Brian Mc Bride and Chuck Schumacher Honored with Friend of the Friendless Awards
The term “Friend of the Friendless” refers to those special individuals who support, assist, encourage, empower, and advocate for those who are seeming outcasts in our communities. In 1912, a small group of ministers founded the Wisconsin Chapter of the Society for the Friendless, which was the original name of Wisconsin Community Services, Inc. This was part of a national movement by the Congregational Church to minister to individuals in prison and their families. The original purpose of the agency was to “minister to an outcast class in a way to make them feel that somebody was interested in them for the purpose of helping them to a new life…” The mission of the 1912 Society for the Friendless was to “help people who are incarcerated and to assist the families left behind.”
In 2001, WCS established the Friend of the Friendless Award to recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a long-term commitment to meeting the needs of those considered ostracized from the mainstream of the community. The 2022 Friend of the Friendless Awardees are Brian McBride and Chuck Schumacher.
Brian McBride has dedicated himself to advocating for children, young adults, and families in Milwaukee County for more than 20 years. Throughout this time, Brian has been a valuable member of the Waraparound Milwaukee Team, serving as a Care Coordinator, Supervisor, Program Manager, Interim Director, and currently, the Director of Children’s Community Mental Health & Wraparound Milwaukee. In this role, he has led the way with community-based programming and planning and empowered partners, like WCS, to provide individualized services and support.
There is no doubt that Brian has positively impacted the lives of countless youth and their families through his dedication and vision as he has been an instrumental part of the success of many initiatives. These include launching the first episode psychosis program (CORE); developing the O-YEAH program; implementing Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) for youth and young adults; and growing Peer Specialist Services in Milwaukee County. While always remaining focused on the needs of individuals, Brian has been creative in his work to develop new ways to meet the community’s changing needs, such as advocating for Youth Crisis Stabilization facilities and individualized placement resources and enhancing services for children and families.
Chuck Schumacher has been a strong and effective advocate for providing previously incarcerated individuals with a second chance. As the Finance and Administration Manager of the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW) since 2015, Chuck has worked closely with WCS to meet DPW’s seasonal needs for sanitation crews and other miscellaneous work crews by training and placing individuals enrolled in WCS’ Employment and Training Services program, most of whom have recently returned to the community after incarceration. Chuck has also arranged for WCS’ Commercial License Permit graduates to obtain their CDL certification while working with the City of Milwaukee. Because gaining meaningful training or finding family-sustaining employment with a criminal record can be incredibly difficult, these opportunities have been life changing for many of the participants.
Through the years, Chuck has more than demonstrated his commitment to making sure that the City of Milwaukee does its part to give returning citizens a chance to gain valuable work skills and establish a positive work record. He has consistently and tirelessly advocated for WCS participants at the city’s Community and Economic Development Committee meetings and when engaging with public officials. Thanks in great part to Chuck’s advocacy and efforts, WCS has placed more than 700 individuals with the City of Milwaukee, and more than 90% of these workers retained their position for at least 45 days.