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A lifetime of giving makes a difference! 

Mary and John Jelinek’s support for Avivo is very personal. They’ve been giving to Avivo and its related recovery programs for more than 20 years. Their son had struggled with alcohol and drugs and went through treatment several times before achieving sobriety. He has been in recovery for 16 years now!

According to Mary, external support is so important because parents walk a fine line between helping and enabling. Her son had received a scholarship to enter treatment from a nonprofit called H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Enable Alcoholics and Addicts Receive Treatment). Mary and John began giving to H.E.A.R.T. in 1985 to help others who face challenges to recovery. In 2014, H.E.A.R.T. merged with Avivo.

Mary shared that she and her husband started giving early in their marriage when they didn’t have much to give. They met in college; John graduated from Saint Mary’s University and Mary graduated from the College of Saint Teresa, both in Winona, Minn.

Mary graduated with a degree in elementary education with a concentration in music. She stayed home with their three children for 15 years before teaching. She taught at the Catholic school her children attended and worked there for 18 years.

“I want to help students in financial need to achieve their educational goals. I also want to help people who struggle with homelessness and poverty. I like that at Avivo people have options to get help they need with housing and jobs.”

John became a Certified Public Accountant and built a successful accounting firm in Hopkins, MN. He also worked as a financial advisor. They celebrated 50 years of marriage in 2019. Later that same year John passed away due to health complications.

The Jelineks have a passion for serving. John served on the school board, finance council, and was a trustee of St. Joseph’s (now St. Gabriel the Archangel) Catholic Church in Hopkins. Mary worked as the Elementary Religious Education Director for their parish. Longtime donors of Saint Mary’s University, they invested in Saint Mary’s First Generation Initiative. The program helps ensure academic success for first-generation college students – young adults who are the first generation in their family to attend a postsecondary institution.

Mary shared how important it is for her to help others in ways that will help them succeed. “I want to help students in financial need to achieve their educational goals. I also want to help people who struggle with homelessness and poverty. I like that at Avivo people have options to get help they need with housing and jobs.”

We remain grateful for Mary and John and their longstanding commitment to helping individuals in our community who face the greatest barriers to success. Thank you for your longstanding and faithful support of Avivo!