One of the many things that contributes to building a strong, successful community is the relationship between local businesses and the residents they serve. Without continued support, businesses often fail, and successful businesses recognize the importance of building strong ties to their communities. First Trust Credit Union believes strongly in the tradition of community involvement, and proved it once again today, through their generous donation of $3,000 to benefit substance abuse treatment programs administered through Open Door Adolescent Health Center of Michigan City.
Started in 1959, First Trust Credit Union has locations in Michigan City, Valparaiso, Laporte and Wheatfield and serves over 12,500 members who work or reside in the counties they serve.
Dorene Martinson is the marketing director for First Trust CU.
“All of our branches have a selected charity partner within their community,” Martinson said. “One of the core credit union philosophies is to give back to the community. Here in Michigan City, one of our partners is Open Door Adolescent Health Center. We have partnered with them since 2014, raising funds to help with their alcohol and drug prevention programs which are geared specifically toward helping high school students.”
Funds are raised through various activities at each of the credit union branches.
“We have employee jean days, bake sales, crafts we sell for different holidays, an employee snack shop and other fundraising activities,” Martinson said.
First Trust has raised more than $8,000 to help with the programs, with this most recent donation being the single largest to date. Deborah Briggs is program director of ODAHC and stressed the importance of the services they provide.
“We are a comprehensive, school-based adolescent health center, located at Michigan City High School, providing health and mental health services,” Briggs said. “Similar to a doctor’s office, students set appointments and are seen by a staff member. We have a nurse practitioner, medical director, social workers and more.”
Open Door Adolescent Health Center is completely grant funded, meaning they often rely on community support to continue operating. Without donors like First Trust Credit Union, much of their work would be more difficult to accomplish.
“The funding that we get is completely grant-based. Some money comes from the state, some from local grants. About four years ago, First Trust reached out to us and asked ‘How can we help?’” Briggs said. “That doesn’t happen often.”
Jenna Sickinger is a licensed social worker at ODAHC.
“This is a vital service. There is an epidemic of substance abuse in our community. Being able to provide early prevention, being able to connect with these students, developing relationships with them to be able to recognize and identify potential key factors in their lives that can help us to treat or even prevent addiction is critical, and donations like this are vital in allowing us to be able to continue to provide these programs.,” Sickinger said.
Bonnie Steinhagen is a collection assistant and a member of the charity committee at First Trust. Deeply invested in the cause, she recognizes the benefit of aiding kids in the community.
“We want these students to go down the right path in life. We want to show them that someone cares,” Steinhagen said.
First Trust Credit Union is located at 950 E US Hwy 20 in Michigan City, Indiana. You can visit them on the web at www.firsttrustcu.com.
For more information about Open Door Adolescent Health Center and the programs they offer, visit them online here.