For some families things like owning a home and sending their kids to college can seem like just a dream, but today the La Crosse promise organization welcomes a new family into the community and helps to make those dreams a reality.
La Crosse Promise works to transform the area by revitalizing La Crosse neighborhoods while providing families with the ability to ensure future opportunities for their children, and on February 5 a new La Crosse promise family invites the community into their home.
After living in Rice Lake for eight years the Wacek family was in search of a more diverse city, and after visiting La Crosse for a job opportunity they had their sights set.
"We came and visited the town and really loved it, fell in love with the area, loved the bluffs and all there is to do," says La Crosse Promise Homeowner, Dawn Wacek.
The Waceks knew they could see a future in La Crosse and wanted the challenge of building their own home, but with a little help from La Crosse Promise that future is made possible.
Wacek elaborates on La Crosse Promise's involvement in the building process, "Really what made it easier is the help that Kristen Lueth from the promise program gave us in finding a builder, helping us navigate, how do you find plans, how do you choose things."
La Crosse promise believes that through education the quality of life of the entire community can improve.
Their commitment to education motivates them to supply promise families with up to fifty-thousand-dollars in college scholarships for their children.
La Crosse Promise Executive Director, Brian Liesinger describes the reasons behind their commitment to education, "It's really an investment in a real way, beyond dollars, into their neighborhoods and in the quality of their education and their children's education," Liesinger continues, "so it's really an investment on several levels that is going to pay dividends in a myriad of ways."
Upon graduation from a La Crosse area, high school children of Promise Families will receive scholarships of $25,000 each, up to a total of $50,000 per family. Money that will hopefully give their kids an opportunity not everyone has.
"My husband and I ended up with student loan debt," discloses Wacek, "and that's something we really didn't want for our kids, so we really wanted our kids to have the best possible start."
La Crosse Promise also works with families to receive grants from La Crosse County that help to acquire and build property, while stimulating the La Crosse economy.
Liesinger explains, "You're taking properties that had very little assessed value, or vacant lots that really had none, and you put new homes on them and you take the tax assessment on that and you compound it over several years and obviously that is real dollars back into the cities budget."
The Waceks say they have all of their belongings moved into their new house and have a lot to do in the upcoming weeks before their new house becomes a home.
The newest Promise House is the tenth in La Crosse with two more built next door to the Waceks.
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