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MCUL Newsroom

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Members First Provides $20,000 for Grand Rapids Youth Facing Adversity

ayaMembers First Credit Union recently announced a $20,000 family sponsorship to support AYA Youth Collective’s supportive housing and their mission of creating communities, rooted in belonging, for youth experiencing instability to own their future. AYA Youth Collective’s supportive housing provides a safe and supportive community for youth, bridging the gap between homelessness and interdependence.

The funds will be used toward the construction of an additional housing duplex and assist with the living expenses for a dedicated mentor on site.

Upon entering the program, the youth receive their own bedroom with a new mattress and have three to four housemates. Many of these youth have experienced a lack of a support system in the past and oftentimes experience housing instability and trauma.

“We are so incredibly grateful for Members First Credit Union and their support of our work,” said Andy Allen, director of advancement at AYA. “We simply cannot achieve our mission and goals without the generosity and community support that Members First has shown us - it's incredibly significant. The number of youth (14-24 year olds) sleeping outside in Kent County has nearly tripled over the past 3 years - so being able to expand AYA's housing options while simultaneously supporting our existing AYA homes is the type of sustainable growth we are trying to achieve. And it's a great example of how we attempt to help youth achieve long term stability - through slow, diligent work with relationships being at the center of everything we do."

According to the organization, 93% of the youth who exit the housing program go on to live in long-term stable housing. "We are proud to support the AYA Youth Collective and their efforts to provide a safe and supportive environment for youth." said Bethany Dutcher, vice president of marketing at Members First Credit Union. "We appreciate AYA for all they do and are looking forward to helping to make a difference.”

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