Students in the Greater Joliet Area YMCA’s Teen Achievers program joined Y staff on Tuesday afternoon at Joliet West High School to accept a $10,000 grant from the Midland States Bank Foundation. The occasion marked the fourth consecutive year in which the Midland States Bank Foundation chose Teen Achievers as a recipient of these generous funds through a competitive grant process.
“Our Y is committed to helping young people succeed. It’s at the core of our mission. The Teen Achievers program has proven to be effective, working in complement with parents and schools to help students set and achieve their personal and educational goals,” Greater Joliet Area YMCA President and CEO James Watts said.
Tuesday afternoon’s check presentation coincided with an after school workshop that focused on helping students solidify their vision for the future. While sharing their personal experiences, many students mentioned a desire to achieve high levels of academic success while describing their intended career paths. Other students in attendance expressed an interest in expanding their community service efforts before graduating.
Greater Joliet Area YMCA Board Member and Midland States Bank Senior Vice President of Banking Dan Stevenson presented the check to the students and shared words of support. He expressed his excitement about the progress shown by students in the Teen Achievers program and reiterated the importance of maintaining a strong vision for their future, both personally and professionally.
The Y’s Teen and Young Adult Advancement Manager Kelsey Kruel led the discussion and thanked Midland States Bank for their generous gift.
“Generosity of this magnitude guarantees that our students will be exposed to experiences, interactions, discussions and people that could potentially change the trajectory of their lives,” said Teen and Young Adult Advancement Manager Kelsey Kruel. “People have an idea of the impact this program can have on individual students, but when we think of the effect it could have on the greater community and the systems our students are currently a part of, a gift like this one becomes that much more powerful.”
One of the Y’s most beloved programs, Teen Achievers provides area high school students with the guidance and support they need to discover their identities, embrace their passions, and become their best selves. With the support of the Y’s dedicated Teen and Young Adult staff team, students learn to manage their stress, time, and emotions, and learn about the importance of making confident and wise decisions during their high school years. Through weekly conversations, informative guest speakers, and college visits, students learn about life after high school and receive the encouragement to, not just complete twelfth grade, but to be truly prepared for whatever comes next.
Offered at five area high schools across Will and Grundy Counties, the Teen Achievers program now serves approximately 175 students Programming is free or offered at a modest fee, though no one is turned away for the inability to afford the experience. Contributions from grantors, the community, and the United Way of Will County help to underwrite the YMCA’s investment to provide Teen Achievers.