Ho-Chunk Way donates to Whirling Thunder, Youth Shelter

Pilar Aldrich, Wellness Director for Whirling Thunder Wellness, is pictured with children at the wellness center.

Provided by Ho-Chunk, Inc. 

Two Winnebago community programs recently received nearly $92,000 total in donations from Ho-Chunk, Inc. employees across the company and country. 

The contributions to Whirling Thunder Wellness Center and the Winnebago Youth Shelter are through the Ho-Chunk Way Employee Donation Program, an employee initiative to make a direct and lasting difference in the Winnebago community. 

Whirling Thunder Wellness Center received a $57,000 donation and will receive a second check later this year for additional funds raised as the program’s current annual recipient. 

The funds will go toward a softball facility that provides family fun and exercise for the community. 

“We are excited to present this check on behalf of our employees who understand the importance of working for a Native company means investing in the community’s health and wellbeing,” said Angel Derochie, Ho-Chunk, Inc.’s Chief Financial Officer. 

More than $231,000 has been raised through the Ho-Chunk Way Program since it began in 2017, including employee donations and more recently additional donations from the public as program awareness grows outside the company. 

“It means so much that Ho-Chunk, Inc. employees contribute their own funds to the health and wellness of the Winnebago community,” said Pilar Aldrich, Wellness Director for Whirling Thunder Wellness Center. 

The Winnebago Youth Shelter was previously chosen as a Ho-Chunk Way recipient organization and received $76,000 in total donated funds, with the final check presented late last year. 

“Our mission at the Winnebago Youth Shelter is to provide a safe, supportive environment for some of our most at-risk and high-risk youth in our communities,” said Daryl LaPointe, director of the shelter. “Typically, these children are involved in Child Protective Services or Child and Family Services. We really try to provide that safe, secure environment for them during a really difficult time in their life.” 

Previous Ho-Chunk Way recipients also include the Winnebago Boys & Girls Club, HoChunk Renaissance and the Winnebago Senior Center. Recipient organizations apply each year and are chosen by an employee committee. 

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