Lighthouse Youth Centers
The first Lighthouse Youth Center opened its doors in 2004 with six youth at Redemption Lutheran Church, in the north side Havenswood neighborhood (68th and Silver Spring) in Milwaukee, Wis. In 2006, Lighthouse became its own 501(c)(3) not-for-profit entity with Pastor Jim Buske appointed as Executive Director. Since then, Lighthouse has added a second site located across from Garden Homes Lutheran Church, on 24th and Roosevelt Avenue.
The Siebert Lutheran Foundation played an instrumental role in the launch of Lighthouse by providing a grant of $39,000 for start-up funding in 2006, and continues to fund Lighthouse Youth Centers with a yearly grant to support Vicars and Wisconsin Lutheran College students who work with the Lighthouse youth.
Lighthouse strives to share God’s love and serve as a beacon for Christ to the youth of the community. Programming offered at Lighthouse centers includes:
- After-school homework and recreation support,
- Summer programs,
- Life skills training,
- Bible instruction and
- Mentoring to urban neighborhood youth.
Staffing is provided by vicars from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. This benefits the youth through strong male role models, and also allows the vicars to gain practical field experience working in an urban setting. Recently, female students from Wisconsin Lutheran College were added to staffing to provide mentoring and role models for young women and girls and a servant leadership model at Lighthouse. Through their work at Lighthouse, both seminary and WLC students gain confidence in sharing their faith and serving others.
Attendance has grown from the six youth that began the program in 2004 to 537 youth in 2015:
- During 2015, the Havenwoods campus had 5,538 visits with 289 individual students.
- The Garden Homes campus experienced 7,285 visits with 248 individual students.
The Siebert Lutheran Foundation is proud to be a part of Lighthouse Youth Centers work to spread the message of Christ's love by providing total funding of $418,600 since 2006.