For the last 23 years, Open Door Adolescent Health Center has been providing Michigan City High School students a free health and mental health clinic right inside of the school’s walls. Back in 2014, First Trust Credit Union got wind of what Open Door was accomplishing and stepped in to ask what they could do to help. Since then, they’ve been donating yearly checks that are cumulations of fundraisers they put on throughout the year.
Fundraisers like casual Fridays, homemade wreath giveaways, bake sales, and an employee break room stocked full of drinks and snacks to purchase have all given Michigan City First Trust employees and members countless opportunities to donate to Open Door. Alison Beatty, Member Development Representative and Charity Committee member at First Trust, noted how important it is to give back.
“The whole basis of credit unions is people helping people, so we like to give back to our community and our members in various ways,” Beatty said. “It feels great to be able to give Open Door this check and just be able to donate a large amount of money.”
The donations raised by First Trust are largely used in Open Door’s substance abuse prevention program. First Trust Marketing Director, Dorene Martinson, expressed gratitude to be a part of the donation process.
“It’s always such an honor to be able to help within the community, especially for our team and our student community –that’s very important to us as a credit union. And, of course, the cause [the teenage drug and alcohol abuse prevention] is very important because the kids are our future,” Martinson said. “We have a great team of employees who really do work hard to try and raise the funds for this cause, so to be able to partner with Open Door and help make a difference is a great achievement.”
Open Door Adolescent Health Center is entirely funded through grants. Relying on grants and donations from organizations like United Way can be tough, so when First Trust reached out to them wanting to help, a burden was taken off their shoulders. Director of Open Door, Debbie Briggs, is always trying to keep up with the program’s needs and is grateful to First Trust for their help.
“We have a great collaboration with First Trust, and I think having these collaborative partnerships in the nonprofit world is just really crucial for us in order to continue,” Briggs said. “They sought us out and wanted to help and you can’t beat that. We’re just so appreciative of how great they’ve been in helping us do more.”
Within the last year, Open Door started the Care Closet, which gives students any hygiene products that they might need. Open Door is growing and offers a multitude of services. All it takes is 15 minutes of a student's parent or guardian's time to register their child, and once finished, they’re free to walk in any time during their four years at Michigan City High School.