Education is Critical to keeping jobs in America.

According to former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, in 2008, China's schools graduated 
more than 600,000 engineers and India's schools produced 350,000. America had only 70,000. Do the 
math: China and India's top 10 percent outnumbers all of America's. Many firms agree that if the world's 
best engineers are produced in other countries, that is where their companies will go. As a result, our 
country and its youth are at a critical point. Nearly 80 percent of the fastest growing jobs will require some 
post-secondary education. A high school diploma is a mandatory ticket to success in college and the 
work force. The "Stay 4" Project® is designed to address these issues.
Featured Partners
The Great Plains LIFE (Laborers' International Funding for Education) Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 2004. Our mission is to address the high school drop-out crisis and strengthen the work force by providing support to encourage and inspire low-income, at-risk students to graduate from high school and assist them in future educational opportunities.

Contact Us:

Phone: (309) 828-3406
Fax: (309) 807-5082 Email:
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

If interested in becoming a mentor or intern, please contact the office by phone (309) 828-3406 or email us at

Great Plains LIFE Foundation

  • Illinois State University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Heartland Community College
  • Parkland Community College
  • Richland Community College
  • Laborers' International Union of North America
  • Bloomington & Normal Trades & Labor Assembly
  • Illinois Student Assistance Commission

Meet Leigha

Growing up in an apartment, there was just Mom and me. It's funny, but even at a young age I knew that we didn't have much and that others had more than we did. I learned later that we had always lived below the poverty level. Because mom had to work I was often sent to stay with a friend of hers or my grandma and grandpa whom I adored. Many times I'd stay alone and have to find some way to entertain myself so I watched a lot of the kid's shows on PBS and Animal Planet. The one thing we did have around the house was books. I learned to read very early and couldn't get enough of it. I loved grade school and although I was a good student, I would often get in trouble for reading during class time. In fact the only detentions I received over the years were all for that very reason....

To continue reading Leigh's story, 
click the link on the right
 A big thank you to the stars, military, 
and supporters who helped make it possible to support the 
"Stay 4" Project and students in need. 
Join us throughout the year to celebrate the 20 Stars!

"Stay 4" is a program designed to identify, help, and retain students who demonstrate the ability to succeed, yet are considered to be at risk of dropping out of high school. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded financial support through the Great Plains LIFE Foundation. 

One of our students, Leigha, tells us her story:

Click the star on the right to see was recognized and show your support.
             Check out the 2015 20 Stars For LIFE!

The Crossroads Center 456 Wylie Drive Normal, IL 61761

A Life Changing Gift...
Your ongoing support will ensure that "Stay 4" is playing an important role in the lives of young men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds; giving them the tools necessary to continue their education and become self sufficient contributing members of our communities.

Your gift truly will last a lifetime!