Entries by Kristin VanHeel

“I mean, really cold”

Cold. It isn’t a feeling that many of us seek out on a regular basis, but I did recently just so I could share the experience with you. Because I am someone who runs from my car into the building I am trying to get to as fast as I can, being cold … I […]

Dennise’s Story

Dennise walked through our Drop-In Center doors for the first time when she was just 19 years old. She had been living in an unsafe environment and needed help finding a path forward not only for herself, but also for the child that she was expecting. She was already meeting with Emily from the Anoka-Hennepin […]

Alex’s Story

Alex first walked through our doors last September after he found himself with nowhere to sleep except the streets. He knew that he needed help to move past his current situation and hoped that we could work with him on a plan to do just that. The first step was finding him an immediate place […]

HOPE 4 Youth: One Tree, Many Branches

Dear Friend, Since opening our doors nearly five years ago, HOPE 4 Youth has grown from a tiny seed into a strong, deep-rooted tree with many branches – “One Tree, Many Branches”. We know that the need for HOPE 4 Youth has never been greater with the number of homeless young people who visit the Drop-In Center […]

The Darkest Night of My Life

The night was close and very warm for a Minnesota late September evening as I stood in the dark with a group of people, whose names I did not know, going for a walk or a run with me. Soon they were no longer visible as the night deepened. My friend who was running beside […]

Anthony’s Story: Dreams of Moving Forward

As children, many of us were taught to dream big. We dreamed of growing up to become actors and actresses, musicians, professional athletes and even the President of the United States of America. We dreamed of living in a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house with a picture-perfect white picket fence. We dreamed of driving around in a […]

A Letter From Our Executive Director

As parents, we have perhaps no greater joy this time of year than watching our children head off to school. Each of us knows the amazing feeling that night before the first day of school. You go to bed early, but can’t really sleep. It’s an anxious excitement that keeps us awake, as the kids […]

Jenaa’s Story: Things Can Get Better

My name is Jenaa and this is my story. I am a mother of two children who has overcome a very troubling past. I lived a great childhood in Hutchinson, MN, living with my father and stepmother. I had a wonderful family, and three siblings who I was close with. My father divorced this relationship […]

Aging Out of Foster Care

Each year it is estimated that across this country, 20,000 kids in foster care are left to care for themselves because they are too old and no longer qualify for placement with foster families. Minnesota law does allow youth who are in foster care on their 18th birthdays to receive extended foster care services and payments […]

HOPE For My Daughter and I

“Everything takes time” is a phrase that Miranda knows all too well.  Employed but forced to sleep on couches, in motels, in cars and even on the streets because her income couldn’t cover rent, Miranda wasn’t sure how much time it would take before she and Dakota, her daughter, would have a safe place that […]