Our Daily Bread founder, Lea Kyle-Lewis looks toward future

December 9, 2021

Staff Photo

For the past 17 years, Lea Kyle-Lewis, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Our Daily Bread Community Outreach Center, Inc., has offered workshops, referrals and community assistance to youth and young adults who encounter disparities in housing, education and health care.

“Being a product of the foster care system, I developed a strong interest in helping other young ladies,” Kyle-Lewis said. “My husband and I developed a plan and we executed it.”

Now Kyle-Lewis said she and her husband have developed another plan to share with the greater Milwaukee community. “I don’t want to keep everyone in suspense about details,” Kyle-Lewis said. “For now let’s just say that it is time to step outside our comfort zone. We have outgrown our current location and need to expand.”

Kyle-Lewis said she knows the challenges faced by youth and young adults in Wisconsin’s foster care system. These challenges include loneliness, poverty, and the lack of a role model, among others. These challenges often make other obstacles harder to overcome as well. After being admitted to the foster care system at two years of age, Kyle-Lewis underwent what she describes as “19-plus years of being entangled in drugs and in unhealthy relationships” before she made a conscientious decision in 1996 to seek God’s will for her life.

Our Daily Bread recently celebrated its 15th anniversary on November 6, 2021. During its existence, Kyle-Lewis estimates that Our Daily Bread has worked with more than 300 clients. The cost of mentoring a single mother can exceed $10,000, according to Kyle-Lewis. Her agency typically works with a youth or young adult for an average of four years, she said.

In an award-winning article published in August 2008 in the Milwaukee Courier, Kyle-Lewis described how her own life began to turn around after she decided to leave a life she felt was defined by drugs and unhealthy relationships. She joined Narcotics Anonymous, began taking college courses and reconnected with her birth mother. “After graduation, I reminisced about how individuals motivated and inspired me through my hard times,” she wrote. “Through prayer, it was then I received my calling to reach out to other young ladies and make a difference in their lives.”