Earlier this month, Solid Ground held our Every Family Needs a Home breakfast, which raised $115,000 in support of our program. One of our speakers, who lived here as a child, returned to share with the crowd the impact that Solid Ground had on her family’s life:I was just a toddler when we moved into Solid Ground twenty years ago. My parents had recently gotten divorced and my Mom was trying to go to school full-time and work full-time all while raising my brother, my sister, and I by herself. As you can imagine, this was no easy feat especially considering she didn’t have savings or a degree to fall back on. As you can also imagine, there was no spare money lying around. My Mom told me that she used to put $0.75 worth of gas at a time into our old station wagon so we could get to our next destination where she would then have to find more spare change before we could get back. We shopped at Goodwill, ate off food stamps, and made do with what we had. Even while living this modest lifestyle, there was absolutely no way my Mom could have afforded to go back to school if it wasn’t for living at Solid Ground. I was so young that I don’t remember many things from living at Solid Ground. However, I do remember that there was a playground, and lots of other kids. I was too young to ever feel poor or to make the realization that we lived in low-income housing. I just remember playing, feeling safe, feeling happy, and knowing that it was my home. I know for my Mom it was a huge sense of relief to know that her kids had a happy and safe place to sleep every night so that she could concentrate on getting through school. Eventually my mom graduated from the University of Minnesota. She got re-married to my Step Dad and together they bought a house. This was the first home that we lived in that was actually “ours.” School always came fairly easy to me, but more so I think it was the example that my Mom set for me that drove me to excel academically… It was never a question to me whether or not I would go to college. I mean for heaven’s sake my Mom went to school full-time while raising three kids alone; what would my excuse be? I chose to go to the University of Minnesota to be close to my Mom and the rest of the family. I went to the Carlson School of Business within the U of M and majored in Finance with a minor in Economics. I paid for my own college and worked throughout its entirety. I had internships and my Senior year I was fortunate enough to have seven job offers by the time the Fall semester was over. As far as my future plans go, I plan to attend graduate school and get my MBA within the next five years. Eventually I have aspirations of non-profit entrepreneurship. Growing up the way I did, I developed a strong passion for using your brain and your savvy to make a real difference in the world, and I’m excited to see where that passion takes me in life. It would be nice to think I could have gotten where I am today without the help of others, but I don’t think I can say that with any form of confidence. Sometimes we need to rely on the kindness of others to push us past points of desperation; to support us when we can’t fully support ourselves; to look past the judgment of why you are where you are and to focus on helping you get to where you want to be. If we hadn’t lived at Solid Ground, there is no way my Mom could have afforded to go to college. Without that example would I have felt compelled to go college myself? Without being showed grace and generosity myself, would I have the passion I do now to show the same to others? Would the good I plan to do out in the world go undone? Truthfully, I couldn’t tell you. What I do know is that the example my Mom set for me made me who I am today and inspired my dreams for tomorrow and Solid Ground gave her the resources she needed to be that example. So in closing, I would like to thank Solid Ground for all that you gave my family and all of the good you continue to do for others. Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who supports Solid Ground because it’s people like you that donate, volunteer, and contribute to this program that really keep it going. You may not necessarily know the people who will be affected by your generosity and they may not necessarily ever know you, but I can promise you that they will look back in life and be so grateful for the opportunities that you are making possible for them. Thank you.