My name is Joanna and I first became involved with ForeverU during the 2018 winter weekend retreat as a mentor. Since then, I have continued to be a mentor for the retreats. I have had experience with growing up in an abusive household, and the challenges that can occur because of dating another woman and through ForeverU, I have been able to share my experiences and how I got through them to potentially help others utilize the same tools that I did. ForeverU has taught me how to be openly honest with my experiences and feelings which have contributed to me becoming a much stronger and more open person today. I have been able to spend more time giving back to the community and educating people on the importance of mental health and using tools to help people get through life’s challenges since I have joined ForeverU. My personal life has changed since joining because I am always learning better and different ways of handling difficult experiences through the group sessions and am constantly reminded of the importance of having a solid support system that I can count on. The students, fellow mentors and team have opened my eyes to seeing the brighter side of things when I am struggling and I am so grateful for them and their reminders to utilize all the mental tools in my toolbox. To those who believe in our work and financially support our mission, thank you for helping me be more open about my stories and helping me realize it’s okay to ask for help.

My name is Tyler and I’ve been a ForeverU mentor for over 2 years now. I got involved in July 2018, the summer after I graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

I was told about ForeverU after having a conversation with a family member about my interests and passions in life and how I could use my knowledge and life experiences to help others, especially young people who are experiencing increasing levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. After she showed me the website, I reached out in hopes of getting involved. After sitting down with Ryan over coffee, we knew we would be a great team. The rest is history.

My first experience volunteering with ForeverU was at the week-long Camp Reset. It was at that time when I knew what my calling was. Connecting with our students, teaching them valuable life lessons and skills, and seeing them grow over such a short period of time changed my life and made me realize how much of a difference we can make not only in our community, but in the world at large. ForeverU fosters the things that matter, the things we all know the youth of today need: a sense of community, purpose, and a hunger for growth in all areas of life. We encourage our students to stop paying so much attention to all the noise around them and to pay more attention to the beauty and the power within them.

Schools teach our kids math, reading, social studies, and so forth - but they do not teach enough about mental health, personal development, and self-empowerment. These are the subjects that elevate human potential, that turn fixed mindsets into growth mindsets. That is what makes ForeverU the first domino in building a better future, a future that responds instead of reacts, a future that builds bridges instead of burns them, and a future that will make past generations proud. The impact ForeverU has made is tremendous, but we are only just getting started. I encourage everyone to get involved and to get your children involved because ForeverU is the change we all wish to see in the world.

My name is Anthony and I’ve been in ForeverU for the past four years. I got involved in ForeverU because my sister was a former student of the organization when she was in high school and believed that I'd regret it if I didn't get involved during these years of my life. This organization has taught me that there are always people you can go to if you are struggling. ForeverU has also introduced me to different skills and practices that help me relax and destress when life gets difficult or challenging. The overall community has truly become my family and the alumni members that went before me continue to be a positive influence in my life by pushing me to keep improving myself and my influence in my everyday life. Today, my life is completely different because of ForeverU and I honestly don’t know what my life would be without it. Now that I am finishing my time in high school, FroeverU has even presented me with a number of different way to stay involved as an alumni member and work alongside the younger students. I recommend ForeverU to anyone that either needs a community to support them or just wants to improve themselves. To those who believe in our work or financially support our mission, thank you for helping me find myself and helping me find confidence in myself.

Disclaimer: ForeverU is classified as a youth development organization. While we work closely with medical professionals and have a passionate team of licensed mental health professionals overseeing our program model, it is crucial to note that our volunteers, employees, and representatives are not medical professionals. We are a community of individuals who are passionate about offering hope and belonging to youth living with a mental health condition. Therefore, ForeverU is and should be utilized as an extension or “add-on” resource to youth receiving formal counseling services from licensed mental health professionals. 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.

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