Life's Voices

Marti Mikkelson

Each year, WUWM profiles the unsung heroes in Milwaukee. Today, we feature Carmen Pitre, executive director of the Sojourner Family Peace Center. It shelters and aids victims of domestic violence.

Carmen Pitre sits at a conference table in the new shelter for battered women that she’s envisioned for years. It’s a huge brick building covering a square block of Milwaukee’s central city and actually won’t open until February.

S Bence

Sharon Adams sips a Purple Haze, a beet infused drink, and marvels. She’s glancing out the window of The Juice Kitchen on North Avenue off 17th Street.

“We used to walk the streets that were trouble, it would be noisy. Now it’s peaceful out there and the noise is good in here,” Adams says.

We now continue our annual year-end series Life’s Voices. We present people working to improve the community, sometimes with little fanfare. Today we meet Terri Strodthoff. She’s founder and president of the Alma Center. It helps men who have committed acts of domestic violence to discover and heal from trauma early in their lives that may have led them to act violently.

Ann-Elise Henzl

WUWM's year-end Life's Voices series continues with a profile of self-taught pianist Len Pawelski. 

He's a lifelong musician and long-time accordion player and teacher. Five days a week, he volunteers at Aurora West Allis Medical Center, playing the piano for visitors and staff.

Ann-Elise Henzl

WUWM's holiday series Life's Voices begins this year with a profile of Steve Paradowski.

He's a professional chef who's on disability after a stroke.

Yet he still cooks a couple of times a week for Kathy's House. It's a place that provides lodging to people who live out of town who travel to Milwaukee area hospitals for outpatient treatment.

Paradowski watches the sale papers for deals. Then he shops for the ingredients for his Kathy's House meals, storing them in his apartment near Mitchell International Airport.

Sherrie Tussler, long-time executive director of the Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee, had planned to be an art teacher.

Sara Risley

As part of our year-end series "Life's Voices," we profile Ginger Duiven, executive director of Literacy Services of Wisconsin.

Marti Mikkelson

As the year’s end approaches, we profile unsung heroes in the community.

LaToya Dennis

For nearly 20 years, Josie Veal has dedicated her life to helping under-served communities as a nurse.

S Bence

Melissa Cook manages the Hank Aaron State Trail. The project has been many years in the making.

Ann-Elise Henzl

Duncan Shrout has been volunteering at the St. Ben’s Community Meal for more than 25 years.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

If you followed the Oscars, you might know that the man who won "Best Screenwriter” is a Mequon native. John Ridley helped create the best picture winner, 12 Years a Slave.

Susan Bence

Back in the 1990s, Diane Buck surveyed the multitude of monuments around Milwaukee and zeroed in on 12 in desperate need of repair.

Ann-Elise Henzl

Our Life’s Voices series continues with a profile of longtime community volunteer Penny Kasprzak.

Every year at this time WUWM reporters head out into communities to talk with everyday people making a difference. In this installment of our Life’s Voices series, we speak with Andre Ellis. He’s a local playwright who tells stories from the perspective of black men.

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