Our Work : Programs



Where all voices are valued

Welcome to Heartland Foundation’s emPowerU Continuum – the region’s leading civic empowerment effort since 2005 – where students experience learning and collaboration while being empowered to make a difference in their communities.

A proven program for students in grades 6-8

  • 3 unique sessions (circuits) that build on each other and can be spread throughout one or several years
  • Our Facilities

Both the emPowerU Campus and the Think Ahead Works® Learning Lab were created with collaboration in mind.  The emPowerU Campus in St. Joseph, MO features 5 technology rich collaboratories with write-on walls, computer studios, the Imagine Cafe, and emPower Central.  It’s a great environment for students to think, create, and share new ideas.  The Think Ahead Works® Learning Lab is our satellite location in King City, MO.  Featuring 2 technology rich collaboratories with write-on walls, this space is perfect for smaller groups to experience the emPowerU Program.

  • Our Approach

While experiential learning seems to be gaining more attention lately, we’ve been doing it since the beginning.  Our professionally trained facilitators set the parameters for learning and then let the students lead the way.  This self-directed approach not only allows for more freedom in creating, it also helps the students take ownership of their work . . . and what incredible work they do!

  • Our Program

The sooner we get our youth civically involved, the more likely they are to stay involved.  emPowerU gives everybody a voice.  Students have the opportunity to impact positive change, both individually and collectively, to make a difference in their communities now.  Jump Starters Grants are available up to $10,000 to participating schools to help them get started.

Download printable program information

Download Registration Form

Contact us to learn more.


“What a wonderful program for students! This teaches them so many things: working with others/collaborating with others, research, preparing a presentation, public speaking.” – emPowerU Adult Council Volunteer

“Our youth demonstrated deep thinking, debating respectfully, and speaking in front of others.” emPowerU Teacher Participant

“A strength I discovered about myself today was I am more confident than I thought I was.” – emPowerU Student

“My students were highly engaged throughout the whole day. They really immersed themselves into the topics.” – emPowerU Teacher Participant

“A strength I discovered about myself today is that I can express my feelings with others without feeling uncomfortable.” – emPowerU Student

“My students demonstrated the ability to stay on task for extended periods of time; the ability to communicate with adults unfamiliar to them; the ability to stretch their thinking.” – emPowerU Teacher Participant