Hope is tangible, but we need your support

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“The unique way depression presents itself in males combined with the underdiagnoses of men of color with depression may intersect to cause further disparities for Black boys.”

Unfortunately, this is a reality we see all too often.

In these past few months, we have received a number of referrals for young people experiencing mental health challenges due to the long-lasting impact of racial disparity and poverty. Project Legacy provided intensive services to two young African American men who were threatening suicide. Both were admitted to Generose, and upon discharge, we provided free mental health therapy with one of our volunteer therapists, a man of color himself with expertise in treating trauma.

In addition to mental health support, we were able to ease the financial stress caused by their hospitalization, covering their rent and buying groceries. Tutoring was provided to assist them in catching up on the classroom instruction they had missed.

Project Legacy's board is made up of 50% people of color, and we have created a volunteer therapy program, Project Legacy Heals, that provides free mental health therapy by therapists who are experienced in trauma therapy. Among our therapists, half are people of color.

As we continue to wrestle with the loss of $250,000 in state funding in this last legislative session, we recognize this was devastating for our program. We are the only program in Minnesota that provides this kind of intensive, long-term support and intervention to youth of color, by adults of color.

In the last few weeks alone, we’ve received referrals from RCTC, a former charter school teacher, two youth, and three counselors and teachers from the Rochester School District. The total number of referrals? Nine. In a span of five days. All are African American youth. One young woman described herself to me as, "Losing hope minute by minute."

A funder once told me that it's impossible to quantify and measure hope, but I respectfully disagree.

Project Legacy does much more than just talk about racism. We provide our youth with the tools they need to move from being a victim of racism to being a survivor, and to our ultimate goal of helping them thrive in their lives. We empower them, we provide the resources needed to heal from the trauma they've experienced, and we support them on the path towards realizing their dreams and goals.

Here, hope is tangible.

Our youth need the critical services Project Legacy provides, but we need additional funding in order to do so. Please consider how you might be able to help. One way is to become a Legacy Partner by giving a monthly contribution to support our work. Monthly giving provides a sustainable foundation that allows our programs to thrive and flourish. Learn more here.

Karen Edmonds