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Indianapolis Urban League continues work providing support and opportunity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Urban League, an organization that offers a series of programs to help set up people for the next and new chapters of their lives, offers vital services, ones that aren’t always easily available.

Mahelate Assefa and Elijah Elliott are two of the many young people benefitting from the support offered at the Urban League, support they say will set them up for success as they journey on to college.

“I know it can be scary. The future is very scary, and having people support you, help you, and go through the motions, it’s very helpful,” said Assefa.

They are Project Ready students – it’s a college preparatory scholarship program that shows young people the ropes on how to get into college and what to expect when they get there.

“The opportunities I’ve had has opened doors for me, have opened my eyes, and (taught me) not limit myself,” said Elliott.

The Indianapolis Urban League has served the community for 55 years. Through college preparation, food distribution, emergency assistance and so much more. With urban communities often sitting or straddling the poverty line, these resources are vital.

Tony Mason, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League, says it is not lost on the League that 30% of the Black community in Indianapolis is poor.

“We have 250,000 African-Americans, and 30% of them are poor. When we think about our entire population, in this community, in this region, 44 – 46% of all families are either poor or working poor,” Mason said.

Mason also says it’s critical to a communities viability that it reaches across age and income ranges. The workforce development program the League offers is a primary tool to fuel that.

“These are individuals who have overcome barriers, and obstacles to not only receive workforce development training, but also in many cases, to sustain earn and sustain employment with companies, where they are now earning a livable wage,” Mason said.

Assefa and Elliott say, even if college isn’t the goal, there’s opportunity, and they are proud to be part of the Urban League’s standing legacy.

In addition to the monthly food distribution, the Urban League will be opening a community food pantry that’ll housed at its headquarters in downtown Indianapolis.