Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.: Shines light on teen homelessness

For more information contact:

Peggy Schicantek

(414) 978-5346


Or: Mike Flaherty 332-5200

MADISON – January 5, 2015 – Eighteen legal professionals in the Madison, Wis., office of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. (WHD) have rallied through their unique firm giving program, Whyte Lights, to support the newly renamed Briarpatch Youth Services Inc., which is expanding to help serve the region’s runaway, homeless and at-risk youth.

WHD, with offices in Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago, makes $100 available to each of its more than 280 employees, which they in turn can use to assist others in need. A third of the employees in the law firm’s Madison office rallied behind attorneys Emily Litznerski Foster and Jeff Vercauteren to donate $1,800 – and in some cases their time – to help Briarpatch continue and expand its mission.

“Briarpatch is unique because it takes a holistic approach to helping homeless teens,’’ said Litznerski Foster, a trusts and estates attorney who also serves on Briarpatch’s fundraising campaign to expand the facility and its services. “They don’t just provide beds for the homeless; they work with the schools and families to help students succeed at school and, if possible, stay in homes with their families.

“This is an example of a community really coming together to address a community issue,” she added.

Briarpatch, formerly Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin Inc., served 3,000 young people in 2014, providing them with counseling, food and shelter, parental support, and intensive supervision. Briarpatch is committed to bringing a shelter for runaway and homeless youth to Dane County. This eight-bed shelter will be part of the agency’s services and programs that support youth (ages 13 to 17 years) and their families. Briarpatch is currently in the “quiet phase” of the campaign to raise $3.1 million to fund ongoing operations of the shelter, and to retire the mortgage on the agency’s new building. This will free up $120,000 per year for services to youth and families. $1.2 million has already been secured.

“Briarpatch does great work in an area that is really underserved,’’ said Vercauteren, a commercial real estate and communications law attorney. “Homeless shelters, as a rule, don’t allow children who are unaccompanied by a parent to stay, so there’s a real need there. Our Madison school superintendent has identified student homelessness as one of the more serious problems facing our schools.

“I’m involved because it’s about community,’’ he added. “In order for our community to be successful, we need everyone to have the chance to succeed.’’

In the three years since the Whyte Lights program’s inception, WHD employees have assisted 277 organizations, 44 families and 135 individuals.


Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C., one of Wisconsin’s leading full-service law firms, plays a significant role in shaping political, economic, environmental and legal landscapes. With offices in Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., and Chicago, the firm has more than 150 professionals practicing in more than 50 industry and specialty areas. WHD is committed to delivering exceptional service and innovative, practical solutions to state, regional and national clients.