The Carrot Project

The Carrot Project

The Carrot Project is a nonprofit education center located in Kaukauna, Wisconsin that believes that children learn and retain information best when they feel safe, confident, and relaxed. Many times children need an adult that sees them differently than parents and family. We take pride that each child will experience confidence, calm, and strength when at our center. We introduce them to music that helps to calm and relax, and rejuvenates their ability to keep focus. We do not feel traditional classrooms always allow a perfect fit, and that sometimes, you need to improvise.

Our approach is to have transparency with the students, parents, educators, and our professional staff. The Carrot Project believes completely that allowing students, parents, and educators to be creative in learning approaches allows for free thinking, ownership of learning, and excitement for future and continued learning. Fostering collaboration with parents, educators, and students revitalizes the system and brings renewed promise.
Education and the environment surrounding education is very fluid. We take the mindset that our system allows fluidity and is in a state of consistent change. We will not allow our program to continue or stay on current course if deemed ineffective. Our goal is to provide advanced programming for free to all that apply.

Meet Carissa Holtz, the founder and president of The Carrot Project Corp.

GVK: What inspired you to start The Carrot Project?

I saw the problems coming out of the education system and at first I was upset, and then I thought to myself that I couldn’t be a backseat driver. For the sake of my children, I had to do something.  I saw a decline in family, relationships and support for youth. Kids are so incredibly insightful, when we just listen. REALLY listen. Unfortunately, adults assume they are right. Often we tell youth and young adults what they should be doing instead of talking with them and guiding them.

Secondly, I found myself in a position where I knew that complaining about something wasn’t going to get the job done. So, I researched and started the nonprofit by myself. I have paid for almost 100% of the project since 2015 on my own. We purchased a building hoping to expand as needed.


GVK: What led you to Kaukauna?

Kaukauna as the largest middle school in the state and has NO Boys and Girls Club or anything that resembles that available for their youth.

GVK: What are your hopes for The Carrot Project?

I am hoping that as more people find out why we are trying to do this that we will find adequate funding to help us go from a part-time program to full-time with a paid staff facility. Currently, all of my helpers and instructors volunteer their time to ensure that we have quality programming.

I believe that we are a sum of our experiences and if young people do not have an environment that allows them to experience as much as they can as soon as they can, that they can get lost. If we allow them to have the experiences that drive their passion, then the possibilities are endless and our communities will grow and heal.

If a child doesn’t have support at home and school is intimidating because of the social aspect regarding peers, having a place that they can go that allows them to be themselves without criticism is the key. If they can have a place they can express their objections, express their wants and dreams…why wouldn’t they want to be there?

This in a nutshell is my dream for The Carrot Project: Its more about quality than quantity. It is about the possibilities and not the limitations. Its about our community as a whole and the sum of the experiences we can give. That through healing and helping, we ensure that we have healthy community members. We want to give each and every participant the encouragement they need to find their path in life.


GVK: What programming is The Carrot Project currently able to offer?

Currently we have STEAMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, Music) programming. We work with WITwisconsin (Women in Technology) to implement IT classes and are working on some summer and fall programming to be announced soon. Art classes and music lessons (piano, sax, flute, oboe, and guitar) are available year round. We also have free tutoring. All of our STEAMM programming is also free. We are trying to fund all the programming without placing a financial burden on parents. Our goal is to always provide the academic programming for free. We charge for music lessons, and for some art classes.


Some of the upcoming programming scheduled for this summer:

June 14th – Children’s literacy and art: 10am -12pm, FREE
June 17th – Terrarium building class ($15):  10 am – 12 pm
June 24th – Rummage sale to help support our free programming:  8 am – 4 pm
June 28th – Children’s sensory class (art projects): 10am – 12pm, FREE
July 12th  – Movie morning: 10 am – 12:30 pm FREE
July 26th  – Stepping stone art class ($10):  10 am – 12 pm

Follow The Carrot Project on Facebook.

Look for more information and programming on The Carrot Project website.

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Liz Schultz
Liz was raised in Wisconsin and returned with her husband and children nine years ago. They've been exploring all of the old familiar places and lots of new ones too. She is an avid fan of coffee, tea, and tacos. When she manages to steal free time without a pile of laundry, she knits like a mad woman.


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