Important News from Ascent 121

The last virtual lunch of 2020 featured Kellie Earl Leeper from our 2016 Change Maker Ascent 121. Kellie shared with us exciting news that will make their programs more sustainable.

  • The Reich Foundation has purchased and renovated a building for the organization, which will be ready by the end of November. The new building is 13,000 sq. ft. in contrast to the current 3000 sq. ft. This new space will accommodate therapeutic services, staff, and events.
  • To respond to the increased financial need in 2020, the Reich Foundation has funded a $100,000 matching program that will match $1-for-$1 new donations or Ambassador (monthly) donations. 85% of this match has been fulfilled.
  • Two grants have been awarded under the federal Victims of Crimes Act. One grant will broaden the peer mentoring program and the other will enable Ascent 121 to provide consulting services to other agencies to provide the full continuum of care for survivors.

Impact 100 members who wish to donate to Ascent 121 or volunteer may go to ascent121.org.

More on Ascent 121

Ascent 121 was founded in 2013 to provide therapeutic services to survivors of sex trafficking. Ascent 121 is the only agency in Indiana providing a full continuum of care for youth who have been sex trafficked. In addition to survivor services, Ascent 121 provides awareness and professional development training for thousands of people in the community.

Ascent 121 received our 2016 Change Maker grant in partnership with Lutheran Child and Family Services for its residential treatment program at Lutherwood. That facility provides 11 bedrooms for 11 girls. Ascent 121 also provides services to youth in other residential facilities. Approximately, 1/3 of their kids live in residential facilities because they are flight risks or their homes are not safe places.

Each year Ascent 121 provides recovery services to more than 100 central Indiana youth. In 2020, the number of kids served has grown and is anticipated to reach 150-160 by the end of the year (25% increase). The majority of cases are referred through the state Department of Child and Family Services. 90% of those served are girls; 10% boys. The ages served are 10-21, with some as young as 6. Services are provided by a therapist and case manager assigned to each kid.

Because of COVID there has been a 50% decrease in billable services. To respond to the increased financial need, the Reich Family Foundation has funded a $100,000 matching program – the “Not Today” program. That program will match $1-for-$1 new donations or Ambassador (monthly) donations. Approximately 85% of the goal has been reached.

The Reich Family Foundation has purchased and renovated a permanent location for Ascent 121. The new facility has 13,000 sq.ft., which will accommodate therapeutic services, staff offices, and event space. Previously, Ascent 121 had been required to move 5 times and recently was occupying offices in two buildings with only 3000 sq.ft. The new building will be ready for occupancy at the end of November.

Two grants were received in the summer and fall under the federal Victims of Crimes Act (“VOCA”). One grant will broaden their peer mentoring program, under which survivor mentors counsel the kids. Sarah Hurley has been hired full time to lead the program and to find more survivor mentors. The second grant makes it possible for Ascent 121 to provide consulting services to other nonprofits that want to provide survivor services.

There are several ways for Impact 100 members to support Ascent 121. All of these can be found on the website ascent121.org. In addition to cash donations, options include donations from the Ascent 121 Amazon Wishlist, participating in prayer journeys, and social media advocacy. On a practical note, volunteers are needed to help with the move into the new building. To talk about donations and volunteering, kellie.leeper@ascent121.org.