CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s always beneficial to save as much money as you can early on in life. At some point, part of those savings transition to retirement funds. Something the state Treasurer is still celebrating.

That’s because his office has a program called Secure Choice Retirement Savings that reached a milestone this year. It signed up over 100,000 new employees who saved over $85 million for retirement. One of the employers in the program is our local DREAAM House, a non-profit reaching, teaching and empowering our youth.

“I’m a Champaign resident. So it’s really nice to be here with an employer that’s helping give people a brighter future. Helping to save their own money so they’ll be able to have a retirement with dignity. It’s great to bring my daughter here and see some of the great work they do for young people in this community,” says Michael Frerichs, the state Treasurer.

Frerichs also visited Central Illinois from Springfield to share his excitement for the Charitable Trust grant program. It will help smaller non-profits throughout Illinois, like DREAAM House, provide food, housing and workforce skill development to people in need. A chance for our communities to have a solid foundation.

Tracy Dace, the founder and CEO of DREAAM House couldn’t be more grateful for Frerich’s visit. Not just because of the knowledge he shared, but the hope he left behind that our youth can be financially sound. Even though they serve kids starting at three-years-old, Tracy believes it’s never too early to educate that.

“We begin to think about how do we plan for college. How do we plan for future possibilities in their lives. He gave them a window of that by just being here and sharing what the responsibilities are of the state Treasurer.”

Frerichs also brought his daughter along on the visit and DREAAM House kids, or “DREAAMERS,” took every opportunity to make her feel welcome. One or two even hugged her spontaneously. Just a precious moment that has become a secondhand expectation due to the lessons and mentalities they encourage in the youth.

“We have a two-fold mission. To build academic skills but also social and emotional skills. We teach DREAAMERS about friendship, kindness, love and so today you saw that in that embrace. That we are pouring into them the attitudes about others we want them to have every day when they’re at school, in the community and at home.”

Tracy also shared that Frerich’s visit can hopefully inspire a decrease in violence by youth, by showing them the possibilities that come with financial literacy and stability in their lives. A big goal for Frerich’s office in Springfield as well.

To learn more about DREAAM House, click here.

For more on the Secure Choice Retirement Savings program, click here.