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JONAH - Joining Our Neighbors, Advancing Hope, a grassroots organization, comprised primarily of diverse faith communities, seeks to bring people in the Chippewa Valley into relationship and empower one another to build a healthier and fairer community for us all.

Latest News

JONAH to Hold Annual Event Oct 10 – Virtual With Virtual Silent Auction

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JONAH, the Chippewa Valley’s grassroots organization working for social justice, has announced it will hold it’s annual celebration as a virtual experience. It will be held on October 10 at 4pm.

The program will showcase keynote speaker Nannette Massy from Buffalo, NY on White Fragility, there will be updates from our Task Forces, celebrating new member congregations, Read More…

Carrie Newcomer Fundraiser Concert set for Nov 6, 2021

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Joining Our Neighbors Advancing Hope (JONAH) will be hosting Quaker musician Carrie Newcomer in a concert at Grace Lutheran Church on November 6, 2021 at 6:30 pm. Tickets will be $25.00 in advance or $30.00 on the day of the concert, with no more than 300 tickets available. Watch this space for information about ticket purchasing, Read More…

PBS NewsHour Series Explores the Country’s Broken Child Care System

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From the Child Poverty Task Force

The PBS Newshour is running a five-day series on the child care crisis in the US, titled, “Raising the Future: America’s Child Care Dilemma.” The programs are aired on channels 28 and 31 starting at 6 PM each evening. The first episode covered the following points

Low wages increase the likelihood that both parents must work.70% of children under 6 live in an environment where child care does not exist.The most important time in a child’s life is 0-6 years old.A child’s brain makes one mission connections per second.COVID reduced the availability of child care by 20% nationally (30% in Wisconsin).The US had a working child care program during WW2.The Comprehensive Child Development Act (CCDA) of 1971was passed by both houses of congress but vetoed by President Nixon. Read More…

Religious Leader Perspective: Justice and Poverty

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By Christine Warlowski, St James

Justice is such a formational part of nearly every world religion. In Christian scripture (and most other religions), the demand is clear that we take care of the vulnerable among us – the poor, the widow (left defenseless without a husband) and the orphan. The prophets through to Jesus tell us in no uncertain terms that worship without care for those in need is not worship at all. Read More…

JONAH Reflections on a COVID Year

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By Donna Raleigh

Soon after COVID started, JONAH Organizer, Lynn Buske, created the JONAH COVID Advisory Task Force to share ideas on JONAH’s role in the time of COVID. Recently, the task force reflected on what has been learned, what has been done, and how JONAH can be the bridge as we move forward. Here is a summary of that reflection. Read More…

Madison Action Day Perspective

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By Krista Cleary

Over here in River Falls, WI, I feel like a lone outpost of the Jonah affiliate, one the western edge of the state. Jonah folks have always included and welcomed me, and for that I am grateful. 

I’ve missed the in-person gatherings and events with JONAH and WISDOM and EXPO over the past year since the pandemic started, Read More…

Current Child Poverty Information

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By Chris Hambuch-Boyle

Child Poverty is finally in the forefront of the news and legislation.  For so long the conversation has been around the economy and the workforce with very little mention of children in poverty.  It is time that all look in the mirror and take on the responsibility to change the dialogue.  Conversations should focus on how to eradicate child poverty levels in our country and in our state. Read More…

Earth Day Reflection: State Budget Testimony on Composting

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By Sue Waits

As co-organizer for the JONAH Environmental Task Force I am excited to hear about all the local and state initiatives to address Climate Change. But I am frustrated that we aren’t doing more right now! I am here to recommend something that we could implement today that is simple, and doesn’t require major infrastructure changes. Read More…

Bolton Refuge House and JONAH

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By Katelyn Wonderlin

When I first moved to Wisconsin I had no idea what I was getting myself into. To start with, I was certainly unprepared for the winter. You would think having come from Illinois, another midwestern state, I would already understand how harsh winter could be. I am here today to tell you, moving 6 hours more north makes a world of difference. Read More…

Criminal Justice Task Force Efforts to Reduce Access to Drug Paraphernalia

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by Jackie Christner

After a long hiatus, JONAH’s Criminal Justice Task Force has renewed energy under the guidance of Chairman Anthony Ledford. He has assembled a diverse group of workers to focus on doable projects to stem the epidemic of Methamphetamine and heroin use in western Wisconsin, especially in and around the Eau Claire area. JONAH has worked in the past to increase treatment and alternatives to incarceration for those suffering from addiction and/or mental illness. Read More…

COVID-9 Vaccinations: A Little Help For Our Neighbors

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By Gloria Godchaux

I consider myself an okay computer user. I can navigate fairly well in researching information, scrolling through my Facebook account, receiving and sending emails, and texting my family.  Plus, I am very fluent in the English language because it is my first language.  However, trying to figure out how to make a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, Read More…

Everything you need to know about Madison Action Day 2021

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(last updated 2.10.21)

Save the Date and How it Will Work

Madison Action Day is the day, every two years when the state budget is being written, that all the WISDOM affiliates gather in Madison to get rallied around our issues and talk with our local legislators about our concerns – how our issues show up in the state budget. Read More…

Overcoming Division

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This was originally a sermon given at First Presbyterian Church on January 31, 2021 by Lynn Buske.

I am a Community Organizer for JONAH – an interfaith organization that does grassroots organizing to address root cause of social injustice. I am in this work because my faith values compel me to make a difference in my community and my philosophy background often has my thoughts swarming to seek understanding. Read More…

Video – Building Relationship

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Building authentic relationships is the cornerstone of JONAH’s organizing work and we believe it is the key to the beloved community for all. We worked with Micah and Genevieve of SoulShine Photography in late summer of 2020 on an episode of their series “Walk About Talk About” to discuss what does building relationship look like and why it’s important. Read More…

Navigating Through COVID-19 Testing Inequities

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By: Anthony Ledford, Lidixe Montoya, Nicole Wallsch and Lynn Buske

It is most likely not surprising to hear, if you have any sort of awareness of social injustices, that there are inequities in healthcare access and services – even here in the Chippewa Valley. So,

When COVID-19 hit both JONAH and the Eau Claire City-County Health Department strategized with some ways to respond to a higher need in our community. Read More…

Engaging in Voter Engagement

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By Sara Larsen – Volunteer

JONAH provided multiple opportunities for individuals (with the option to be paid) in the community to get involved in building relationships through sharing education on our issues and offering support to potential voters. It is these relationships that help shift our community narrative and can encourage people to vote the issues!   Read More…

Community Catalyst Grant Experiences

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Below, three members of a grant project within JONAH, which they affectionally call LIFT, talk about their meaningful experiences and successes working towards reducing barriers people with conviction histories face when attempting to find housing in our area. 

Lynn Buske – JONAH Organizer and Project LeadI was excited, hopeful and honored when JONAH partnered with EXPO, Read More…

“And Let it Begin With Me”

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By Robbie Joern (JONAH Board Member – Spirit Lutheran)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been worried about our beloved democracy staying intact. But I have some hope that it might still be possible.

Whatever lies ahead for America, the reality is it will take all the wisdom the churches and organizations like WISDOM, Read More…

Finding Community

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By Lynn Buske

I grew up in a Lutheran church. Faith was part of our daily life it seemed, for which I am grateful not only because of the faith I have now but because I also grew up the kind of child who constantly pondered the meaning of life.  I would sit in the pews as a child soaking up the deep reflections until I went to undergraduate studies at Luther College for philosophy where I really got to examine everything!  Read More…

Immigrant-Family Support Fund Update

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By Jacky Miller and Sandy Ayres

The Immigration Task Force worked with local partners back in late spring to develop a Neighbor to Neighbor Immigration Fund for donations to assist immigrants that are struggling during this pandemic due to job loss and not being privy to the stimulus package or unemployment funds. The funds are being housed in St. Read More…

The JONAH Affordable Housing Task Force says “Yes!” to YIMBY

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By Judi Moseley – Co-Chair

NIMBY is an acronym that stands for Not In My Backyard. It is a response that we see frequently when affordable housing proposals are made to Plan Commission or City Councils. Single Family homeowners often object to multifamily housing being brought to their neighborhoods because they believe it will change the nature of their neighborhood. Read More…

The JONAH 2020 Yearbook!

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The 2020 yearbook for JONAH is now available! Thank you to all who contributed to its creation, for all of your support throughout this, and every other, year!

If you would like a hardcopy of this book, or several to distribute, please email us at cvjonahorganizer@gmail.com.

Click on the image below to view the yearbook!

To see archived yearbooks, Read More…

COVID-19 Community Survey Results

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JONAH has released our report of the analyzed results of the survey we put out earlier this year hearing from area residents on how COVID-19 has impacted their lives.

The report summarized results from a community survey that asked residents in the tri-county area (Chippewa, Dunn and Eau Claire counties) about the impact of COVID-19 on their lives, Read More…

Talking to Each Other About Voting

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2020 is a big election year for all of us, and Wisconsin is a key state on a national level. Voting is important because it is part of our civic duty, but also a way for us to exercise our voice – put action behind our faith values. The impact of voting lies not only in who’s at the top of the ticket, Read More…

EXPO Efforts in Justice Reform

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By Nycki Wallsch and Kelly Mahoney

Chippewa Valley Expo is excited to announce the new campaign called Free, which was created to specifically help women who have been impacted by the Criminal Justice System. Free will be addressing issues and barriers that women face in our community who have previous conviction histories. In highlighting and uplifting these issues we hope to bring forth policy changes and advocate for other women.  Read More…

First Congregational UCC JONAH Core Team Congregation Call Project

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By Jackie Christner

Since the beginning of May, Our First Congo Core Team members have been making calls to congregation members with the purposes of seeing how they are doing with this time of relative isolation, finding out how they are connecting to the church, what they miss about church, their reactions to how our church is handling on-line services and small group interactions, Read More…

JONAH Welcomes a New Intern

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By Gloria Godchaux

Greetings! My name is Gloria Godchaux and I am a new JONAH intern. In the grand scheme of things, I did not plan on being an intern or a return student attending a Metro State University Graduate Program. Being nearly 65 years old, I thought my days of school were behind me. However, Read More…

Tell your Senators to make DACA permanent!

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By Joyce Anderson, JONAH

(*Much of following narrative is borrowed from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Immigration Advocacy. Perhaps your faith community has similar resources.)

The future of thousands of young adults has been impacted by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program made in June 2020. However, Read More…

Integrated Voter Relations

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JONAH’s issue work is directly tied to voting. The future of what matters to people depends on who can make changes on those issues – who is elected. So engaging with voters is integrated into all our work. We want everyone to feel educated on the issues that matter to them and on voting this year. Read More…

JONAH Intern Wraps Up Experience

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By Alaina Kennelley, UWEC Student majoring in English Critical Studies

I want to start off by thanking you for giving me this amazing internship opportunity with JONAH. It has been a pleasure working alongside all of the JONAH members. I really enjoyed getting to know everything JONAH is about, and I am so grateful for the skills I have gained through this internship. Read More…

Racial Justice – What is Our Role? What is Your Role?

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By Lynn Buske and Rebecca Wurzer (edited by Michelle Pride) 

JONAH members, like other community members, have been disturbed and angered by the violence against our brothers and sisters of color. Our emotions are a roller coaster as we see people rising up and making their voices heard. We, as an entire organization, have been evaluating our role and response, Read More…

Free Rides! – A Transit Update

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by Mark Quam (edited by Suzon Gordon)

As of June 11th, bus riding is no longer restricted to emergency trips and residents are welcome to ride for any purpose at no charge. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eau Claire residents have been able to ride Eau Claire Transit (ECT) buses at no cost for trips of an essential nature such as medical, Read More…

Reflections on COVID-19

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By Cindy Tate, JONAH Board Member from Unitarian Universalist Congregation

The Kindergarten boy misses his friends, and especially misses the day he got to go to the library. Now he is writing and illustrating his own books and newspapers. But he still misses his friends. He did get to see a photo of them all online. Read More…

Pandemic Further Marginalizes Community

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By Alaina Kennelly, JONAH InternEdited by Michelle Pride, JONAH Board Member

The COVID-19 outbreak will have lasting effects on people locally – especially those who were struggling prior to the virus and are now more vulnerable than ever. I decided to interview a few JONAH Leaders who work with marginalized populations on a daily basis to find out more about how exactly people are impacted. Read More…

Election Disaster

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by Alaina Kennelley, Intern

Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, the Wisconsin elections still took place Tuesday April 7th. This election saw more absentee ballots than in past years and more early voting as well. I recently spoke with Martha Nieman, a candidate for District 17 County Board Supervisor, and Kate Beaton, Eau Claire City Council Member and Organizer for Wisconsin Conservation Voters, Read More…

Voting and Census 2020 Information During Quarantine

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Our next election is April 7! In light of COVID-19, we are encouraging everyone to do absentee voting!  All voices matter, everyone counts! Here’s what you need to know:

UPDATE: THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER TO VOTE ONLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MARCH 30!

ABSENTEE/EARLY VOTING by April 2!

In-Person/By mail: visit the City Elections Office located at City Hall (203 South Farwell Street).  Read More…

Legacy Giving

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With introduction by Sandra McKinney, JONAH President

Legacy; Webster defines it as “a gift by will especially of money or other personal property.” Some of us define legacy as leaving a footprint of knowing those passions we gave our time, attention and, yes, money to while we walked this earth made a difference. Many of us dedicated to the work of JONAH hope our work has not been in vain when our time on this earth is complete. Read More…

WISDOM Relational Voter Program (RVP)

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By Lynn Buske, JONAH Organizer

I
recently asked my Facebook friends why they vote or not vote, and I could see
immediately how necessary talking about voting is – here are some of the
opinions I received:

“Why
do you vote?”

“Because
I’m a citizen, and [voting] and pay taxes are the only things I actually have a
responsibility to do.”

“I
owe it to the women who fought hard to earn women the right to vote!”

“Before I was elected, Read More…

February Environmental Task Force Update

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The Environmental Task Force is working on actions for 2020.  Meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 6:30 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Farwell Street downtown.   Read on to hear what they’ve been up to since November!

In November we discussed the current system of waste management in Eau Claire including the importance of recycling and composting.  Read More…

How Grassroot Organizing Works in Immigration

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By: Perla Martinez-Beltran, and Joyce Anderson, edited by Lynn Buske

The key component to JONAH’s grassroots organizing is
building relationships with each other – sharing one-by-one who we are, where
we are from, and understanding and respecting not only our differences but what
we share in common. When we get to know a person it is impossible to not care
for each other deeply – Read More…

Introducing Our Newest Intern!

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Hi! My name is Alaina Kennelly and I will be interning with JONAH for the Spring of 2020! I am currently a second semester junior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and I am double majoring in English Critical Studies and German. I am originally from Superior, WI where I graduated high school from in 2017. Read More…

Speaking Out for Housing Equality

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The JONAH Affordable Housing Task Force is asking for support for the creation of the  “Housing Opportunities Commission” to ensure equal housing opportunities for all.  Join them in speaking up.

WHAT: City Council Public Hearing to support the “Housing Opportunities Commission”

PLEASE SEE: The Ordinance establishing this Commission, p.129-132: https://www.eauclairewi.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=28395 See p.130 for “Purpose and Intent” Read More…

12th Annual Celebration: Homegrown Justice

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Come celebrate 12 years of JONAH work in the community and financially support the next year of work!

JONAH has done so much this year and we are excited to celebrate with you! We are growing as more and more people want equity, discover that they have the power to participate in the decisions that affect their community, Read More…

Organizer Reflection: 1-to-1’s to the Rescue!

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For many years I thought that self-reflection and prayer
were enough to get me through times where I felt overwhelmed, uncertain, or needed
help – where growth was necessary.  Learning
1-to-1s in JONAH has taught me so much about the importance of true
relationships with others. It has shown me how my relationships can really
support, Read More…

Why Should You Care about Affordable Housing?: Get to know JONAH’s Affordable Housing Task Force

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A city’s story of inequality is told according to who can pay the rent. In Eau Claire, that story shows a city in crisis. Our task force answers the question of who is worthy of a home—everyone deserves safe affordable housing.

JAHTF began it’s work last fall by advocating for a City Council Public Hearing to address the urgent need for affordable housing in any our community. Read More…

Update on State Budget — URGENT ACTION NEEDED

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First, JONAH would like to THANK all volunteers who have submitted testimony, attended listening sessions, and spoke at the JFC Hearings.  Your efforts to share your stories and energy have made an impact and we at JONAH are extremely grateful for you!

Now there is more work to do – and urgently!

The budget for 2019-2021 is in the hands of the Joint Finance Committee. Read More…

New Volunteer Introductions – UW Students Join the Immigration Task Force Team

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Benny Ramirez

“Hola todos! My name is Benny Ramirez: first year at UW-Eau Claire. I am a Latin American Studies major with a minor in Economics and a topical minor in Environmental Justice. I was introduced to community organization/movement back home in Madison, where I served in spaces like Academia Latina and Centro Hispano. Transitioning into Eau Claire has been a challenge because Latino/as lack explicit visibility in our community. Read More…

From the Organizer… What Change Making Looks Like: From M.A.D. to Budget Testimony

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Madison Action DayI attended my first Madison Action Day (M.A.D.) last week, along with 35 other JONAH and local EXPO members.  It was a tremendously positive and powerful experience. The day made me so very thankful for those that attended, those that spoke, those that organized, those that listened, and for all the work we do.   Read More…

2019 – A Powerful Start to the Child Poverty Task Force

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The JONAH Child Poverty Task Force formed in mid-January with a great turnout at its first meeting. One of the first actions of the group was to work toward presenting a resolution to the Eau Claire County Board in support of reducing child poverty and racial disparity by one-half in the next ten years. After both the Health Department and Human Services boards passed the resolution, Read More…

President’s Reflection on Leadership

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Years ago, in the late 1980’s, I could not think of myself as a leader; in fact it was one of the first things I would say I was NOT. Leadership seemed to be an inherent and natural quality of the few and the powerful, and I certainly did not feel I had it – whatever “it” was. Read More…

Madison Action Day Registration

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Please join us in mass as we share our issues for 2019, alongside all WISDOM affiliates in WI, with legislators at the capital. This is important as they are preparing to set the state budget for the next two years. We need your voice and your presence! We heavily encourage bringing your youth – others have benefited from this education in the past and enjoyed it. Read More…

My Experience as JONAH’s Intern

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Before this internship, I was not aware of the social justice issues facing our community. Like many people, I was caught up in my own world and could not see or comprehend that there were these issues outside of my world. I am now well aware of the issues that the community is facing and know how important it is to volunteer my time to make the community a better place to live. Read More…

JONAH Organizer Comments on Non-Violence

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“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”Mahatma Gandhi, whom this gathering is in honor of, said this. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
This thought sums up my feelings about nonviolence.
The definition of nonviolence goes something like, “using peaceful means, not force, Read More…

JONAH Celebrates its 11th Year of Social Justice Work

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“We All Do Better When We ALL Do Better,” the focus for the 11th Annual JONAH Celebration, drew people from all walks of life to celebrate social justice work. Attendees enjoyed delicious food, including pie and cheesecake, competed for silent auction items, enjoyed the wonderful music of Kai Ulrica, and heard about great social justice efforts currently underway. Read More…

Join Us For A Basket Making Party!

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As in past years, we will assemble themed baskets for the Silent Auction which will be held at our October 21 Annual Celebration.. Join the basket making parties for some fun and camaraderie!
Location: Betty Hurst’s home, 4115 Jeffers Road Eau Claire, WI
Date: October 13th (Saturday) from 2:30 pm to 7;00 pm
Come when you can; Read More…

We Can End Homelessness In Eau Claire!

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Come help end homelessness in Eau Claire!
As homelessness continues to be a problem in our community, an action is being taken to end it. Please join us Thursday, October 25 from 1-3 pm at the RCU Cooperate Office (200 Riverfront Terrace, Eau Claire WI). A nationally renowned consultant, Erin Healy, JD will be speaking at the forum to insure that all community members have the opportunity to take action in this process. Read More…

Attend Upcoming Forum: Race to Justice 2018 Local Candidate Forum

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Plan to attend the Race to Justice local candidate forum. Topics covered include criminal justice, immigration, and affordable housing. Doors open at 4:30 and pizza will be served right away. Candidate forum begins at 5:30, followed by a #justicenotjails Vigil at 7:00 pm.
Date: October 23
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: Grace Lutheran Church, Eau Claire WI
Contact: Sarah Ferber function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; Read More…

Join Us At JONAH’s Annual Celebration!

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This year JONAH’s annual celebration focuses on community using the theme “We All Do Better, When We All Do Better”. Plan to join us! The event will include

Fall themed hors d’oeuvres, desserts and beverages
Live music
Silent Auction that begins at 4:00 pm
An opportunity to celebrate JONAH’s 11 years of activism with your friends and neighbors

Tickets: $25 through this link, Read More…

JONAH Supports the Beyond the Headlines Project.

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During the month of October, Beyond the Headlines will host a series of events and activites exploring what can happen when journalists and community members come together to examine news coverage of poverty issues in Eau Claire. Check out the Beyond the Headlines website to learn more about the project and to get details for the events. Read More…

JONAH Forum: Childhood Mental Health, Part 1

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This first of a two-part forum will provide an opportunity to learn about the mental health needs of children in the Chippewa Valley, some of the services available to children, and barriers to receiving these services. Presenters include Justine Girard of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and Kerry Swoboda, Eau Claire County Department of Human Services. Read More…

Meet JONAH’s New Intern Tyler Wanek

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Hello everyone. My name is Tyler Wanek, and I am JONAH’s new intern for the fall. I am a 22 year old college student at UWEC. I am studying English, and have been enjoying all of my classes. I am also pursuing a certificate in American Sign Language. I grew up loving to read and write so I decided to make a career out of it. Read More…

We All Do Better, When We All Do Better

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In times like these we need our neighbors, and we need to work together to make the world a better place!
Come Celebrate JONAH’s 11 years of activism and changing lives in the Chippewa Valley!
-Live Music with Kai Ulrica and and the Chippewa Valley Youth Choir
-Silent Auction Begins at 4:00PM   – Fall themed hors d’oeuvres, Read More…

Share Your Story at the Whirled Table

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Stories reveal our common values, aspirations, and interconnectedness. They also help us to appreciate our differences.
Did you know that in Madagascar ripe mangoes are picked using a long stick? I didn’t, until Mita described his first return journey to his native land and mentioned his goal to someday use a pole to pick a ripe mango in Madagascar.  Read More…

JONAH and EXPO Participate in Solidarity Day

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JUNE 21ST WAS SOLIDARITY DAY IN WISCONSIN
WISDOM, JONAH OF THE CHIPPEWA VALLEY, AND WESTERN WISCONSIN EXPO STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH WAUPUN PROTESTERS
On Tuesday, June 21st at 5:30pm in Phoenix Park, 20 citizens gathered along with other prisoner advocacy groups across Wisconsin to stand in solidarity with the men who have been refusing to accept food in protest of injustice in the use of Solitary Confinement is Wisconsin prisons. Read More…

Tribute to John Stedman, 1949-2016

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On Sunday, June 5, 2016, the JONAH Community heard the sad and shocking news that our JONAH organizer, John Stedman, died after suffering a massive heart attack.
John’s passing leaves a huge hole in many lives.  Of course, there is John’s wife and daughter, Sharon and Malia.  There are the members of First Presbyterian Church, where John was more than a pillar.  Read More…