I can't say that I was ready for snow yet but our 3 boys have been enjoying it. The day after the first big snow, the boys and I went snowshoeing in honor of our dear friend, mentor, teacher Donna Wishowski (more on Ms. Donna later). I was surprised at how well the twins did for the first time in snowshoes.
I am so excited to tell you about some BIG news in the world of Power House so I hope you will enjoy this update!
This summer the board of directors hired Nicole Johnson as the Power House Program Director! Their family moved here from Yale MI in August. She is the busy mom of 4 children ranging in age from 3-12. Her and her husband Ben have been in ministry together for a while. Her love for God, students, family and baking make her a perfect fit for this position. She makes & decorates beautiful cakes! In the past Nicole has volunteered in her churches children’s ministry, worked at a bakery, and helped her husband with the youth ministry. It has been a joy getting to know Nicole and watch her take off in this position. She is very creative and jumps right in to hang out and do things with the students.
In the August update, I told you how we were staying in touch with the students during quarantine when we could not be in our building. Our first day back together again was Monday, September 14th. I believe all of our hard work of staying in contact with the students worked as we had 20-25 students with some new faces! Nicole, planned a fun night of "Kiss Summer Goodbye." All those fun summer things, s'mores, ice cream, yard games and just getting to see each other were highlights of the evening. We have been going strong ever since with new students every week.
On Monday, August 17th @ 8:10pm our dear friend, mentor, and teacher Donna Wishowski lost her long battle with cancer and went into the arms of Jesus. Sigh, I don't have words to tell you all the emotions, thoughts, feelings that have come with losing her. When God first put the vision of Power House on my heart Donna was one of the first people that I met with to share the vision and you should have seen her face light up. For 30 years Donna ran a Kinship (like a big brother/big sister) program here in Ladysmith. So to hear that something was again coming to our community to help the youth was an answer to her, and many others, prayers for many years. She has been my go-to-person through this journey on all the mountaintops and during the valleys. When something exciting would happen and I wanted to tell someone I always picked up the phone and called Donna cause I knew that she would be just as excited, if not more, than I was. She taught me so many things that I still think about to this day when making decisions. From the first meeting we had together to the very last one she attended her words of wisdom are forever in my heart. At the first meeting, even before the group was officially a board, some things were said that made me upset. I remember calling Donna the next day pouring my heart out to her and she said "Lanita, we have to stay true to the mission of what we are wanting to do." Then at our last meeting I was presenting something to the board and asked them what we should do. Donna says, "We know what is right and that is what we need to do." Yes, indeed those two phrases ring in my ears all the time and I am forever grateful for her influence in my life. A few days before she passed away, some Power House students and their mom went to sing for Ms. Donna. She could not speak anymore but could write. She asked her daughter to get her the box of goodies that some family had sent. She wrote the most beautiful message on the box. We took and framed it so that we can have it with us forever (see picture below for the message). No matter what needed to be done from serving the students food, teaching the students how to kayak/make pudgy pies, ringing bells with students for Salvation Army, writing and receiving grants, serving on the board of directors, she was always willing to help. Though we miss her, oh so very much, I am so thankful for all the lives she touched that will continue to carry on the Gospel because of her influence.
Tuesday, October 6th we had our 3rd fundraiser event. This year was a little different but the incredible team of people that planned and worked so hard to make this event a success were amazing. God truly had His hand in the whole event orchestrating it from the very beginning. Way back late winter/early spring when the board was discussing speaker options, Donna mentioned Chrissy Anderson's name. Chrissy was a Kinship student of Donna's back in the day who has an incredible story. Donna reached out to her and Chrissy agreed to be our speaker. Then the concept of Power House being a "mechanism" that works together with 5 key parts: our mission, admin, volunteers, parents/students, YOU was demonstrated with a visual of 5 gears on a board and when the last gear was put up there was a handle on it that made the whole "mechanism" turn. In order to keep a mechanism working/turning you need prayer (represented by WD-40). The whole evening of honoring our beloved Donna who had handpicked the speaker, who when Donna called her was able to, for the first time, tell her just how influential her life was to her, to visualizing how Power House is a "mechanism" in our community to the youth, was truly the hand of the Lord at work. If you would like to see a video recording of the evening please email me, and when it is done being edited, I will send you a copy.
And for the most exciting news........we moved to the old Ladysmith Elementary School! Our first night was Monday 10/19. You guys, I wish you could have been there the first night when the students came. They were SO excited about all the space! They were literally running around from room to room taking it all in. We are loving being able to get our things out of storage, cleaned up, and seeing the students use them. We have an office, craft room, tutor lab, music room, lounge area, game room, kitchen & cafeteria area. We are so thankful for the city working with us to make this space available to our youth.
We will be having our first Friday night event on Nov 13th from 8pm-10pm for High School students. If you know any that live around here please pass the word around! We are doing a coffee Bar theme with live music (hopefully) and pizza! Of course the game room and other areas are available as well. If you have any questions please email me.
The future is bright and we are so excited to see all the great things that God does through Power House to reach our youth in Rusk County. Of course, none of this is possible without your prayer, volunteer, and financial support. Due to having to have smaller numbers at our fundraiser event this year, we are about $6,000 short from last year. If you haven't had a chance to give yet and would like to help us make up this difference our students and team would be grateful. You can send a tax-exempt gift to Power House P.O. Box 426 Ladysmith, WI 54848 or give online here . We are so thankful for each and everyone of you and please feel free to forward this email to others that you think might enjoy hearing what Power House is doing even if they don't live near here.
It takes a team to make it all happen and YOU are a part of the Power House mechanism!
Ex. Dir. Power House