Ascend Initiative helps challenged young adults in Neenah

Local News

Young adults dealing with mental health issues have a new place to go to find help. Local 5’s Kris Schuller reports the Ascend Initiative opened its door last month –  thanks to a very generous donation.

Inside a donated office building in Neenah – a staff that is ready to offer hope to young adults living with mental illness  – in a new transitional living program called the Ascend Initiative.

“I feel grateful every day that I am part of this program,” Maggie Tennie, a case manager. 

“It’s a program designed to assist young adults 18-25, to transition from youth to adulthood successfully,” said Jen Kelley, program director.

Open to men and women the program is run by the Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities and National Alliance on Mental Illness Fox Valley, providing housing, education, job training and support for two years.

“Really everything it takes to live independently and make that transition into adulthood which is difficult for anybody,” Kelley said.

Helping a segment of the community that sometimes has been left behind. 

“There is a lot of services geared toward families, veterans, individuals and rightfully so, but this age group was really falling through the cracks,” said Kelley.

The initiative was created thanks to a $1 million donation of property by Lynne Cumings Keller. Her donated property gives the organization a home and those enrolled stable housing –  a critical feature missing in many programs for this age group.

“It has changed the lives of people in this community,” Kelley said.

“I think it is nothing short of amazing,” said Tennie.

It’s a first of its kind program aimed at offering hope, while helping challenged young adults find their way as they ascend into adulthood.

The initiative hopes to house 12 clients by the fall.

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