What Difference One Person Can Make?
On December 6th, we hosted our inaugural breakfast, “Rise Up and Shine” featuring four Project Legacy youth. After the program, a man approached me with tears in his eyes and said, “I was one of those kids. I want to help.” This man owns his own company and is in a position to help in ways our young men need it most — as a positive role model, advocate, employer and a man who is ready to use his influence to help the youth off the streets and towards a positive future.
As a result of his commitment, one of our young men has moved into a safe apartment that this man has signed for. He has ended a dysfunctional relationship. He is employed. He has registered for college. And most importantly, he has hope. In just 23 days time, as a result of one man’s support, another young man’s life has changed forever.
So when we are asked what can one person do and what one person’s difference can one make..our answer? Everything.
As I reflect on 2018, I am struck by just how many people have stepped forward to help us. With over 500 nonprofits in Rochester alone, we are honored and grateful that you have chosen to support Project Legacy.
Project legacy is unlike any other organization in Rochester or across the state of Minnesota. Our program was developed specifically for youth of color, by people of color. We not only speak about equity, we live it. 50% of our board is made up of people of color, and we have made a commitment to reach out, support and mentor young adults in our community so that they can assume leadership positions within our organization and the wider community.
Because of your support, we saw incredible growth in 2018. At the request of middle school youth, we added programs for middle schoolers where they will be mentored by young adults of color who have experienced the challenges they are now experiencing. We have expanded our partnerships and collaborations to include Family Service Rochester, Doc’s Recovery House, Olmsted County’s PACE Mentorship Program and Dr. Amit Sood’s Transform Program.
In 2019, we will be expanding our mental health program and offering free trauma-focused counseling services to the youth enrolled in the intensive phase of our program by therapists in the community who volunteer with Project Legacy. And thanks to the Harper Family Foundation, we will be hiring a social work assistant to expand our capacity and serve more youth, and will be launching a new housing initiative for young people.
This year, our youth have remained sober, started and graduated college, found housing, employment and new, healthy friends. But even more important is the sense of purpose our youth tell us they have found. They have a new sense of hope, excitement and joy that comes from being a part of a true family, and that is what our youth tell us Project Legacy is — a family.
As 2018 comes to a close, will you consider partnering with us and becoming part of the Project Legacy family? Your support and generosity are what fuels opportunity, equity and compassionate support to those in our community who need it most. Thank you for your dedication to Project Legacy and the young people we are honored to serve.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year,
Karen and John Edmonds
Co-Founders, Project Legacy