View All Initiatives
The First Lady invites the people of Wisconsin to “Walk with Walker,” as she visits some of Wisconsin’s most picturesque trails, parks, and landscapes, promoting community engagement while showcasing some of the beautiful but lesser known sites across the state.
Trails are selected for six organized Walk with Walker events per year. The First Lady welcomes local residents, visitors, and friends and family to join her on the trails while exploring Wisconsin’s treasure chest of picturesque scenery.
To learn more about Walk with Walker and upcoming events, see our event schedule.
To read about all of the First Lady's walks so far, visit her blog.
The First Lady is working in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and various private organizations to better recognize, understand, and address the effects of trauma on the lives of children and families in Wisconsin.
Developments in neuroscience and public health have taught us that adverse childhood experiences cause an outpouring of the stress hormones that, over time, change the way the brain grows, develops, and reacts to the environment and to other people – even years down the line.
Traumatic stress can create problems with forming relationships, regulating and controlling emotions, perceiving danger where there is none, and even physical health in adult life. Traditional therapy alone does not address these changes, and trauma-informed therapy is much more effective at reversing the negative effects of trauma.
The first lady was first inspired to work with Teen Challenge, a faith-based organization dedicated to the healing and rehabilitation of teens and young adults with substance abuse addictions, after attending a graduation ceremony and hearing the moving testimony of several Teen Challenge students who had completed the program. She now works regularly with Teen Challenge to raise awareness for the group throughout the state, and assists with their fundraising and expansion efforts.
Teen Challenge of Wisconsin first began in Milwaukee in 1983, and its first residential program for men was opened in 1989. The women’s program was opened in September of 1999. A study by Northwestern University confirmed a success rate for Teen Challenge graduates of over 80%.
Wisconsin is home to some of the finest Midwestern hospitality and some of our nation’s friendliest people. Throughout the state, in small towns and big cities alike, countless individuals are eager to go the extra mile, take a stand for causes in which they believe, and use their time, effort and ideas to help make Wisconsin a better place.
On behalf of the State of Wisconsin, the First Lady would like to recognize these exceptional people and make their selfless contributions known. If you know someone who is dedicated to an organization that helps make Wisconsin a better place, please nominate that person for a Wisconsin Heroes Award.
Recognition is given to outstanding Wisconsin residents on a quarterly basis. The First Lady visits and presents the award to the winner to say thank you for his or her willingness, compassion, and commitment to the betterment of our state.
Governor Scott Walker declared 2013 to be the Year of Well-Being. The year focused on four main areas of well-being: be active, be connected, be informed, and be part of your community. First Lady Tonette Walker decided to make the Year of Well-Being a continued focus each year. Wellness Weekend is the extension of the Year of Well-Being. This year Wellness Weekend will be at the Osthoff Resort on January 19-21, 2018.