Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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March 14, 2013

The Crossing receives $25,000 grant

The Crossing Educational Center’s Xtreme program received a $25,000 grant from the United Way of Elkhart County to service Elkhart County’s most struggling youth.

Crossing Xtreme is a vocational job training program that develops the internal traits and dispositions of struggling youth to prepare them to be contributing members of the Elkhart County work force after graduation. While working toward their high school diploma, Xtreme students will receive vocational training in a highly structured job training program. Xtreme students learn construction through a partnership with Habitat-for-Humanity and arborist work through the Crossing not-for-profit tree removal business.

“The Elkhart County United Way grant will allow us to continue to develop our job training programs so that we can develop workers for Elkhart County employers. It is our goal to turn our Xtreme program into a self-funded program through our tree removal service and other student run businesses,” said Matt Hogarth, Crossing Careers director/principal.

“The Xtreme project was one of the most creative ways of engaging young men that United Way has seen in some time. It’s a very fundamental concept — some young men want to learn by doing. Work has always been a great teacher. United Way has high hopes for this project,” said Darren Bickel of United Way of Elkhart County.

Other grants awarded by United Way

United Way of Elkhart County has awarded nearly $500,000 in grants to local organizations which help families become more financially stable.

“Families need to be able to do more than just meet their monthly expenses,” said Shannon Klein, chairperson of United Way’s Income Panel. “They need the training to get a great job and then they need the money skills to start building a nest egg. Since the recession, too many families are living week to week. United Way is committed to helping them achieve something more.”

Families need a steady source of income that covers the cost of basic necessities before they can make more long-term decisions regarding savings and asset building, United Way officials said. Now more than ever before, educational attainment is fundamental to the long-term earning potential of an individual. It is critical to connect disconnected youth and adult learners with alternative education and work experience opportunities.

“United Way is excited about new partnerships with The Crossing and Merit Learning Center,” said Bill Rieth, president. “Both programs are working with young adults who need a different approach to succeed. Whether it is The Crossing’s on-the-job training with their tree trimming service or Merit’s high tech teaching techniques, the common theme is doing whatever it takes to make sure these young adults have a solid chance at a great job. Not graduating high school isn’t an option for this generation. We’re committed to helping local students find a way to succeed.”

United Way volunteers make all the decisions about where the grants go.   

Income grants were given to:

• Emergency Food & Shelter Assistance — $274,562

• American Red Cross: Disaster Response — $84,000

• Connect2Help: United Way 211 — $35,562

• iFiT: Women’s Shelter — $25,000

• Salvation Army Elkhart: Food & Shelter Assistance — $80,000

• Salvation Army Goshen: Food & Shelter Assistance — $50,000

• Adult Education — $61,000

• The Crossing: Xtreme Team — $25,000

• IFiT: Family Empowerment — $12,000

• Merit Learning Center: Merit on the Move — $24,000

• Financial Literacy — $111,000

• LaCasa: Home Ownership Center — $65,000

• LaCasa: Financial Skills Training — $35,000

• LaCasa: Neighborhood Development — $11,000

• 2013 Innovation Grant Pool — $53,000

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