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What is your story? How did you end up in Milwaukee?Brittany Palenski

A bit of an American dream story - My grandma relocated with her entire family as we had relatives here in Milwaukee. We opened up family restaurants and have been here ever since. As a first generation, I'm happy to call Milwaukee my hometown.

What keeps you in Milwaukee/What do you like best about Milwaukee?

I have a lot of family here and that's what keeps me grounded and loving life. Milwaukee has such a fantastic array of people, places to see, and great neighborhoods that you can continually discover something new each and every day.

Favorite spot in the city?

Milwaukee Public Market at the oyster bar. The scene is vibrant and eclectic, with great bites! I would also put the Milwaukee Zoo as a tie, as it’s open year-round. Great place to visit with family and I have a love of animals.

Milwaukee festival you are eager to attend each year?

There isn't one that stands out, but all of them in general, as it gets people out and about. Music, food, entertainment... ahh, soak it all in.

What drew you to Echelon?

I discovered Echelon through Marcy from The Salvation Army Milwaukee chapter. The very first event I attended was the Disaster Relief Training Program in which we learned about the different pillars of The Salvation Army organization and how they respond to emergencies in the community and at the national level. With this opportunity, I also met a fantastic group of Echeloneans that made it easy to join and be part of the program that would impact our community in powerful ways.

Share with us a memorable experience you have had thus far with the organization.

We had our very first Sweaters in the Square event this past December. Although we didn't get as many participants for the "ugly sweater contest," we did provide some smiles, especially to the wonderful winner! She was fabulous and had a really neat, creative sweater.

What struggles do you see our city dealing with? What can our generation do to help?

One that stands out across generations is the respect we give to others and taking pride in our community. Respect your parents, respect elders and your environment. This begins with the family foundation. If they don't have these mentors, then we can build programs that guide at risk youth in positive directions.