Project Legacy Heals: Learn About Our New Mental Health Initiative

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As my children have grown up, I reflect on ways I could have been a better parent.

Be more directive, be less directive.

Spend more time with them, yet allow them more freedom.

Be strict, but not too strict.

Don’t let them watch as much TV, but don’t be so controlling.

We all struggle with the what-if’s. We wonder what we were thinking about certain decisions we made and consider how things could have been different. But if we step back and look objectively at our parenting, most of us can say that, through it all, we did the best we could and our children have thrived in spite of us.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for many of our young people at Project Legacy.

When I hear their stories, I am struck over and over by what they have endured. A combination of everyday hardships, multiplied by horrific and complex traumatic experiences.

Parents shooting their own children, holding guns to their heads and threatening to pull the trigger if they report sexual abuse.

Siblings who threaten them with loaded guns.

Beatings by parents and other adults that leave their faces scarred.

Constant homelessness, hunger, and the uncertainty of whether or not their life is worth living.

A few months ago, I spent days with one of our young men who was in the Mayo psychiatric unit. Last week, I brought another young man to the emergency room, sitting with him in the midst of a mental health crisis while staff searched for an open bed somewhere in the state because their program was full. When we found out he would be transported by ambulance to Mankato, I reassured him I would come to visit, bringing him home when he was released.

The common denominator is child abuse, poverty and historical trauma — and the resulting loneliness and mental health concerns that result from it.

Youth who find their way to Project Legacy come to our doors starved for affection, comfort and reassurance that they are valued and worthy, because more often than not, they have no family to depend on.

Parents that should be protecting and providing for their children are instead abusing and preying on them. The end result is a child who no longer trusts adults, who is dealing with PTSD, psychosis, severe depression, and thoughts of suicide.

Over the years, Project Legacy has provided a safe space filled with love, support and resources. And while this is important, when dealing with complex trauma and abuse, it just isn’t enough. To help our young people heal, we need to provide a bridge to accessing the appropriate mental health resources.

In the past, we haven’t had our own therapists to turn to, instead experiencing barriers alongside our young people — lack of insurance, long waiting lists, lack of transportation and therapists who lack the trauma-informed skills to work with young people who need this specialized support.

Until now.

Today, we are proud to announce a new and innovative mental health initiative at Project Legacy: Project Legacy Heals.

Project Legacy Heals provides free therapy by therapists who are experienced in working with youth of color who have experienced trauma. Two of our therapists are people of color themselves, able to relate to the trauma of racism and help our youth begin the journey of healing.

Beyond therapy itself, our therapists are part of the team of people who support our youth on a consistent basis.

Each month, we sit together with them: therapist, peer mentor, advocate and youth, to review the plan for their future. We talk about successes and barriers, working to ensure he or she is getting the appropriate resources, while holding them accountable when necessary.

At Project Legacy, our work is grounded in shared values of love, compassion, generosity and forgiveness. As adults, we seek to live and model these values and we believe in the inherent value of every young person.

We believe that each one of our youth deserves the best we can provide — every resource and opportunity that our own children have received.

As we move forward into the future of this program, we ask for your bold partnership. Programs like ours are built and sustained by donor support, and at Project Legacy, your financial support comes with direct results — healed trauma, known self worth, racial reconciliation and the courage to break generational cycles of abuse, addiction and dysfunction.

As we ask our young people to be bold and courageous in their healing, would you, too, partner with us boldly and courageously?

Please consider joining the Legacy Partners program, a monthly giving initiative that provides consistent support to Project Legacy, ensuring we can do the same for the young people we are honored to serve.

Thank you for your courageous support and consideration,

Karen Edmonds
Co-Founder and Executive Director

For questions about Project Legacy Heals or how to make a referral, contact Karen Edmonds, Executive Director at

Karen Edmonds