Project Summary

My name is Ryan Hesslau and I am a graduate of Lincoln-Way East High School, a recent graduate of Trinity Christian College, and Executive Director of the 501(c)(3) youth development organization, ForeverU. As a high school sophomore, I started ForeverU after researching the stories of students my age who had died by suicide due to life circumstances that went unseen. Their stories became my motivation for developing a creative solution to ensure that youth who were struggling had the resilience to keep living.

Today, ForeverU is empowering youth to overcome adversity by offering personal development camps, retreats, and after-school programs that equip them to face life's greatest challenges and obstacles.

Since 2014, 92% of our program participants have seen an increase in their emotional intelligence, 86% have experienced an increase in their self-esteem, and 95% believe they’re becoming closer to the person they hope to be. As a result of this remarkable traction, we have developed a powerful network of community partners (such as Silver Oaks Behavioral Hospital and the Safe Communities Coalition of New Lenox) who have agreed to help us reach a greater number of youth and families in the coming years.

That being said, we are excited to announce that we are setting out to open a community empowerment center in New Lenox, IL with the purpose of offering an after-school safe haven to local youth and providing community members with a central location to become educated on youth behavioral health and wellness.

I am currently looking for local community leaders, business owners, and youth mental health advocates to join me on this journey of creating a positive shift within our local communities and help youth find their place in the world. If you would like to join my efforts as a financial partner in the development of this facility or serve as a community advocate by helping us get connected to new networks, I’d love to have to sit down with you to speak more about my vision. Together, we can help students excel in all areas of life.

Stay Awesome,

Ryan Hesslau

Founder | President & Executive Director, ForeverU

Email: ryan@foreverumovement.org

Statement of Need + Project Description

Our current program model provides students with life-changing experiences and opportunities that help them understand the greatness within them by growing their emotional intelligence, accelerating their character development, and igniting an internal desire for personal achievement. Though this is a powerful aspect of our organization , a problem we’ve recognized through the years is that many of the daily environments our students find themselves in are not well equipped to be responsive to youth behavioral health and wellness.

We are excited to announce that ForeverU will be moving forward with a plan to open its first community empowerment center in Will County this August which has a central mission of creating a balance between communities and youth behavioral health. Through this facility, ForeverU will serve local communities in the following ways:

  • Youth Safe Haven: This modernistic facility will provide an engaging and inviting meeting place for students after school hours. Between a complimentary coffee bar, flex-seating, and multi-purpose furniture, students can customize their own experience within our facility.

  • Educational Classes: Through partnerships with behavioral health centers, private practices, universities, and other like-minded organizations, we will provide educational classes at least twice a week that help parents, educators, coaches, and other community members acquire the knowledge needed to be responsive to youth behavioral health and wellness

  • Life-Readiness Programs: As a youth development organization, we will provide free programs at least once a week that will prepare youth for adulthood and future employment opportunities. These programs will provide students with practical techniques, practices, and strategies that will help them excel in all areas of life.

  • Certification Programs: In addition to educational classes, these local partners will help us facilitate interactive workshops at least twice a month that will provide community members with the opportunity to gain insight and certification in a wide variety of preventative practices such as suicide prevention and mental health first aid.

  • Training Programs: An important objective of this facility will be to also serve as the primary training center for those interested in volunteering in our programs by offering volunteer training programs at least once a month.

  • Online Courses: One of the most powerful aspects of this facility will be our ability to reach thousands through modern-day technology. Whether we are hosting an educational class on the vaping epidemic or an informative class on youth depression – everything is recorded, edited, and produced right out of our facility, allowing us to feature our classes online and educate a global audience.

The following Community Partners will have the opportunity to collaborate with our mission and volunteer their time in facilitating our different classes, programs, and workshops offered throughout the week:

  • Schools + Universities

  • Youth + Family Organizations

  •  Behavioral Health Centers + Private Practices

  •  Public Safety + Local Government

Financing the Project

Since the early stages of development for this facility, a primary objective in its establishment had been to make this a community supported facility through financial partners who consist of local corporations, foundations, independent donors, and in-kind contributors. In doing so, we believe this will instill a unique sense of purpose and meaning throughout the surrounding areas by providing these financial partners with the opportunity to support a local initiative and make a difference right at home.

 

We are currently working with a couple in New Lenox, IL who own a 2809 SF commercial space that we hope will be the home for this facility. 

 

They are graciously willing to work alongside us and give us 6 months to come up with the necessary funds to pull this project off. We currently have a team lined up to assist with the build out process which will be completed in partnership with local business and in-kind contributors.

Our projected operating budget which includes the daily operations of the facility, program expansion and implementation, and community outreach initiatives is $280,000.00. This will allow us to expand our team of full-time personnel and enhance the quality of our programming both within the facility as well as through our off-site programs – camps, retreats, and after-school programs.

 

Our fundraising objective currently is $65,000.00 to help us carry through a year of operations at this facility. Once we open our doors in August of 2020, our Executive Director, Ryan Hesslau, will step away from program leadership responsibilities and solely focus on raising financial support to carry our organization forward operationally.

 

As for facility operations, we have developed a volunteer program that trains and certifies young adults to serve in our facility, allowing the facility to be 100% volunteer run in the meantime while we continue our fundraising efforts.

 

We predict that once we gain momentum by opening the doors to this community empowerment center, community members and prospective financial partners will see our vision unfold and be quick to join our efforts as we set out to create a long-lasting impact in the lives of youth and families locally.

Become a Financial Partner

Companies, foundations, and independent donors who are interested in joining our efforts as a financial partner in opening our first location in New Lenox, IL are encouraged to set up a meeting with ForeverU Executive Director, Ryan Hesslau.

 

During this time together, you will come to understand the innovative model that we are exploring for local communities when it comes to creating a balance between youth development and evolving communities. All donors who are willing to join our efforts and make a financial gift to this project will be recognized in the following ways:

CEC Partner: $3,500.00/semester

  • Company Featured on ForeverU Website for 1 Semester

  • Company Featured on ForeverU Social Media Announcing Partnership

  • Company Receives a Website Badge that Recognizes Company as a CEC Partner

  • Company Featured on Facility Signage for Entire Semester

  • Company Employees with Children Receive Free Access to ForeverU Programs

  • Company Employees Receive Unique Volunteer Opportunities Through the Facility

  • Company Publicly Recognized at ForeverU’s Annual Gala

University Partner: $2,500.00/semester

  • University Featured on ForeverU Website for 1 Semester

  • University Featured on ForeverU Social Media Announcing Partnership

  • University Receives a Website Badge that Recognizes Company as a University Partner

  • University Literature Featured at Main Entrance Welcome Kiosk

  • University Tour Scheduling Tablet Featured at Main Entrance Welcome Kiosk

Program Partner: $1,500.00/semester 

  • Company Featured on ForeverU Website for 1 Semester

  • Company Featured on ForeverU Social Media Announcing Partnership

  • Company Featured on All Program Monitors and Materials

  • Company Provides Limited Time Offer to Program Participants (Optional)

  • Company Featured in Online Job Board for Local Youth and Families

  • Company "Request Info" Tablet Featured at Main Entrance Welcome Kiosk

Fundraising Partner: Host an Event - Percentage of Sales Donated to ForeverU

  • Company Brand is Enhanced for Giving Back to the Community

  • Company and Fundraising Event Featured on ForeverU Social Media

  • Company and Fundraising Event Featured in Local Media Outlets

  • Company Acquires New Customers While Re-Engaging Current One's

Those interested in bringing in Ryan Hesslau in for a meeting should click below to email him directly.

©2019 ForeverU. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: ForeverU is classified as a youth development organization. Please know that our volunteers, employees, and representatives are not medical professionals. We are a community of individuals who are passionate about offering support and belonging to the youth we serve. The information and programs we provide are meant to encourage and support students and is not meant to replace the advice or expertise of medical professionals.