V&A alum follows a passion: helping low income people get an education

Posted by on Jan 2, 2019 in News | 0 comments

V&A alum follows a passion: helping low income people get an education

Colleen Johnson–Director of Development and Community Partnerships at the Odyssey Project, and former Vandewalle alumnus

MADISON, WI (WITH EXCERPTS FROM BRAVA.COM): Part of Vandewalle & Associates mission is to create “balanced economic relationships between people and the regions in which they live.” Often it involves creating new opportunities for people and places to grow. 

One Vandewalle & Associates planning alumnus has continued to follow her passion for helping disadvantaged populations find new opportunities. Today Colleen Johnson is the Director of Development and Community Partnerships at the UW Odyssey Project. There she helps disadvantaged adults and children connect with their dreams—and that’s vital for Dane County’s economy.  

“I really believe that to strengthen a community, you have to start with the people who live there, especially the economically disadvantaged and people of color,” says Johnson, who earned her graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning at UW-Madison.

The Odyssey Project, an award-winning program at UW-Madison, has helped more than 400 adults and 100 children discover a pathway to go to college. This year, Johnson is raising money to support the program’s growth, including a plan to expand it to the state’s prison system. She also plans to share the model with other universities. 

For an idea of the impact Odyssey can have on lives, watch this Forward Motion documentary video on the Odyssey project that aired on the Big Ten Network. You can also read the full BRAVA article here. 

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