Frequently Asked Questions
What is ForeverU?
ForeverU is a 501(c)(3) youth development organization that is empowering youth to overcome adversity by offering personal development programs that equip them to face life's greatest challenges and obstacles.
How did ForeverU start?
.The organization was founded by Ryan Hesslau in 2012 as a sophomore at Lincoln-Way East High School following the suicide of a high school student from his local area. His passion for youth mental health began his freshman year of high school after researching the stories of students his age who died by suicide because of life circumstances that went unseen. The stories of these students became his motivation for developing a creative solution to ensure that youth who were struggling had the resilience to keep living. The stories of these students became his motivation for developing a creative solution to ensure that youth who were struggling had the resilience to keep living.
In fact, he still keeps their photos with him today as a reminder of why we started.
For the first few years of ForeverU’s existence, he discovered the courage to speak at local schools, organize community initiatives, and raise awareness about youth mental health in the surrounding areas. Ryan made the decision to rebuild the organization from scratch in 2017 and continues to lead the organization today as the President and Executive Director, while also serving as the CEO of a counseling and communication technology company he founded in 2018 called, Above the Waves.
Who are ForeverU programs encouraged for?
ForeverU programs are highly encouraged for students going through difficult life circumstances or adversity who are open to personal growth, positive change, and have a the willingness to take responsibility for their own learning
Our programs are not a place for students who are actively in danger of harming themselves or those around them. 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 youth challenged by adversity. 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.
Can a student attend multiple retreats through Reset Experience?
Returning students are allowed to "recharge" and participate in one retreat per school year for $250.00. The reason we limit this to one retreat is because students who have gone through Reset Experience also receive access to our programs Elevate Experience and Fortify Experience.
What is the benefit of putting my child in ForeverU programs?
Students who participate in our personal development programs will grow their emotional intelligence, accelerate their character development, and ignite an internal desire for personal achievement. On top of that, all students who participate in our programs for at least 3 years are enrolled into our alumni engagement program which gives them with access to internship and employment opportunities during their young adult years.
What age does my child have to be to participate in ForeverU programs?
Elevate Experience is offered to 7-12 grade students, and Reset Experience + Fortify Experience is offered exclusively to 9-12 grade students.
Who can volunteer in ForeverU programs?
Our programs are facilitated by young adult volunteers who must undergo an interview, background check + screening process, and complete our Volunteer Training workshop that is offered a few times throughout the year. Though it is not required, many of our young adult volunteers have or are working towards a degree in Social Work or Psychology. Additionally, we have a volunteer licensed counselor and nurse at our retreats and camps as well. Click here to learn more about the current volunteer opportunities we offer.
Are there any partnership opportunities in ForeverU?
Yes! Partnerships are a strategic way that we are able to increase awareness of our mission in surrounding communities. We currently have TWO different types of partnerships which include:
Community Partners: Help us connect our personal development camps and retreats to students who are experiencing difficult life circumstances or in need of direction, guidance or structure in their life. This partnerships type is for high schools, mental health organizations, youth-driven organizations, behavioral health centers, churches, private practices, and community groups.
College Partners: Help us connect college students to our volunteer opportunities offered through our personal development camps, retreats, and after-school programs. This partnership type is encouraged for all four year colleges that offer degrees in Psychology and Social Work.
As a Community or College Partner, we feature you on our website (optional) and provide you with a monthly email update about upcoming camps and retreats, and mail you handouts that you can pass along to students, parents, and/or prospective volunteers. Click here to enroll as either a Community or College Partner.
Can I advocate for ForeverU?
Yes! As a ForeverU Advocate, your role is to help us open doors in new communities when it comes to school systems, partnerships, and/or any possible funding opportunities. You can enroll as a ForeverU Advocate by clicking here.
Is ForeverU a religious organization?
ForeverU was founded by Ryan Hesslau in 2012 as a response to a calling God had put in his life and continues to lead the organization today from a faith-based perspective. Though ForeverU programs are not religiously based, many of the life skills and concepts we teach are built on Christian values. It is important to be clear that ForeverU does not teach students how to become self-reliant, rather we teach students the importance of being part of supportive communities that build us up and help us elevate our potential.
In fact, most of what we teach is incredibly helpful to one's faith walk which is why we do partner with youth ministry programs within churches and are offered as a resource to students in need of guidance, structure, and direction in life.
How can I financially support the organization?
If you would like to make a financial gift to our organization, please click here. If you would like to speak with a ForeverU Representative about becoming a financial partner with our organization, please contact us directly: info@foreverUmovement.org
Does ForeverU have any events or fundraisers during the year?
Yes! We have an annual Gala that takes place at Tuscany Falls in Mokena, IL every March. Click here to learn more about our events.