Beloit Fresh Start Class of 2020

A group of low-income Beloit students is starting a life-changing program, thanks in part to funding from United Way Blackhawk Region.

“We have 30 students who have chosen to invest in their future economic opportunities, and the first week of classes has been great,” says William Chatman, program manager for Beloit Fresh Start YouthBuild AmeriCorps.
“These students may have fallen through the cracks. They were dropouts, they were not working, and so they’re roaming the streets. That opens the door for them to get in trouble and do things they’re not supposed to,” Chatman says.


The students completed four weeks of Mental Toughness training before classes began this week. Mental Toughness prepares the students for the rigors of school and employment. Graduates of the Beloit Fresh Start program earn their high school diploma or GED.

Beloit Fresh Start is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Labor, YouthBuild AmeriCorps, School District of Beloit and by United Way Blackhawk Region, which recently awarded $20,000 to be distributed over two years. As a whole, Community Action earned $508,000 in funding from United Way Blackhawk Region during its two-year grant cycle. In addition to Beloit Fresh Start, United Way Blackhawk Region invests in Community Action’s AWARE program, Community Kids Learning Center, Fatherhood Initiative, Merrill Youth Programs, Merrill Senior Program, Permanent Supportive Housing, PREP, and Rapid Rehousing.