Holiday Thanks


As we enter this holiday season, I would like to pause and thank you sincerely for the support you have given Project Legacy this past year.

This fall, twenty-three youth are attending colleges in Washington, DC; Minnesota; North Dakota; Missouri and California. These are youth of color – some of whom have grown up homeless, as refugees from war-torn countries, and with generational poverty, abuse and neglect.  Ninety percent of them have family members who are incarcerated.  These are young people who by their own admission were without hope before finding Project Legacy.   Because of your financial support we have been able to provide food, shelter, clothing, medical and dental care, transportation, career counseling, access to chemical dependency treatment and educational support including college visits, tuition assistance and emotional support throughout their college careers.

We have been taught that Heaven is a place but we see it as a practice. It is a way of being in relationship with one another. And for most of our youth, this is the first time they have experienced caring relationships with adults who practice tenderness, kindness and compassion and who truly are in relationship with them because they want to see them succeed.

When we started this work 8 years ago, our focus was on providing opportunities for youth living in poverty. Today, we know that providing opportunities and removing barriers is only the beginning of the healing that has to take place.  Healing occurs because we build our services on a foundation of love and tenderness.  We don’t hold up the bar and tell our youth to measure up, we hold up the mirror and ask them to see themselves as we see them – people of worth, possibility and potential.  We offer concrete services combined with subtle interactions that allow healing to occur.

We could not do this work without you, the people who have chosen to stand beside those youth who have been marginalized.  You have given your attention, your love and your resources.  For that, I am profoundly grateful. Wishing you joy this holiday season,

Karen Edmonds, Founder and Director


Thank You, Volunteers and Supporters!

So many good things have been happening at Project Legacy! In a world filled with need, sorrow and pain it is necessary to stop and recognize the good that is happening every day – and that there are lives changed because of these good people.

Last Fall we participated in our first-ever Give to the Max day that was sponsored by GiveMN. When the totals were calculated, Project Legacy received over $2,000 donations. This month, I was informed by the Olmsted County United Way that 15 individuals designated Project Legacy for their United Way donations. Because of this, Project Legacy will receive about $5,550 through United Way this year! Thank you to all of you who donated to Project Legacy through these two campaigns – and thank you to all of you who donate financially throughout the year – we depend on you!

At the end of December, one of our volunteers came to me with an idea she had to provide an occasional meal or two for some of our young adults who struggle to afford food. Well, I am thrilled to report that as of today – eighty bags of groceries have been delivered in the last six weeks. Eighty bags of groceries donated by 34 volunteers in our latest program – “Operation Nourish.” How does this work? Heather Robinson, a social worker and Project Legacy volunteer coordinates this program. Every other week, I identify seven young adults to receive groceries that week. They text me their grocery list, Heather posts the needs in a closed Facebook group for Operation Nourish, and volunteers indicate which groceries they will buy that week. The food is delivered to Heather on Fridays, she sorts it into bags and adds hand-written notes of encouragement and support for each youth receiving the groceries. Sometimes, volunteers add special foods along with ideas for preparation and recipes. What has been the response of our youth? Tears of joy and relief, disbelief, and incredible gratefulness that there are people in our community who care about them.
We are grateful to KIMT-TV for spotlighting this exciting new program!Operation Nourish

A Well-Deserved Honor

Great News!
Miss Abol has been selected by the Breakdown Sports USA staff to be among the featured players in the 2015 Minnesota high school volleyball guidebook – the best resource for the sport in the nation!
This is a highly visible honor and great recognition for Abol as she pursues her dream of playing volleyball for a D1 university!
This Sunday Abol and I will be going up to Minneapolis for a photo shoot….she is so happy!
This is another example of what Project Legacy does – and how your financial donations are used . We assist youth so that they are able to access the same opportunities as their peers – opportunities that prepare them for college and careers. (
Great work, Miss Abol – your dedication and hard work is paying off!Abol 2

“What Can I Do?”

Last week one of our volunteers wrote to me and told me that she would like to start preparing meals once a week or so for some of our youth who are hungry. How can it be that people in Rochester are hungry? It is true. I am happy to say that this volunteer sees the need for healthy food – not processed, pre-packaged food but food prepared with love and intentionality. In addition, she wanted to prepare this food with her two small children so that they learn early the values of caring and love – without judgment. Included in her packages will be the recipes for the food and a personal note. She put out a call to action and in just a few days, this young social worker has a group of six volunteers who will be working with her. If you are interested in being a part of “Operation Nourish”, send me a message and I will forward you her contact info. At this time we will be focusing on four families who are in transition and on their way to independence if we can just help them get over this difficult time – two are fathers and two are mothers – think of the opportunity to truly make a difference in these lives!

Recently, a friend of mine posted, in response to yet another police killing of a young, unarmed African-American – “I want to help but I don’t know what to do and I feel so helpless and overwhelmed with all of this – what can I do?”

I know that there are going to be those of you who read this and will reply that I am not thinking “globally” and that this is a systemic problem. I agree and you are correct. We must continue to educate ourselves and society about the racism and legacy of slavery that is at the root of all of this – we must continue to speak out and work for systemic change – and :

We must continue to uplift those young people who are caught in the riptide of generational poverty, criminality and racist oppression. The 38 young people who are Project Legacy send me notes and texts every day about the difference we have made in their lives – the most recent said, “Without your help, I would have given up on college and just moved back to Chicago -I knew it wouldn’t be in my best interest – but the GD’s (Gangster Disciples) there would make sure I had a place to sleep and food to eat.”

A place to sleep and food to eat. That’s where we start. Someone to call who will help. Hope that is ignited when the light at the end of tunnel finally becomes visible. Providing emotional and physical support until that young person has the tools to become positively self-sufficient.

Yesterday I received a call from a young mother in Chicago. She said, “I heard you’re helping us get out of gangs. Do you think you can help me? My situation here isn’t good and I got no one who can help me.”
From Chicago – “Can you help me?”