News About 12Plus1

Dear Friends,

I am writing to tell you that 12plus1 is suspending our operations. After two years of recruiting, we simply do not have enough candidates. First I owe a debt of gratitude to all who have supported 12plus1 financially, spiritually, marketing, developing the program, interviewing and selecting candidates, volunteering and offering encouragement. All of you made a special and important contribution. Second, I want to reaffirm my belief that the essence of faith is service to one another. There is too much evidence that even the most fervent and faith-filled individuals have lost this core tenant. If we are unable to show respect to one another, our prayers and piety are empty. St. Paul would refer to this as a banging gong. Even if you are not a person of faith, it seems abundantly evident that society is becoming louder, more self-centered and less interested in kindness and decency. Every human being is deserving of respect and dignity. I had hoped this ministry would promote those values.

This is also why we are suspending the organization and NOT dissolving the 501c3 organization. I have not given up hope or my belief that service and justice will prevail. Perhaps this was simply not the correct format, but my belief that God is calling me to invest in working to heal the divisions that exist between races, religions, gender and socio-economic groups remains strong. Finding a way to show others that tolerance and caring for people whose ideas and values are different than yours is not a threat to you seems vitally important today. At the moment, I am simply not sure what form that takes.

I also want to thank Maribeth and my family. The past two years we made a commitment that cost us financially, emotionally, at times spiritually and even physically, by hauling our goods from convention to convention. One lesson I learned is that one does not start their own business by themselves. It involves your entire family whether they like it or not. My income the past two years was about a third of what I had been previously making. All of us had to do without things we were used to having. Never once did I hear complaints or frustration. I am grateful for that support.

Finally, I have two requests for you. First, I hope to be able to continue my part-time leadership of the Adult Literacy Center of Ozaukee County, but certainly need to find additional work. Please let me know if you come across a role you think would fit my skills and passion to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Secondly, 12plus1 has about $1000 in bills that need to be paid. If you feel moved to make a tax deductible contribution to allow 12plus1 to move onto the next stage, all of us at 12plus1 would be grateful.

I hope that we remain in contact. Thank you and may God bless you.

Joe Nettesheim, Director


Taylor spent a year in Aberdeen, Washington with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Part of his experience was to serve in a parish and also help in meal program. He speaks about the fear of entering into an experience like this, how success is based on the ability to be open, have a willingness to learn and to live in the moment.

I came in thinking I knew how things were going to be ... one of the biggest things I learned was listening to other people’s experiences and wisdom... that was one of my struggles . . . my experience showed how much we learned from the community and from the people we served and that was a big area of growth.
— Taylor Baar, Service Year Participant
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Kimberly Van Beek is a Development Associate at Cristo Rey Jesuit school in Milwaukee. She graduated from UW -Whitewater and then spent one year working before she became a service year volunteer in Pittsburgh through the Change a Heart. In this video she shares the life-changing impact of saying yes and being open. She was changed by her service and community.

It was a year of my life that I feel like I was authentically able to be myself.
— Kimberly VanBeek, Service Year Participant
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Laura Hancock is a Theology teacher at Messmer High School. After college she participated in a faith and service based gap experience in Denver, Colorado through the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers. n this video she shares the life-changing impact of her service year. It influenced her career, faith, friendships- every aspect of her life. We hope you will consider participating in an extraordinary experience like a gap year.

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The commitment to social justice and te engagement with real life, community issues was a way of living faith that I had never experienced before.
— Laura Hancock, Service Year Participant