Ascend is a semi-independent,  program that provides supportive services and independent living skills for young adults living with mental health challenges.  Lynne Cumings Keller saw a gap in mental health services for young adults in the valley and wanted to create a program that brought together supportive services and housing.  With her vision and a generous donation, the Ascend program opened its doors in June of 2017

Partners we work with to encourage growth, development and social skills are UW-Extension Winnebago County, Foodwise, Avery Burton Trinity Driving School, Local Artists, Fox Valley Technical College and other various community resources. Our ongoing services and enrichment would not be possible without the support and funding from Lynne Cumings Keller, Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Fox Communities Credit Union, JJ Keller, Blue Sky, and Thrivent.

If you are interested in applying to program, please fill out application and or call 920-734-9192 Option 7. Staff at Ascend will contact you to set up and informational session where you will learn more about the program and determine if it is a good fit for you!

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The primary goal of Ascend is to quickly and dramatically increase the future life opportunities of at-risk young adults.

By leveraging the stability of safe, affordable housing in conjunction with mental health support, education, employment and basic living skills, program participants are set up for a lifetime of success and self-sufficiency.


  • Focus on young adults who are living with mental health challenges
  • Special emphasis on how to manage mental health and reduce barriers to activities and life events
  • On-site clinical mental health services provided weekly by a Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Peer Support Specialist for evening and weekend support


  • A “real-life” living environment (i.e. roommates, neighbors, balancing
    multiple responsibilities such as employment and education) to ensure development of necessary life skills
  • Expectation of at least part-time employment and advanced education
    (to attain a living-wage job)
  • Educational workshops to encourage financial literacy, employment skills,
    and confidence for self-advocacy


  • Participants must be 18-25 years old
  • Participants must be employed a minimum of 20 hours per week or actively seeking employment
  • Participants will create an Individual Action Plan every three months
  • Participants will meet weekly with their Case Manager to review progress
  • Participants must be actively working toward independence and goals
  • There is no cost to enter the program, however there is expectation of
    employment within 30 days and then a modest monthly program fee
  • Participants must be willing to work on their mental health recovery.
  • Participants must be unmarried and have no legal dependents, nor have a legal guardian.
  • Participants must be willing to find employment within 30 days of entering the program.
  • Participants must be willing to participate in all program activities, including weekly meetings with case manager, pay monthly program fees, maintain cleanliness of program housing, and work toward achieving goals.

Over the years we have had  12 young adults move forward to sustainable independence. We have had young adults gain peer support specialist certificate, technical diplomas, movement to independent housing within the Pillars organization and outside the organization and have seen many young adults working their way through getting their GED and gaining college diplomas while maintaining employment.