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12th Day of Christmas in July brings gift of community

The message at the Astor Street Block Party on July 22 was that every day is the season of giving.

Hosted by ALIVE Inc. Milwaukee and Old Mount Zion New Jerusalem, the “Gift of Community: Astor Street Block Party” was the last day of a two week neighborhood program that began on July 7 in the Yankee Hill neighborhood of downtown.

The “12 Days of Christmas in July” celebrated different gifts each day, from that of leadership to fellowship, learning, sportsmanship, mentorship, healthy living, relationships, collaboration, reinvestment, service, exposure, and community.

“We are celebrating that every day is the season for giving. So today is a gift of community, on the block of Astor and Lyons, to really give back to our neighbors and show them that we are here not just on Sunday. We’re here every day, to be a blessing to the area that we’re a part of,” said John Daniels III, Director at ALIVE Inc. Milwaukee.

ALIVE is a unique organization that fosters a variety of achievement skills for youngsters in business, arts, professional development, and educational attainment. The July program focused on servant leadership, cultivating cultural awareness, teaching kids about biology and the importance of a clean Earth, giving hope to young scholars and celebrating our mentors, building trust and communication, and reinvesting in local Black businesses. The Astor Street event included food, family activities, and live music celebrated being a part of the neighborhood.

“My wife and I have been here for about three and a half years,” added Daniels. “The church is 98 years old. And so the man who actually put the bricks in the building, his daughters live next door. They came by for the block party told me the stories of all the different congregations that have been at this church. From the Lutheran Church, to the when there was a gym in the basement and the Catholic kids would have to sneak in the back door, to the other churches that have been here before us. So the long history of this church has always been a one of community.”

With a location on the east side of Milwaukee, in between downtown and two major college campuses, ALIVE has had the opportunity to be part of the young professional crowd and also the emerging talent pool. The organization’s goal has been to invest in the city’s emerging talent as the best way to invest in the city itself, and provide tools for young people so that they can be successful.

John Daniels III also has the distinction of being the son of John W. Daniels, Jr., chairman emeritus of the law firm of Quarles & Brady and a pioneer of urban education programs for youth in Milwaukee.

“My dad is a big community guy and he believes that everyone counts every day. And so one thing that I try to take from that is that no matter whether you’re a millionaire or you’re trying to find your first job, everyone has something that’s important to say and contribute,” said Daniels. “It’s important how we work together, to help each other be the best that every person can be.”

© Photo

Lee Matz

About The Author

Lee Matz

Former Creative Director and Photojournalist for the Milwaukee Business Journal, Lee brings his years of international experience as a foreign correspondent in Asia and Europe, with a background in publishing, advertising, and design, to the Milwaukee Independent. His list of awards include three consecutive top honors from the Milwaukee Press Club. Lee proudly uses MCTS as his exclusive mode of transportation, other than walking, for all the news stories he reports about in Milwaukee.


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