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 include 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 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.

Note: Ascend is not currently taking applications as of 3/15/24. Check back here for updates.

ascend icon

The primary goal of Ascend is to quickly and dramatically improve the future life of at-risk young adults who are living with a mental health challenge.

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


  • Are you between 18 and 25 years old, unmarried and have no legal dependents, nor have a legal guardian?
  • Do you struggle with your mental health?
  • Are you employed a minimum of 20 hours per week or actively looking for employment?
  • Will you commit to meeting weekly with a case manager to review progress?
  • Are you willing to attend required events and engage with the Ascend community?
  • Are you dedicated to making a positive change in your life by actively working toward independence and personal goals?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions, this two-year program may be for you!



“We don’t know where our son would be without Ascend. He has gained valuable life skills, found support and now has a path for his future.”

– Parent of Ascend program participant




Ascend is not currently taking applications. Check back for here for updates.

Over the years we have helped more than 70 young adults move forward to sustainable independence. We have had young adults gain peer support specialist certificates, technical diplomas, and move to independent housing within the Pillars organization and outside the organization. Many young adults have also worked their way through a GED program and gained college diplomas while maintaining employment.