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Carmen’s Story

Carmen is an overcomer. Through hard work, perseverance, and support from Avivo, she has transformed her life and is on her way to achieving her dreams.

For many, dreaming about the future starts as a child. Carmen’s childhood was different. She describes it as violent and filled with abuse. “I grew up confused … about life and the right direction to take.”

“I grew up confused … about life and the right direction to take.”

Without positive influences in her life, she eventually made poor choices with serious consequences, including time in prison.

She used those years to “work on me.” She decided to change. After being released, she experienced other challenges — losing her job and becoming homeless.  She needed support for her mental health, and that’s when she found Avivo.

Avivo specializes in helping individuals living with severe and persistent mental illness, as well as those experiencing homelessness. Avivo’s mental health team provided Carmen with the support she needed, and connected her with a place to live.

“If Avivo didn’t exist, checking into the hospital would be the only option. That’s not helpful, long-term.”

“If Avivo didn’t exist, checking into the hospital would be the only option. That’s not helpful, long-term.”

With support for her mental health and a stable place to live, Carmen has accomplished much. She’s earned her associate’s degree in human services from Minneapolis Community and Technical College, graduating with honors. She plans to attend Metropolitan State University to pursue her bachelor’s degree. She hopes to work in a nonprofit setting that helps people involved in the justice system.

She is also an avid volunteer, including serving at the Dignity Center, children’s program at her church, and Avivo.

According to Carmen, all of her hard work has helped her surmount challenges that stood in her way. “I feel more secure in the choices that I make. And I have a lot of things that I want to do!”