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Chem-Trend funding LACASA’s ‘LEAD the Way’ project for teens

Mission Partner ChemTrend Logo no tagline-HiResChem-Trend®, headquartered in Howell, recently received a $153,000 grant from its parent company Freudenberg, to sponsor LACASA Center’s LEAD the Way project. The funds will be awarded over a three-year period.

LACASA developed LEAD the Way as an educational program for teens that encourages building healthy relationships and provides tools and education to help prevent interpersonal violence, including dating violence and sexual assault. LEAD is an acronym for leadership skills, education, awareness and the development of healthy relationships.

In addition to the $150,000 grant from Freudenberg, Chem-Trend will sponsor the program through 2018 with contributions to include volunteer support from employees via opportunities such as training sessions, educational presentations, advisory councils and serving as mentors.

“For us, corporate responsibility goes beyond our business practices and we want to contribute toward a safe and healthy environment for our community,” said John Lundin, vice president and general manager at Chem-Trend. “Transformational programs that deliver positive, impactful messages and resources for children and teens are a valuable part of that.”

Funding for the program comes as part of the Freudenberg Group’s corporate giving initiative called e2, geared toward championing education and environment. Not a monetary giving campaign alone, all donations will be complemented by direct involvement, resources and expertise provided by Freudenberg associates.

“Our Chem-Trend values and Freudenberg Guiding Principles are closely aligned with that of LACASA’s,” Lundin said. “Through the generosity of the e2 initiative, we are proud to support the LEAD the Way program in providing education and empowerment toward the prevention of abuse.”
According to national statistics, one in three teens reports being in an abusive relationship and one in four students are sexually assaulted while attending college.

“Adolescence in itself leaves our children vulnerable to peer pressure, which can expose them to violence, negative messaging, drugs and alcohol and in turn lead them to difficult choices and unhealthy decisions,” said Bobette Schrandt, president and CEO of LACASA.

“Our goal is to provide students with knowledge, leadership skills and confidence to protect themselves and their peers against interpersonal violence, and we can achieve those things with LEAD the Way,” Schrandt said.

Deanna Norris, community engagement director for LACASA, and Jacqueline Munson-Gaines, Chem-Trend human resources director – North America, spearheaded the grant application process, following a successful history of past sponsorships and collaboration between the two organizations.

“With the LEAD the Way program, we recognized a need in the community and an opportunity for our employees, who are dedicated to making a difference where we live and work, to engage with the organization,” Munson-Gaines said of Chem-Trend and LACASA’s partnership.
The grant will be used to cover the cost of workshops offered by LACASA in Livingston County middle schools, high schools and at in-school support groups. It also will help fund activities of LACASA’s Teen Advisory Council, the agency’s College Safe Seminars, and for dating abuse and sexual assault awareness materials distributed at the organization’s Cinderella’s Closet events.

LEAD the Way will be implemented over a three-year period and will support four major themes: leadership, education, awareness and the development of healthy relationships. Employees from Chem-Trend will assist with a series of programs meant to advocate each theme. The campaign is moving toward implementation and the program is expected to launch in spring of  2016.
LACASA’s Youth Prevention Educator, Kayla Dillon, will be coordinating and facilitating many of the programs.

“The partnership between LACASA and Chem-Trend speaks volumes about the importance of these issues in our community,” Dillon said. “Sexual assault, dating abuse and dating violence are not things that happen somewhere else. They happen here. The more we can educate our youth through awareness and prevention programs, the safer they will be.”

“LACASA involves teens from high schools throughout Livingston County when we create presentations and seminars,” said Dillon. “Members of our Teen Advisory Council work hard to develop our youth programs. They know it is critical that we present information to teens in a way that is authentic and relevant to their lives.”

If you would like more information about bringing any of the LEAD programs to your school or organization, contact Kayla Dillon at  517-548-1350 or email her at kdillon@lacasacenter.org.

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