“They practically answered my prayers… I thought I’d just be homeless forever.”
Casey and Rhonda were sharing a tent at an encampment in Minneapolis when George Floyd was murdered in late May. As unrest grew, they chose to be two of more than 70 people Avivo evacuated to a hotel, and entered Avivo’s new Hotels To Home program. Read Casey and Rhonda’s story
“I wanted to do training on a career pathway … When my case manager showed me the choices, I picked Avivo…”
When civil war came to her native country of Cameroon, it changed everything for Pamela. She had to start a new life in the United States. Working with Avivo, she’s found a career path that’ll support her and her young son. Read Pamela’s story
“I feel like I have a purpose now and each day I work toward my goals…”
Caty escaped an abusive relationship with her young children, but hadn’t worked in years. With help from Avivo, she found support to grow her own business and achieve independence. Read Caty’s story
“Avivo’s done a lot for me and my family... They’ve helped so much in ways I never expected them to, that they didn’t even have to. They just go above and beyond.”
Breona’s life was on track for success. She had good grades in school and was even earning college credits — until an early pregnancy and family struggles put a stop to that and led to housing and financial instability. Since finding Avivo, she’s earned her GED, become a CNA, and looks forward to more career advancement. Read Breona’s story
“I got so much kindness and compassion from the staff and got close to the people working [at Avivo].”
After struggling with trauma and addiction, Jeremy lost custody of her children and her life spiraled — ultimately ending in homelessness. Since then, she found Avivo, reached recovery, found a job, and is working toward rebuilding her relationship with her children. Read Jeremy’s story
“I wanted a future. I wanted a life ... I wanted something better for myself than the streets.”
Growing up on what he calls “the mean streets of Chicago,” Jeff wanted to get off the streets and away from gang violence; he wanted a better life for himself. He entered treatment at Avivo and worked with career counselors to find employment at a county treatment facility. Read Jeff’s story
“Avivo was the only place that would take me with my child – he was 15 years old.”
After the death of her mother and her eldest son within the span of a month, Lunye didn’t know if she could go on. Her 15-year-old son gave her the inspiration she needed to reach recovery at Avivo. Read Lunye’s story
“Avivo staff were encouraging and positive about my skills at a time when I felt a loss of confidence … That foundation felt very good to me.”
After a divorce, Jeannie suddenly needed to provide for herself. She hadn’t been financially independent in decades, and started looking for help. That’s when she found Avivo. Read Jeannie’s story
“Since I’ve been sober and in treatment, I’m a lot happier. My kids see a whole different person… I feel like I’m a whole different mom.”
As Minnesota wrestles with the advance of COVID-19, Krystal is continuing the hard, life-changing work of working on recovery in Avivo’s family treatment programs. Read Krystal’s story
“Avivo works with people with disabilities … I just wanted to get back to where I’d be able to work.”
David had to overcome two major health barriers, heart failure and vision loss, to find work. With Avivo’s help, he got the support he needed and now has a job he loves at the downtown Minneapolis YMCA. Read David’s story
“I want people to know that even if you have a mental illness, you can still do things… despite the stigma.”
Rita found help to stabilize her depression and anxiety when she first came to Avivo (pictured center). She still wanted to do more, to help others in similar situations, and ten years ago volunteered to create a mental health support group. Read Rita’s story
“It was a major reality check – being a single mom. I had to quickly figure out how to do it all on my own.”
After separating from her daughter’s father, Danielle needed to quickly learn how to support herself and her daughter. She came to Avivo for career education and job search help, starting volunteering, and has now found employment. Read Danielle’s story
“I’m very thankful for Avivo being there – and simply existing and supporting [me].”
After 20 years of fighting addiction, Sara needed a major change to achieve sobriety. After her release from Shakopee, Sara has re-shaped her life with help from Avivo, and started working, and learning, at All Square (a one-of-a-kind nonprofit social enterprise centered on a craft grilled cheese restaurant, with aims of reducing recidivism). Read Sara’s story
"The Valerie of today is very different than the Valerie that I used to be."
Valerie worked with Avivo to overcome mental illness and work past her addiction. Now she’s graduated from Avivo’s career education program, found employment in the medical office field, and after one year of employment — still loves her job! Watch her story
"I’d lost my dad, lost my apartment, and got into a car accident and lost my car ... Everything went downhill from there… and I became homeless.”
“I was stuck there for a minute,” shares Will. Now he’s a success story through an Avivo program that helps move individuals who have experienced homelessness, and then lived in supportive housing, to more independent living. Read Will’s story
"Avivo has always believed in me… even when I didn’t show or messed-up again. You have to want the help. And believe and give it a chance. I thank God I’m part of Avivo.”
Love-Eden shares her 1st-person story about finding mental health treatment at Avivo, and then accessing Avivo’s employment services and housing support programs as well. Read Love-Eden’s story
“Avivo has been able to provide me with safe housing for my family, while I come and get my feet back underneath me.”
When Bailey heard about Avivo and that mothers could enter treatment with their children, ages 0-17, she thought the program might be a good match for her. Now, after graduating from Avivo’s treatment programs, she’s given birth to a healthy baby boy and is reunited with her daughter and boyfriend. Read Bailey’s story
“Avivo staff all treated me like family, and went beyond the call of duty. Now I’m gonna use my skills… Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.”
When we spoke with Shirley, she shared how Avivo staff prepared her for a job interview that was set for the next day. She was experiencing chronic unemployment. We’re happy to share she was hired! Read Shirley’s story
“I want an apartment. I want to work. I want a job in an office in downtown Minneapolis.”
Rukiya is an immigrant from Somalia, and came to Avivo because she wanted to help her family become financially independent. She was ready to find a job, but had a significant roadblock to finding employment: she wasn’t able to speak or read English, and hadn’t yet learned how to read – in any language. Read Rukiya’s story
“Being with my daughter is probably the greatest thing that’s happened to me.”
LaFern credits Dakota County and Avivo with helping fast-forward his transition from homelessness and unemployment to a more stable, positive, life situation. He’s proud of the work he’s put in to support his daughter and restart his life. He can’t imagine doing it without her. Read LaFern’s story
“I want to be a translator for my people.”
Ahmed is a student in Avivo’s ESL program, which helps new Americans learn English to find full-time employment. He is a proud father and is working with Avivo to find employment that supports his family and allows him to help fellow immigrants find success living in the United States. Read Ahmed’s story
"I remember the first day I came to Avivo ... When I walked into the art studio, I knew this is where I belonged."
Released from HCMC with the clothes on his back and a bus token, Glenn knew he needed to change. Since then, he’s thrived in Avivo’s ArtWorks program and his career as an artist is just beginning. Read Glenn’s story
“This job changed my life. I’m very happy.”
Hirut emigrated from Ethiopia and is now a mother of five. With help from Avivo, she entered a career and is employed by the City of Minneapolis. Read Hirut’s story
“Without Avivo I probably would have been nowhere. A dead-end job. Possibly back to the streets. It’s kind of amazing when I think about the changes that I’ve made.”
Tommy credits Avivo for inspiring him to transform his life. He’d repeatedly attempted sobriety. He had little success until he entered Avivo’s Institute of Career & Technical Education. Read Tommy’s story
"It's been one big circle, everybody helping each other ... I'm glad to be part of that."
Vincent completed treatment and now volunteers to provide peer support to participants currently enrolled in Avivo’s recovery programs. Read Vincent’s story
“I love being a mom. It’s the best thing ever.”
Antoinette’s drive to find housing stability and to support herself and her daughter led her to Avivo’s youth employment programs. Read Antoinette’s story
“Avivo is helping me grow, and we are growing together … I love the fact I can be with my daughter.”
Theresa is entering a new stage of her life. She’s completing treatment and moving on to Avivo’s short-term career training courses. Read Theresa’s story
"Avivo was able to initially give me a plan, which has led me to find work, and keep work."
Learn about Hachi. He escaped from Djibouti and immigrated to America. He feels it’s his duty to raise his children to contribute positively to society.
“I always think about those lost years … Art gets my mind off of them.”
Learn about Gary. He’s well-known and well-liked in Avivo’s ArtWorks program, a program supporting artists living with mental illness.
"It became real. Life became real."
Learn about Kyle. At 21 years old, Kyle’s already playing the role of family hero for his two kids and their mother.
“I’ve always liked working. I really enjoy it.”
Learn about Paul. He lives with a disability, but doesn’t let that major detail get in the way of a productive work and family life. After a layoff he’s back in the workforce after graduating from Avivo’s IT Support Training program.
“I grew up confused … about life and the right direction to take.”
Learn about Carmen. With Avivo’s help, she’s found housing and is working toward achieving her life goals.
“Avivo gave me the confidence to study and learn, and get into a regimen.”
Learn about John. From a young age he was in and out of jail and treatment centers. He eventually reached a breaking point and decided to turn his life around, which led him to Avivo. Now, he’s graduated from Avivo Institute of Career & Technical Education and has a new job in his new career.
“I don’t have chaos in my life anymore. I feel like I have support.”
Learn about Valerie. After 15 years of self-medicating to avoid dealing with her mental health concerns, she knew it was time to change. Since then she’s worked with Avivo’s mental health counselors and housing support to find stable housing and learn the skills to start a new career.
“I wanted a career. I have a dream to be working in accounting. That’s why Avivo was so important.”
Learn about Rania. She moved to Minnesota from Egypt, where she held a bachelor’s degree in accounting. When her husband was laid off from his job, she took Avivo’s accounting support training to help her re-enter the workforce.
“Being hired at my age … it’s like a second chance. I’m glad Avivo was around.”
Learn about Michael. He’s a military veteran, and struggled to find steady employment after serving in the Vietnam War.
“I started trying to change ... I quit hanging around with my friends and changed my life.”
Learn about Regis. After struggling with alcohol and unemployment, he completed Avivo’s Warehouse Pro training program and is on track for employment.
"If you stay motivated and stay on your feet, you’ll have something to keep you going.”
“There’s no magic solution, you’ve gotta put forth your own effort.” Learn about Santana. She struggled initially to start a new life for herself and her daughter in St. Cloud, but is on track for success.
"I’m so proud of what I can do.”
“I have found community here.” Learn about Cece. She’s a regular participant in Avivo’s community support programs, which help individuals living with mental illness achieve wellness and recovery.
“I know I did much of this work, but it wouldn’t have been possible without Avivo.”
Learn about Diamond, who is overcoming addiction to become a stronger woman and stronger mom.
“Next to coming to America, Avivo was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Learn about Sameya, a Somali-American mother of three. In 1991, civil war broke out in Somalia, which forever changed her life.
"Parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews…we rely on whoever can work in the house to be able to pay the bills."
Learn about Gao, and how’s she’s overcome the odds to succeed in school and go to college.
Kevin has autism, which makes the nuances of the workplace that might come easily for others, difficult for him.
Learn about Kevin, and how he’s succeeding in a new career.
“I was going through a rebellious phase at 16 … Eventually I got into big trouble.”
Learn about Raygne. She’s worked with Avivo to get past a rebellious phase of her life and create a new beginning.
"I was given an option. Get my life back together or my kids would get taken for good."
Learn about Candace, who is overcoming addiction while also raising two kids.
"I’m an artist. Period."
A growing professional artist, Martha Bird lives with mental illness. She prefers to be known for what she does and who she is, not her diagnosis. Learn about Martha and how she’s raising awareness through her art.
“People don’t understand what a stay-at-home parent goes through in a divorce. I had no income [and needed to support my family].”
Learn about how Peder, a single father of three, quickly learned new skills to re-enter the workforce.
“It’s amazing that I’m doing this. I’m a miracle.”
Learn about Wolfgang, and how after 40 years of struggling with addiction, he is in recovery and getting better.