Filling the Chippewa Valley with song
Valley Gospel Choir has been a part of the Chippewa Valley musical arts scene for over 27 years. Formed in 1992, the choir first performed on a Sunday morning along the banks of the Chippewa River for Country Jam USA.
The volunteer group is composed of approximately 90 members from around the region who enjoy singing classic hymns, traditional spirituals, gospel, patriotic, and contemporary Christian music. Several charter members, who have been with the group since its inception, continue to participate each year.
Multiple denominations are represented in the choir, which performs two summer concerts each year at Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire. During alternate summers since 2014, Valley Gospel Choir has also added a summer concert at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts in Menomonie. As a way of giving back to the community, the choir also presents an annual winter benefit concert to assist local charitable organizations such as the Chippewa Valley Street Ministry, The Healing Place, Agnes’ Table, the L.E. Phillips Senior Center, and Habitat for Humanity.
Since 2006, director Merlyn Aude has led the choir, accompanied by a variety of talented musicians. Valley Gospel Choir has also been blessed with a loyal following that has ensured its longevity, and we appreciate the generosity of the Daniel F. and Margaret J. Brown Memorial Fund and the Dean and Susan Olson Family Fund of the Eau Claire Community Foundation to help us share the joy of music with the Chippewa Valley region.
To learn more, you can visit the Valley Gospel Choir website.
Uniting the community to combat injustice
Founded in November 2007, JONAH - Joining Our Neighbors, Advancing Hope - is a grassroots community organization dedicated to deepening relationships within and between member faith-congregations, community members impacted by injustice, and strategic community partners in the Chippewa Valley region of west central Wisconsin in order to address root causes of economic and social injustice.
JONAH has task forces that currently work on the root causes of Child Poverty, Homelessness/Affordable Housing, Immigration, Criminal Justice, and the Environment. Core Teams are social concerns groups at our congregations that put organizing tools to use in their work. JONAH also provides Leadership training to the community so everyone can take part in shaping what their future looks like. It demonstrates collaboration and relationship building to bring people together and create social understanding.
Through "Justice Stories," JONAH will build and share a collection of stories about social justice in our community - stories that explain the work of JONAH, and stories of individuals close to our issues, to reduce stigma and bring people together. Personal stories help connect people to issues that they may not otherwise know about and develop compassion for those experiencing that injustice. It is a very direct way for us to bring people together and motivate them to improve our community.
To learn more, you can visit the JONAH website.
Saving wildlife and educating the public
Chippewa Valley Wildlife Rehabilitation (CVWR) is dedicated to rehabilitating orphaned, injured, or ill wild animals with the goal of returning them to their native habitat as healthy, productive members of their own community; providing information in response to public inquiries about wildlife; and providing wildlife education to the community. CVWR has been serving the Chippewa Valley and surrounding communities since 2010.
CVWR is grateful for the support of the Eau Claire Community Foundation. The 2019 grant money from the Lois and Arnold Domer Fund and the John and Betsy Kell Family Fund will be used for a website development. A CVWR website will be a valuable and available resource for the community at their fingertips. The website will help educate and inform individuals in the community on how to handle wild animal situations. In a rapidly changing world, habitats for wildlife have been shrinking due to human development. With more development, interactions between wild animals and humans have increased, which is why community members should be educated on what to do if they find an injured, abandoned, or sick wild animal. In a modern world it is important that people understand the importance of keeping wildlife wild. The grant funding for the website development will help create a platform to promote education on the importance of keeping animals wild. This should have a lasting effect that would continually benefit the community and animals that CVWR cares for.
To learn more, you can visit the Chippewa Valley Wildlife Rehabilitation Facebook page.
Bringing smiles to young cancer patients and their families
Mighty Maddy’s Mission is a legacy organization based in Eau Claire that works to create smiles for those affected by childhood cancer by providing new diagnosis baskets, toys for hospital stays, birthday celebrations and end of treatment celebrations.
The road for the children and families affected by pediatric cancer is one no one wants to walk down. It becomes a strain for everyone and completely changes your life. Our organization works to help bring back smiles to families and the kids who are going through treatments.
At first diagnosis, we offer a basket filled with comfort items as well as a resource manual full of helpful information and other organizations that are available to help. As the children go through treatment, they spend a lot of time in the hospital. We have a toy cart that the children can pick from if they are admitted to the hospital or have a more invasive procedure.
When a patient’s birthday comes around, we have our sparkle box program, which offers all of the items for a birthday and also includes a cake for the party. When a patient completes their treatment plan, we also have an end of treatment celebration available that includes all the items needed for a party, including a cake.
We have been working within the Marshfield Children’s Hospital, and we’re working to grow to other hospitals throughout Wisconsin to help create a positive impact in the lives of the families affected by childhood cancer.
To learn more, you can visit the Mighty Maddy's Mission website.