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Glenn pursues passion for art through Avivo’s Community Support Program

“I really wouldn’t even be alive today, if it wasn’t for Avivo,” says Glenn, professional artist and member of the artist collective in Avivo’s ArtWorks program. “Being [at Avivo] is one of the cornerstones of my life and sobriety.”

By the time Glenn was in high school, he’d started experiencing symptoms of mental illness. “We knew mental illness was in the family, but we never talked about it.”

Glenn was kicked out of the house as a teenager, and he attempted suicide at 17. He describes the rest of his adult life as a series of bad decisions resulting from alcohol addiction and drug use.

“I really wouldn’t even be alive today, if it wasn’t for Avivo… Being [at Avivo] is one of the cornerstones of my life and sobriety.”

Everything changed for Glenn on July 25, 2017, when he blacked out after drinking, and ended up in the emergency room at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). When Glenn woke up, he didn’t know where he was. “I was strapped to a bed. It was so ego shattering… that feeling of not knowing what I did. I never want to experience that again.”

Released from HCMC with the clothes on his back and a bus token, he knew he needed to change. “I remember the first day I came to Avivo,” shares Glenn. “When I walked into the art studio, I knew this is where I belonged. I was accepted. There is a common thread that binds us all – living with mental illness.”

“For the first time in my life, I am part of something bigger than myself.”

Glenn started working on art and sharing it with others. He was accepted as a member in the competitive professional artist collective at Avivo ArtWorks, where Avivo staff are helping him develop his career. Since then, Glenn has shown his art in a number of exhibitions including the Minnesota State Fair’s Art Show last summer.

“I dream of showing art in a gallery. I dream of having clothing designs based on my art. My biggest dream is to do a TED Talk on my journey of hope.”

“For the first time in my life, I am part of something bigger than myself.”

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