It’s not hard to quantify the work we do here at COA; thousands and thousands of lives have been touched– 10,000 each year; hundreds of at-risk youth are provided scholarships to camp each summer; and 90 cents of every dollar we raise directly serves Milwaukee families. But numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Meet Titus Wamai.
Titus was a COA kid back in the 1970’s, when we only had a single center in Riverwest. Now an active volunteer and donor, Titus credits COA with teaching him about teamwork, community, and for connecting him with touchstone experiences that have helped define him as an adult.
“As a child of a single parent, I didn’t have that father figure who could go outside with me and throw the baseball around. I had friends who I played sports with, but it wasn’t the same as having an adult to teach me the right way to do things, and be the role model that I needed. COA provided that for me.”
Through COA, Titus got to explore nature for the first time at summer camp. He developed a passion for photography that continues today, and even learned how to view the world through a new lens during a fishing trip on Lake Michigan.
“I got a little seasick but I didn’t care, because I experienced something that I never imagined would be available to me. Back then, that seemed like something ‘other people did’ — yet there I was.”
Titus is why COA exists. Every day we work to shape a better future for Milwaukee families; one person, one experience at a time. Just take it from Titus:
“When I think about the memories and experiences I had growing up, it’s amazing how many are related to COA. I believe that those experiences, along with the time and effort that the counselors devoted to us, have made me a better, more well-rounded person. And I guarantee that there are lots of kids going to COA right now who will be saying the same thing in 30 years.”
Titus is COA. In the three decades since he started with COA, a lot has changed for the Wamai family and their relationship with COA. His mother, Lorraine, explains:
“It’s an organization truly interested in the development of children and their progress…. As my career progressed and, actually, once my children were grown, out of the house and my expenses reduced, I decided it was time to give back.”
And she and her entire family have done just that through kind donations of winter clothing and toys each holiday season, and as active volunteers supporting our Milwaukee community. Thank you, Wamai Family!