The M List 2016: Rachel Darken
Prepping for the future
Rachel Darken wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, and the team she works with at Common Wealth is helping her achieve that goal.
Common Wealth is a nonprofit organization with a mission to build a connected community in Dane County through affordable housing, youth and adult job support and training, business incubation and engagement. Darken is the youths program director. The group helps high school youth from disadvantaged backgrounds find a direction to success.
Darken and five team members work with youth ages 14 to 16 to help prepare them for employment, higher education and handling finances. More than 80 percent of the students find jobs and 70 percent keep the jobs.
Mentoring includes after-school training in several areas. Darken and her team members also teach participants how to be advocates for themselves in the workplace.
Darken is motivated by the “privilege of being able to witness and support” the growth and success of the students she mentors. She says she recently received a card from a former client who was promoted to a manager and is starting college. “It’s incredible to walk in every day knowing you’re helping people prepare for their future,” Darken says.
The M List
Madison Magazine’s M List is a who’s who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its fourth year, the M List recognizes those making strides as mentors and teachers. Last year’s list of honorees were making impacts in the area of social innovation. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored “Foodtastic” entrepreneurs and innovators.