Legislative Update

This past February I had the opportunity to meet Senator David Senjem for lunch to talk with him about the work of Project Legacy. I left that meeting with a deep appreciation and respect for this man who has served as our Senator for many years.  A week later, he came to one of our Healing Circles where the youth told their stories, and he told them his.  Not long afterwards, he contacted me to tell me that he was going to write a bill to seek funding for our program. Thus began not only our working relationship, but a new friendship.

Two weeks ago, four of our young people traveled to St. Paul to testify on behalf of this bill. Co-chair Jeff Hayden took the time to allow our youth to speak, even though the allotted time to speak had run out.  This was an incredible experience for our youth – and once again they have experienced new things, met new people, and have been a part of the process that previously they had only read about in school.

I am deeply grateful for the work he and Senator Carla Nelson have done to seek funding for Project Legacy through the racial equity funds that Governor Dayton has appropriated.  At this point, we are unsure of how things will unfold in St. Paul.  What I am sure of though, is we have the full support of our two Senator’s, and that means the world to the youth of Project Legacy.

Thank you, Senator Nelson and Senator Senjem!

Spring 2016 Update

As we enter the graduation season, we are proud to recognize eight of our own Project Legacy youth who will graduate this year:

Abol – High School

Zach – GED

Montez – GED

Precious – High School

D’Von – Associate’s Degree

Jennifer – Associate’s Degree

Jeylin – High School

Ngor – Associate’s Degree

We are so proud of each of our graduates and will be honoring them at an open house at the Project Legacy Home on Saturday, May 21 from 3-7pm.   We hope that you will help us celebrate by stopping over to congratulate these young people who have worked so hard to achieve this milestone!

When: May 21, from 3-7pm

Where: 2928 20th St NE, Rochester, MN  55906

What: Graduation Party for 8 Project Legacy Grads!

Who: Friends, Family, Community, Volunteers, Donors

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