have decided to go with UW-Madison.
I feel both excited and nervous about post-high school life. On the one hand, I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life, meet new people and gain new experiences. On the other, I’m nervous about the unknown and the challenges that will come with it.
I’ve been with Goodman since I was in middle school. I grew up in the program, and it has shaped me into the man I have become today. Through its programming, I gained valuable life information and advice — from general knowledge to career planning. Thanks to Goodman, I was able to gain a better understanding of my options and make informed decisions about my future.
During my time at GCC, I’ve been involved with middle school programs and continued through all four years of high school. During high school I did FYI work with the elementary kids, worked with other high school students as a staff member, and currently I am working with TEENworks in hospitality.
My favorite thing about my GCC programs is the hands-on experience they provided. There’s an opportunity to apply skills that we learned to our everyday lives.
Goodman has been my second home. I could always run to Goodman if I needed someone to talk to or if I needed advice. Today, I am a leader and a strong-minded individual due to GCC. I’m going to miss the strong sense of family and bond that the Goodman community brings.
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Art by members of the Madison Art Guild