Vermilion County CASA director named CEO of Project Success

Vermilion County CASA director named CEO of Project Success

DANVILLE — One local social-service agency has wrapped up its search for a new leader, while another agency will be launching one.

Project Success of Vermilion County board members on Friday introduced Lucas Seilhymer as the nonprofit youth organization's new CEO.

Seilhymer, the executive director of CASA of Vermilion and Edgar counties since 2014, will succeed Rickey Williams Jr., who resigned the post after he was elected Danville mayor in April.

Seilhymer will begin his new job June 10.

Established locally in August 1998, Project Success provides after-school academic support and enrichment programming through its Teen Responsibility, Education Achievement, Caring and Hope program, which serves students at Danville's Kenneth D. Bailey Academy, Hoopeston Area Middle School and Salt Fork and Westville junior high schools.

Its 21st Century Learning Center program serves students at Georgetown-Ridge Farm and Oakwood schools; Judith Giacoma and Westville High School; and Danville's North Ridge Middle School, South View Upper Elementary and the Laura Lee Fellowship House for students at Garfield, Mark Denman and Meade Park elementaries.

Combined, they serve roughly 1,000 youth.

Board President Keven Forney said 10 people applied for the job, and the board interviewed four candidates. While all were strong, he said board members were impressed with Seilhymer's grant writing, grant management and leadership at CASA.

When Seilhymer started, the organization had a director and four court-appointed special advocate volunteers, serving abused and neglected children in Vermilion County. Under his leadership, it now has four full-time and two-part employees and 54 volunteers.

The organization also moved to a more visible location at 211 N. Walnut St., Danville, and expanded to Edgar County, which has allowed it to serve more children.

At Project Success, Seilhymer will oversee an annual budget of just shy of $1.8 million and a staff of 13 full-time and more than 100 part-time employees.

Seilhymer, 28, grew up in Georgetown and attended private Catholic schools. He graduated from Schlarman High School in 2009 and received a bachelor's degree in financial planning from the University of Illinois in 2013.

He and his fiancee, Lindsay Van Fleet — an assistant state's attorney, who is chief deputy of the civil division — have a son, Charlie.

During high school and college, he interned at the Vermilion County State's Attorney's office in Danville. After graduating from the UI, he joined AmeriCorps, serving as a development assistant for a homeless outreach mission in Key West, Fla.

Seilhymer said he didn't plan on returning to Vermilion County until he saw the job opening at CASA.

"I knew from working at the state's attorney's office there was a great need in the juvenile welfare system, so I came back," he said.

While he thoroughly enjoyed CASA and its mission, Seilhymer said he's looking forward to serving children "on a much larger scale" at Project Success and "hopefully, keep them from coming into the system.

"I love how proactive it is," he continued. "I want to continue to help kids all over the county build those life skills that they may not otherwise get."

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