The Ascentra Credit Union Foundation (ACUF), the philanthropic arm of Ascentra Credit Union, is lending its support to a program empowering at-risk youth to overcome barriers to self-sufficiency.
The ACUF announced that it has adopted one the six class sessions for the Safer Foundation Quad Cities’ Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). That program has the goal of helping young people who have disengaged from high school and/or have been involved with the criminal legal system.
On average, nearly 350 young adults, ages 16 to 18, are referred for detainment by Scott County law enforcement each year. Through YEP, at-risk youth receive assistance to overcome barriers in developing critical life and workplace skills, earning their high school equivalency diploma, as well as obtain linkages to employment, job training, or post-secondary education. The overarching goal is to create a safer community.
“Ascentra’s investment in Safer’s Youth Empowerment Program, Adopt-A-Class campaign, will provide needed support for students who did not do well in the traditional school setting,” Safer Foundation QC Director Erica Lee said in a news release.
She said the program serves about 60 students each year, providing them with academic tools and life skills readiness needed to reach their goals. Last year, YEP students exceeded projections in both diploma attainment and job starts. In addition, follow-up 12 months later with the students revealed nearly 90% had successfully remained in the community without requiring a higher level of care.
Safer Foundation has been serving the Quad Cities since 1976 and equips individuals with the knowledge and skills required to compete in the workforce, contribute positively to their community and live fulfilling and successful lives. It is the only community program that exclusively targets and assists individuals with criminal legal system involvement.
The credit union’s foundation was created to continue the service and generosity of the late Paul Lensmeyer, Ascentra president and CEO from 1993 to 2013. He lived and breathed the Listening, Caring, Doing What’s Right mantra that the credit union is inspired by every day.
Linda Andry, Ascentra’s new president and CEO, said Safer’s YEP “correlates with the People Helping People philosophy in which the credit union industry is founded on and directly relates to Ascentra’s Listening, Caring, Doing What’s Right approach to making a difference in the communities we serve.”