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    Epworth and LETA Charitable Foundation Partnership Generates 30th Car Purchase

    Published on September 17, 2019

    Epworth Children & Family Services and the LETA Charitable Foundation’s partnership recently marked the purchase of its 30th car since the program began in 2017.  Juliona Wease bought a 2012 Kia Rio from Frank Leta Acura thanks to the foundation and Epworth’s Individual Development Account (IDA) program, which is funded by the United Way and implemented by Epworth.

    Juliona is a 22-year-old mother of two who participated in the partnership because she needed a reliable car to “get back and forth to work and to pick my children up from daycare.”  She is currently attending school Strayer University and studying business management.

    According to Epworth’s President and CEO Dr. Michael Panicola, “11 youth purchased cars in 2018, 18 opened IDA accounts in 2018, and 30 opened accounts in 2019.  They have up to two years to save the money needed to qualify for the Foundation’s match.”

    The IDA program helps youth learn financial management skills, as well as establish a savings account.  Youth can save a maximum of $1,000 and receive a $2,000 match from the United Way.  The LETA Charitable Foundation matches the IDA amount for an additional $3,000 for cars purchased at a Frank Leta dealership.

    Panicola said the partnership is a win for the youth, his agency, and the LETA Charitable Foundation.  “We work together to provide a safe and reliable car to a well-deserving individual because a lack of transportation greatly hinders a person’s ability to work and care for one’s family.  This teamwork enables a youth to become more independent and self-reliant, which is the ultimate goal for all of us involved.”

    The Frank Leta Automotive Family of Dealerships includes Frank Leta Honda in O’Fallon, Frank Leta Acura in South County, and the Frank Leta Automotive Outlet in North County.

    Founded in 1864, Epworth Children & Family Services is a multi-service agency that helps children, youth and families move toward self-sufficiency by focusing on health, housing, education and employment.  Epworth offers emergency shelter, residential and intensive treatment, in-home family therapy, transitional housing, psychological evaluation and testing, foster care services, prevention services and a 24-hour help line.  The agency is headquartered at 110 N. Elm Ave. with offices in Normandy, University City, and St. Louis City.

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