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Chamber Member Spotlights

  • Monday, June 10, 2024 6:40 AM | Tara Williams (Administrator)

    Member Spotlight on Aliance Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC

    By Tara Williams

    Honesty. Transparency. Fairness.  These are the words Bill Tomaszewski’s team uses to describe what makes their business rise above the rest. Tomaszewski has found success in operating his business, Aliance Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC. since 2018, using the Golden Rule. 

    “He really treats people the way he’d like to be treated,” says his marketing manager, Danielle Miller, adding, “If you don’t need something done, he won’t recommend it for you.”

    Tomaszewski agrees, saying, “I always tell people, ‘This is what I would do if it was my house.’ I won’t sell you anything I won’t put in my own house and that they don’t need.”

    While 80% of his business comes from the 5,000 doors he services through property management companies down in Milwaukee, Tomaszewski has a new goal.  He and his wife, Loren, have lived in Belgium for more than ten years and are focused on building up their base of residential customers closer to home.

    “We love where we live,” he says.  “I always go local and like to feel a part of the community.  We’d like to do more here.”

    Tomaszewski has gotten involved by joining the board of the new Rocket Academy, the tech charter school being built in Belgium.  Exposing high school students to the trades is a passion of his.  He attended Custer High School in Milwaukee, a trades high school, and took his first HVAC class at age 15. His brother-in-law served as a mentor to him in the years that followed and he’s been hooked ever since. 

    He’s enjoying helping the board form the curriculum for the new school and hopes to help get kids out in the field to learn and eventually work.

    “There’s a big need for the trades,” he says.

    His team of ten does it all, from selling and servicing furnaces, boilers, air conditioners, heat pumps and filtration systems to performing duct cleanings and tune ups. He carefully selects his products- saying about 80% of his installations are Goodman, a brand he appreciates due to their solid warranties and the fact that they are 100% American-made and assembled.

    Aliance Heating and Air Conditioning will always provide inspections and estimates for free, and assures its customers that they will always get the best price up front- no negotiating.

    “You want a good company to work with, and I want good customers with long-term relationships,” he says.

    The Tomaszewski’s are also driven by their faith, and it is important to them to “never turn a blind eye to those in need.”  Every year they not only keep items such as protein bars, water and socks in their vehicles to distribute to the homeless, but also try to pick one family in need each year to provide with a new furnace, free of charge.

    “You can always gain monetarily, but spiritually, it feels good to help people out,” Bill says.  “We let God lead us, and we go where he leads us.”

    Aliance can be reached at (262) 285-0085, via email at or you can visit them on Facebook or their website:

  • Friday, February 02, 2024 12:05 PM | Tara Williams (Administrator)

    When Lisa Disbrow was around 11 or 12 years old, her grandmother, whom Disbrow recalls as “always growing beautiful flowers,” brought her into a dreamy little flower shop filled with nostalgia-inducing repurposed gifts.

    “I was hooked,” Disbrow recalls. “I knew right then that that was what I wanted to do.”

    She held onto that dream through adulthood, eventually starting a flower shop out of her Belgium home.  In 2022, she secured one of WEDC’s Main Street Bounceback Grants, which made it possible to finally bring that vision full circle and open her own brick and mortar shop, “Violets & Vintage: A Flower Shop Where Repurposed Finds Beautiful Purpose,” shortly before Thanksgiving of that year at 100 South Main Street in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin.

    Her flower shop has the same dreamy, nostalgic shopping experience that she remembers charming her as a child.

    “This is much different than going to Walmart and just picking something out of whatever they have,” Disbrow notes. 

    Violets & Vintage takes pride in creating creative, customizable arrangements that are personal and unique.  For instance, a woman once brought in her late mother’s 1940s ceramic pot, and Disbrow was able to use that as a base to create a special arrangement for her.

    Beyond gorgeous fresh cut flower arrangements, her shop provides stunning expressions of beauty for weddings, funerals, and parties.  She sells boutonnières and corsages as well as green plants and hanging plants.  She suggests at least 48 hours’ notice for custom orders (the earlier the better), but a generous variety of grab n’ go options are always kept on-hand for spontaneous gifts.

    She points out that spring bulbs have arrived and she will be offering up fresh tulips every Friday until Easter.

     An eclectic assortment of one-of-a-kind gifts for all occasions “sourced from my own scavenging’s and creations,” also fill the shelves of her small shop.  Disbrow has a passion for upcycling everything from paper products to furniture and giving vintage items new purpose.

    “I love being here,” Disbrow says happily. “It’s like my clubhouse.”

    Unfortunately, the life of this florist is not always a bed of roses.  Last October, Disbrow was diagnosed with breast cancer and needed surgery.  She has been working on slowly regaining her strength while running the shop, but has additional surgery scheduled for the end of February. She is hoping she will find others to staff her shop while she recovers but will be at the mercy of their availability.

    She is currently open Thursday through Saturday and by appointment but she urges customers to contact her at the shop phone number for any requests- (920) 668-5031, as it is important to her to keep her business blooming as she works through this challenging chapter of life.

    “I hope to be ready to be back full swing by Easter,” she says.

    Violets & Vintage green plants can also be purchased at Mercantile Plaza in Port Washington.

    For more info, visit Violets and Vintage at its website, on  Facebook and Instagram.

  • Wednesday, January 03, 2024 9:13 AM | Tara Williams (Administrator)

    Member Spotlight on Crossfit I.F.

    By Tara Williams

    Nineteen years ago, Sandra Large was a local dairy farmer who helped her parents on the family farm.  She decided to set some fitness goals for herself, and organized monthly meetings with her sisters and nieces to share in the journey. She eventually built a gym onto her garage. She eventually lost 30 pounds.

    In 2004, this personal journey spurred an idea to start a business, which Sandra called “Inspiring Fitness.” Clients arrived via word of mouth for personal training in her home gym.  A few years later, she added classes in the gym at Stepping Stones, and an outdoor boot camp on her property.

    By 2013, she had outgrown the space and moved the business into her mom’s shed, and grew from there for ten more years. During this time, she was introduced to CrossFit. 

    CrossFit is the fastest-growing fitness regimen in the world, founded by Greg Glassman in 2000. It finds success in a broad fitness scope of being “good at everything.” The program includes work in ten physical skills: cardio, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.  Healthy eating (not dieting) is also key. 

    “I knew what it did for me- making me in the best shape of my life,” Large explains. She describes it as the best form of exercise because the program constantly varies, including everything from spinning to Olympic barbell movements, rowing and many other challenges, so you are never bored.

    While there is equipment involved, she says, “Your body is your machine” as no equipment plugs in. Better yet, the people benefitting from the program come from all ages and fitness levels. Current membership spans eight generations!

    “We have our athletes excel at CrossFit and are always wanting to push to another level, but the athletes who come that are not as athletic and thought they could never do CrossFit- helping them accomplish things they never thought they could really fires me up,” Large says.  She loves seeing progress, making people healthier, and making them feel stronger.  Always working toward ways to create healthy fitness habits at all ages, she has also added children’s classes, and even had a couple high school sports teams training in her facility this summer.   Her business has now been affiliated with CrossFit for eight years.

    This past June, her business, now called CrossFit I.F., took a leap of faith, quadrupling her space when she moved into a 10,000 square foot building on Lakeview Drive in Belgium. Not only does she have more space for her fitness equipment and activities but she also has 2400 feet in office space, which she is slowly filling with complementary service businesses such as sports massage, a nutrition business and a doctor of osteopath.  She laughs as she notes her clients are also quite excited about the indoor plumbing, which was noticeably lacking at the last place.  These extensive upgrades are why the Chamber awarded CrossFit I.F. with this year’s Business Improvement Award.

    Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of Large’s business is the palpable energy that radiates from its group of clients, whom Large describes as a fitness family.  While there is individualized coaching that takes place, personal successes are often met with raucous cheering, clapping and encouragement from everyone in the room. It truly is an inspirational atmosphere.

    Anyone interested in exploring CrossFit I.F. can contact Large for a free consult and a tour.

    “I always work best with a face-to-face consult,” Large says, as she likes to learn what potential clients are hoping to accomplish. 

    CrossFit I.F. offers a variety of packages. You can purchase one drop-in class or choose unlimited use memberships ranging from three to twelve-month contracts.

    Visit CrossFit I.F. at, follow them on Facebook or call 262-483-7720 for more information.

  • Friday, June 30, 2023 9:30 AM | Tara Williams (Administrator)

    This week, a new beacon appeared along the I-43 corridor at Belgium Exit #107. The new, yet highly recognizable red, white and black Kwik Trip sign was installed as a sign of what is to come this fall in Belgium.  

    While crews are working hard building the new location at 106 North Royal Ave., store leaders are across the street at Belgium’s Village Hall (100 Peter Thein Ave.) meeting and interviewing potential new staff members every Wednesday from 11 am until 4 pm. 

    The new Kwik Trip will bring up to 75 new jobs to Belgium. Store Leader Keith Dolezal estimates they are about halfway through the hiring process. While Kwik Trip does hire people ages 16 and up, he said the store’s current greatest staffing need is adults 18+.

    When asked about the best part of working at Kwik Trip, Dolezal doesn’t hesitate to respond: “The company actually cares about you. It’s not lip service.”  Having been a Kwik Trip team member since 2016, and store leader since opening a West Bend Kwik Trip two years ago, Dolezal speaks from experience.

    Having a strong culture and showing appreciation for its co-workers is an important part of what makes Kwik Trip the successful, expanding enterprise that it is today.  As owner Don Zietlow says, “the company’s job is to take care of the co-workers because the co-workers take care of the guests.”

    That care is shown multiple ways.  Pay starts at a generous $16 per hour with a $3/hour third shift premium.  All staff enjoy paid vacation time, holiday pay, free coffee, soda and a piece of fruit while on-duty, and 40% pre-tax profit sharing at the end of the year, among other benefits. 

    Every year, they celebrate “Co-worker Appreciation Week” where every employee is sent a $20 gift card and can claim $70 in free products gifted through the company and its vendors. On top of that, there are drawings for gifts from PTO to cash and prizes. This past month, one employee was even surprised at work with a giant $5,000 check.  The perks of this week are in addition to incentives provided to staff throughout the year, including safety awards, anniversary gifts and birthday gift cards.

    Kwik Trip stores are known for their friendly staff and tagline, “See you next time!”  It’s not uncommon to see staff members going out of their way to help customers in need.

    Dolezal says, “We only hire friendly and nice people. We hire you because your personality fits in with Kwik Trip’s culture. We will teach you the rest.”

    Career development is also a key part of the Kwik Trip business plan, with $2,000 renewable college scholarships, professional development reimbursements, and internships all offered. 

    There is no timeline for promotions. Dolezal notes, “At the rate which we grow, we always have opportunities for advancement, and we always try to promote from within when we can.” 

    The Belgium store will be a large travel center, open 24 hours a day, featuring four diesel pumps and 20 regular fuel pumps.   It will carry specialty items for truckers such as headsets, navigational devices, & ratchet straps, and boast a CAT scale, a trucker’s lounge, showers and a washer/dryer.  There will also be sit-down seating with pop-up charging ports and a choice car wash featuring soft touch or touch-free washes.

    The local community can also look forward to enjoying Kwik Trip perks such as fundraising opportunities and having Kwik Trip give back to those in need through its Neighbors helping Neighbors donation program.

    The store plans to celebrate its grand opening mid-October, 2023. 

    Those interested in working at Kwik Trip can also apply online:

  • Friday, March 31, 2023 12:22 PM | Tara Williams (Administrator)

    Member Spotlight on
    Oostburg State Bank- Now Celebrating 115 years!

    OSB President and CEO, Eric Glewen

    As Oostburg State Bank reflects back on its 115 years of business, a lot may have changed, but one thing remains the same: its commitment to serving the people, the businesses and the communities throughout the area.

    Eric Glewen, President and CEO of this state-chartered, community bank says that after all these years, “We remain independent to ensure that we can serve customers, neighbors and friends better than anyone else.”

    This commitment has been at the forefront of what OSB stands for from the very beginning, when 39 of Oostburg’s 400 residents met at Weiler’s Hall in Oostburg on September 23, 1907 to discuss the community’s need for a bank.

    At this meeting, Peter Daane was selected as Chairman of the meeting, S.E. Huibregtse was elected secretary and three tellers were appointed to count votes: Jacub Fuhremann, E. Was and John Brethouwer. By the end of the night, the groundwork had been laid for the new organization. The name Oostburg State Bank won out over Holland State Bank, and it was determined that the bank would begin with $24,000 in capital stock (later increased to $25,000 before the bank opened).

    OSB purchased property on the corner of 10 th Street and Center Avenue from Dirk Hartman for $675, and construction began. On March 2, 1908, Oostburg State Bank opened its doors.

    OSB has weathered the challenges brought forth by both growth and meager times while still maintaining its values. During the Great Depression, the State Banking Commissioner encouraged OSB to consider not paying dividends and to begin charging service fees. While shareholder dividends were reduced, they were not eliminated and no service fees were imposed on customers.

    By 1964, growth and progress brought forth the need for a larger and more modern facility, and a new 41’ x 63’ building was constructed on its current site on the corner of Center Avenue and South 9 th Street for $75,000.

    Original OSB building. Note that the window detail is reflected in the current logo for OSB.

    Current OSB building, completed in 1964.

    1970s surveillance camera footage shows a typical day at the bank. As signs of the times, note the "premium" items on the tables- gifts for opening a CD, the ashtray, adding machines and typewriters.  The copper face of the teller line was custom made by Herman Soerens and Earl Lammers.  It was reused during the building renovation and addition project in 2003 and remains an attractive part of the bank's lobby today.

    The bank completed additions in 1989 and again in 2003, when it more than doubled its square footage, and added two additional drive-thru lanes and the Community Room.

    In 2011, a second OSB location opened in Cedar Grove. Together, the bank boasts 50 full time equivalent employees, employing more than 60 workers total.

    Glewen says what makes OSB special is that “Our board and staff are local people, which means all of our decisions are made here locally. Unlike many other banks, we look at the whole picture and make decisions based on how they benefit our customers, their families and the community.”

    He also cites OSB’s commitment to serving the community. The bank has awarded over $135,000 in scholarships to more than 100 students since the scholarship program began in 1997. Additionally, since 2021, OSB has invested over $207,000 back into the local communities, including $75,000 to Oostburg School District for a community fitness center and $11,000 to the Oostburg Athletic Association for a new scoreboard.

    The Belgium Area Chamber is grateful for OSB’s continued sponsorships for events such as Summer Nights LIVE, (it has been the presenting sponsor for the past two years), European Christmas, and Brew & Chew.

    “We believe in giving back to the community,” says Glewen. “It’s who we are.”

    Former presidents of Oostburg State Bank, as appeared in the OSB 100th Anniversary booklet in 2008.

    Old Oostburg State Bank advertising

  • Wednesday, January 11, 2023 12:33 PM | Tara Williams (Administrator)

    Member Spotlight on Kayla Huhn of Huhn Tuning

    Kayla Huhn is willing to lend an ear to her customers any time they need her, for a small fee.  She is the owner of Huhn Tuning, a fairly new piano tuning and repair business based out of Cedar Grove.

    The idea to learn piano tuning came to her when she moved to Oostburg in 2020. Huhn is a very musical person.  In addition to having more than ten years of piano lessons under her belt, and holding an AA in music, she plays violin, ukulele, and flute.  During Covid, she and her husband decided to take up the bagpipes.  She has a background as a worship coordinator and is a piano/keyboard player at church.  So, when she went to have her piano tuned and could only find one piano tuner in all of the Sheboygan area, and that person wasn’t tuning pianos during Covid, she identified the shortage as a problem that needed solving.

     Huhn did a little research and before she knew it, was enrolled in a correspondence course out of Oregon through the Randy Potter School of Piano Technology.  

     “It was a lot like drinking from a fire hose to start with,” admitted Huhn. There are a lot of parts in a piano and every part has its own name and function.  

     However, between her extremely musical background, which she credits to her mother, and her previous work experience with her father, a crop duster, which gave her mechanical know-how, her new piano tuning skills fell into place.

    She completed the course in under a year, supplementing her training through a membership with the Piano Technician’s Guild, an international organization with a chapter in Milwaukee. Monthly meetings with other technicians and retailers in the Guild provided her the knowledge and networking necessary to get her business off the ground. 

     She officially opened Huhn Tuning, LLC, in April of 2022. 

     Huhn says that pianos should be tuned every six months, and if they aren’t, that they can go pretty flat.  When that happens, Huhn conducts a process called a pitch raise, where the piano is tuned above where it should be, and then stretches back down into place.

     She notes that technology has accelerated this process, as it used to be a two-day visit, where the tuner would need to come back a second time to fine tune the piano. Huhn has a software that helps her determine exactly how high the piano needs to be tuned to fall back closely into proper tune. She then fine tunes the piano the same day using a combination of electronic tuning software and aural tests.

     Whether she needs to conduct a pitch raising or not, she reserves three hours for tuning each piano, as she never knows exactly what will be needed until she arrives.  She charges $100 for a standard tuning and an additional $60 if a pitch raise is needed.

     In addition to tuning, Huhn is able to complete action repairs, key repairs, string replacements and can tighten tuning pins on all kinds of pianos, even including electric/hybrid pianos and player pianos.  The only thing she is unable to do is rebuild a piano, though she is happy to help customers find a resource who can.  

     As a people-loving introvert, she loves the opportunity to get out and meet people but also appreciates the peace of tuning the piano alone. 

    “I like the predictable process of tuning,” she continues, “but it doesn’t get boring because once in a while I find a problem to solve.”

     Huhn offers the following tips to help keep your piano in peak shape:
    *  Tune every six months to keep your piano sounding great and minimize services needed.

    *  Don’t store your piano near vents or windows- humidity is your piano’s enemy.

    *  Similarly, don’t ever keep it near a fireplace.

    *  The best place for your piano is on an interior wall.

     Huhn Tuning offers flexible scheduling, though most of her appointments are weekday afternoons, as she also homeschools one of her three children in the mornings.

     She typically services homes within a half hour from Cedar Grove, but can go farther for an additional travel fee. 

     She is currently offering a special deal for churches. When a congregation member has their home piano tuned, she provides them with a coupon for their church good for 10% off tuning services. The coupons are stackable so if the church collects ten coupons, their tuning is free.

     Appointments can be booked by calling or texting Kayla at 920-564-0002 or emailing Customers can also follow her on Facebook.

  • Monday, November 01, 2021 4:01 PM | Tara Williams (Administrator)

    They joke that it all started with a bad day of deer hunting.  Bob Hubing and Kevin Peiffer returned from hunting one chilly November night in 2018.  While sitting in their hunting camp (Bob’s garage) discussing the day’s events, the conversation switched to how great it is to use their ATVs to get around their property.  They believe ATVs and UTVs are the perfect mode of transportation for a variety of uses, and wondered if other ATV/UTV enthusiasts felt the same way and wanted to get together.  It sparked the idea of starting a family-oriented ATV club. 

    They booked a meeting room at the Belgium Fire Department and put out flyers inviting people to come and learn more about this idea.

    “We didn’t know what to expect, but we had 65 people show up!” says Brenda Peiffer, secretary of the club. 

    That night, the Lakeshore ATV/UTV Club was born, with the mission to “Create a safe and positive future for ATV/UTV recreation and to have fun together as a family-oriented club!”

    Today, the club boasts a membership of more than 150 people, including 20 Business Memberships, from Belgium and its surrounding communities.  The club’s first ride was up in Mountain, Wisconsin.  Members booked a hotel and spent the day riding 120 miles of trails and routes in the Northwoods.  That was the first of several club rides.  

    The club has travelled to Black River Falls, Tomahawk, Shawano, Kettle Moraine, Hurley, and more.
     They also participate in an annual Charity Ride Event benefitting the Make-a-Wish Wisconsin organization.  In 2019, it was up in Antigo, where the club helped to raise $27,000.  In 2021, the Lakeshore ATV/UTV Club partnered with the Kettle Moraine ATV/UTV Club and Wisconsin ATV Association (WATVA) to host the event for the first time at the Washington County Fairgrounds where $22,000 was raised for Make-A-Wish.  All ages could participate.  One family attended with a child who had benefitted from getting their wish. 

     “It was heartwarming to hear their story and be part of such a great cause,” Kevin recalled.

    Community service is a big part of what the club is about.  They participate with festive floats in a number of area parades and volunteer at many local events.  They even volunteered to staff the Town of Fredonia’s recycling center a couple of times when its waste manager was injured.  Keeping a positive public image and being an active member of the community is important to the club.

    Patrol Ambassador Dylan JentgesSafety is of the utmost importance, which is why it’s listed first in their mission statement and promoted throughout their events, rides and training.  In fact, several club members have been trained and certified as Trail Ambassadors.  

    The WI DNR ATV/UTV Regulations require that ATV/UTVs follow posted speed limits and all regulatory signs, be registered, have a license plate, and have their headlights and taillights on at all times.  UTVs also have seat belt requirements, just like a car; seatbelts are required to be fastened at all times.  When riding on public routes and trails, helmets are required for those under 18 yrs, and anyone born after 1988 must pass the DNR ATV Safety course which covers laws and ethics.  Noise regulations must also be met; ATV/UTVs cannot legally be louder than 96 decibels, which is lower than some motorcycles and similar to the decibel level of your lawn mower.

    “Personally, I feel safer driving my ATV on the road than when I used to drive my motorcycle,” adds Brenda; “they are on four wheels, so they are wider and more stable, and much more visible to others.”  

    ATVs and UTVs also flow with traffic, unlike bicycles or smaller scooters.  The average size of a UTV is larger than a smart car.

    ATVs and UTVs are recreational activities that older riders can enjoy and are accessible to people with disabilities.  They can be used year-round and in all kinds of weather.  It’s a very popular mode of transportation throughout the state.

    While road tripping is fun, the club’s dream is to be able to ride locally. There are over 42,000 miles of routes (a route is a road that is legal for ATVs/UTVs to drive on) in Wisconsin but very few in the Belgium area.  The club dove headfirst into researching other municipalities’ ordinances and learning through other clubs’ experiences to ensure that ATVs/UTVs will amicably coexist on local roads.

    The club has already worked with the Town Boards in Belgium and Fredonia, both of which approved ordinances to allow ATV/UTV usage on local roads.  They are currently working on proposing an ordinance in the Village of Belgium.  The club hosts fundraisers that pay for 100% of the signage needed to enact the ordinances as they are passed.  Other nearby towns and villages have similar ordinances, such as the Villages of Random Lake and Waldo, as well as the Towns of Sherman, Scott, Farmington, Kewaskum, etc. 

    The club pointed out that the traffic local restaurants and businesses enjoy for a few weeks a year from snowmobiles could be enjoyed year-round with a passed ATV/UTV ordinance. 

    After COVID hit our world, the popularity of ATVs/UTVs skyrocketed, as they provide an outdoor family-friendly activity, and as Ozaukee County’s only ATV/UTV organization, the Lakeshore ATV/UTV Club is happy to help nourish this hobby.  

    Bob Hubing taking his grandkids for a ride

    Kevin hopes to be able to use his UTV to get around Belgium more, like going to the post office, the bank, the recycling center and restaurants.  Brenda wants to be able to drive her kids down the road to visit Grandpa & Grandma on their ATVs.  Bob plans to use his UTV to help maintain the cemetery and pick up garbage on the side of the road.  He wants to point out that at his age, he really enjoys riding it whenever he can.

    Kevin summarizes, “This is just another form of recreational transportation that we want to make safe and legal for everyone to appreciate, and for our local businesses to benefit from.”

    EDITORS NOTE: Since this article was first published, the Village of Belgium has approved use of ATV/UTV vehicles on village roads.

  • Wednesday, September 01, 2021 4:26 PM | Tara Williams (Administrator)

    ALC ED Sarah Gilday points to a map noting the dozens of countries represented by ALC students.

    Most of us take the ease of daily living for granted. Can you pick up the phone and make an appointment with a person on the other end? Can you walk into a store and ask the associate to help you look for what you need? Do you know how to fill out important paperwork or applications?   Can you the imagine the frustration you would feel every single day if any of these tasks was a struggle?  

    Lucky for us, we have the Adult Literacy Center of Ozaukee County to aid in solving these issues and more. Housed within Grace Lutheran Church in Grafton, the ALC provides valuable services to local residents, including helping people learn English as a Second Language, assisting those who are trying to achieve U.S. Citizenship, and providing adult tutoring for anyone pursuing a higher degree of education- from a GED or technical school, to four-year college, and even to those attaining their master’s degree who may just need assistance in a specific class.  They also help adults with the day to day struggles caused by learning disabilities.

    We sat down with ALC’s Executive Director, Sarah Gilday, who says the three main things people don’t realize about the ALC are: 

    1.)   We are here.

    2.)   We are free.

    3.)   We offer one-on-one tutoring.

    Students are set up with volunteer tutors, who then determine a schedule and location that works best for both parties.  ALC assesses the student’s level of skill and records the goals the student sets for themselves. 

    “We create pathways to help our students achieve their goals,” says Gilday.

    Gilday says the program is a win/win for all involved, providing enriching experiences for both the student and the teacher.   Tutors often say things like, “I get way more out of the tutoring experience than I feel I give.”

    It isn’t unusual for the partnerships to become meaningful friendships. Tutors love the opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures and to help their students become better integrated into their community.  Some tutors have even traveled to reunite with their students in their home countries.  One student was quoted as saying, 

    “This tutor changed my life. They are my friend. My tutor threw me a party when I became a citizen.”

    Students pay a $25 registration fee and around $30 for books, but, Gilday points out, there are scholarships available if those fees are an issue.  There is never a charge for the tutoring sessions.

    According to the National Coalition on Literacy: “Improving basic adult education skills could save $200 billion in government support programs. Therefore, improving basic adult education skills has a positive impact on all of us.  A better educated workforce means an increase in workplace efficiency, higher income, families who are more independent, and children with a brighter future.”

    “We’re an important asset to the community and we are only able to exist through philanthropy,” says Gilday.   

    ALC’s biggest fundraiser of the year is coming up September 19-25, 2021, which coincides with National Adult Literacy Week.  ALC will be sharing five video stories of students and tutors.  Each story features a corporate sponsor who matches all donations given that day.  Gilday noted that there are a few corporate sponsorships remaining for interested businesses.  Donations can also be made any time on their website:  

    Below: 2020 testimonial video from two ALC students, Natalya & Sergey.

    ALC is gifted rent-free space, utilities and financial support from Grace Lutheran Church in Grafton, which started the ALC in 1988 as a means of helping people learn how to read, speak English, and fill out job applications.  Today, United Way of Northern Ozaukee County is also a major supporter.

    ALC is continually seeking both students and tutors.  ALC tutors are willing to visit corporations and help employees improve their basic skills, gain confidence and be able to grow in their current position.  They are hoping to expand more into Northern Ozaukee County and west into Washington County. 

    While many retired educators enjoy being tutors for ALC, there are no education requirements to be a tutor- just people with a good heart and desire to help others.  

    “You get to provide the key that opens the door to individuals pursuing their dreams,” reminds Gilday.  

    The next training session for interested tutors is October 2, 2021 from 9 am – 12 pm.  Tutors are only asked for 2-3 hours of service each week, and are paired appropriately with students to meet their needs.  Tutors are not required to speak a second language.   ALC provides all the materials that will be needed.

    Below: 2020 testimonial video from Sudeshna, an ALC tutor.

    The pandemic has made ALC’s services more critical than ever.  Gilday first started at ALC in May, 2020 as the nation was moving into lockdown.  She notes that her colleague, Katie Eippert, ALC Program Director, quickly helped tutors transition to virtual learning and worked with students to set up technology.  She says it was also important to help students navigate health literacy education so people would know how to get tested and find and understand information about the virus.  

    “Tutors became a lifeline for families who didn’t speak English as their first language to navigate the pandemic,” she stated.

    Eippert even helped to start an ALC book club for the first time as a means for people to stay connected.  As students are often new to their community, this club helped combat loneliness during that difficult time.   Today it is just as important to aid students as they seek education on the vaccine and determine where and how to get it.

    Gilday becoming the ALC’s ED may have been fate.  She came to ALC with more than 20 years of nonprofit experience in Milwaukee, but was amused to realize she had come full circle in life, as her mother also built her career in adult literacy, working in Stevens Point at Mid-State Technical College’s Goal Program.  

    Gilday says she was really happy to call her mom and say “I ended up in the same place you built your career.” She is enjoying the opportunity to make a difference through literacy and loves Ozaukee County, saying, “People are quick to return your phone calls, they are nice, and people take the time to get to know each other.”

    To learn more about ALC, visit their website at, or follow them on Twitter, Facebook , Instagram, and Linked In.


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