Avivo Participants. Living Well. Working Well.

“I didn’t want to continue to work at part time jobs ... As a single parent of three, including a daughter living with a medical condition, I needed flexibility in the classes to fit around my schedule.”

After learning one of her daughters had developed a major medical condition, Amber needed a path to earn a stronger source of income that only a career provides to support herself and her three children. She found a path to her goal through Avivo’s Medical Office Support training program. Read Amber’s story

“When I came to Avivo I needed housing,” shares Stephen. “Housing [while you’re in treatment] is one of the most important things.”

Three consecutive traumatic events in Stephen’s life caused him to seek treatment again. This time, he wanted his next step to recovery to include real stability, so he came back to Avivo’s outpatient treatment program. Read Stephen’s story

“Getting support from Avivo was a blessing. My counselors were amazing. I was so inspired by them – I hoped to one day be on Avivo’s team.”

Now working both as a model and as a career counselor, India’s employment journey with Avivo started with an Avivo flyer in a food shelf bag she was picking up to support her family in a moment of need. Read India’s story

“[The counselors] supported me and my daughter ... They helped prepare me for having a baby. They help with parenting. They helped connect me to programs and health care I didn’t even know existed. They ensure that we are safe and happy.”

“I have her now,” Danielle shares, as she looks at her five-month-old daughter. Danielle found renewed purpose and perspective on life during her journey of recovery at Avivo. Now, working toward reaching recovery while living with her daughter, she shares her story. Read Danielle’s story

"I am a strong example for my kids!"

When LaShonda entered Avivo’s family treatment program, she thought it was a blessing in disguise. Now living in recovery with her daughter, she is proud of her sobriety and looking to the future. Read LaShonda’s story

“I have never met two people who care about their students like [instructors] Mickey and Bill. [It] made me feel different about humanity.”

After losing everything, becoming homeless, and needing to start over, Takeerah saw that the only way to push her life forward and take care of her family was to go to school and get training for a career. A year later, she and her family have an apartment and she is working in a career she loves! Read Takeerah’s story

“Avivo is unique, I would say, because they have a diverse staff. A new arrival [to America] can easily talk to staff, which gives them hope… hope that things can turn out much better in the future.”

When Emmanuel moved to the United States from Rwanda in 2019, he wanted nothing more than a bright future for his wife and daughters. He partnered with Avivo and other nonprofits to achieve his dreams. Read Emmanuel’s story

“I fell in love with sobriety and accomplishments ... I loved hitting 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. Everyone at Avivo knew when I hit another milestone. I made it known.”

Lawrence has seen significant positive changes in his life since entering Avivo’s treatment programs. He’s seen his mental and physical health improve and he’s rebuilding relationships with his kids and family. He’s also found employment, managing a team of more than 30 for a private security company. Read Lawrence’s story

“This is the first time in years that I had a place where all my boys could come and visit.”

For two years, Toni lived in a tent in south Minneapolis along the Midtown Greenway. She moved into a new efficiency apartment last December and is happy to leave the vulnerability and harshness of homelessness behind. Read Toni’s story

“Avivo came to help me. It felt good, like I wasn’t alone. Like you won’t sink. Like someone is helping you."

Kamilla is excited for her new career and new direction in life thanks to a unique program at Avivo that helps homemakers who need to pivot and fully provide for themselves and their children. Read Kamilla’s story

“Avivo was the main place I wanted to go because I knew you can have your kids there. I could have my children come and build myself back up.”

Recovering together as families in Avivo’s treatment program created a unique bond and lifelong friendship for Careshia and Teri. Today, their families share an apartment, they support each other’s sobriety, and they regularly spend time with other moms who graduated with them from Avivo’s treatment program. Read their story

“When I researched the job opportunities, I learned that starting pay was nearly $25 per hour. I thought ‘Wow!’”

Sylvester is proud to be one of the first graduates from Avivo’s new Telecommunications Installation and Support Training Program. He’s also the first graduate to find full-time employment in the field, and he’s excited to better support his family with his new job. Read Sylvester’s story

“Three years ago, I was on the street and couldn’t figure out up from down ... If I hadn’t had the support of other people, of case workers along the way, I wouldn’t be sitting where I am today.”

Just a few years ago Dave was homeless and had recently been divorced. He needed a path to hope, and found that by working with Avivo’s employment services. Read Dave’s story

“When the people from Avivo came to me, they just showed love ... I came to Avivo to get into their housing and treatment program. Their treatment program is amazing."

When Candy reflects on her life, she sees that the Candy of today is a completely different person than the Candy who first entered Avivo’s housing and treatment programs three years ago. Read her story

“Avivo was great. I was dealing with so much, and such bad PTSD, and Avivo was able to accommodate it ... For me, this was the first step in coming back into the world.”

Leigh Anne is motivated by the confidence she’s gained since entering Avivo’s employment programs last year. She’d been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years until divorce led to her suddenly needing to care for her daughters on her own. Read her story

“I was raised to be independent and to never ask for anything. When Ron [my Avivo employment counselor] was assigned to me, he quickly became my only support and source of communication and connectivity in Minnesota.”

After experiencing what she shares is incomprehensible and then being left alone to support three children with no income, “J” had nowhere to turn. With Avivo’s help, she found support and employment – entering a career at Avivo helping families move off public assistance and into work. She believes her strongest credentials for the job are that she has walked in her clients’ shoes. Read her story

“At Avivo, every single person has treated me with respect and, I don’t know, it’s a special place. It’s not like any other treatment I’ve ever been.”

The moment Abby was separated from her daughter was a key turning point in her life. Since then, she’s reached recovery, found housing, graduated from Avivo’s IT Support training program, and is working toward accomplishing even bigger goals. Read Abby’s story

“I love eating dinner with my kids every night ... I quit working weekends so we could spend more time.”

Each time Corey went into treatment he wanted to escape “the horrible life” and reach recovery. He said it took being in treatment the fifth time before deciding no more. Now, seven years later, he is an active single parent and working on dreams of having his own trucking company. Read Corey’s story

“I feel more capable to do all the things I want to do now that I’m not concerned about where I’m going to be sleeping. That was questionable for a long time…”

Jai shares that the combination of therapy at Avivo and finding permanent housing has “unlocked something” in them, which allowed them to create art and feel stability they hadn’t felt in years. Read Jai’s story

“It’s an accomplishment to earn that degree ... I’d gone to school here or there and never really succeeded because I didn’t have a lot of support.”

Jennifer is on the verge of starting a new career, after earning her college degree this past March. The urgency came when Jennifer suddenly needed to support herself and her four children after a divorce in 2020. Read Jennifer’s story

“I’m so appreciative of Avivo… I hadn’t worked in 10 years, and I hadn’t even done an employment interview in a number of years, so starting the process I was extremely nervous … Thankfully, I had a lot of people [at Avivo] I was able to lean on to help support me in the process.”

Ten years ago, Charley was experiencing homelessness and had entered a treatment program. Now, he’s graduated from the Avivo Institute of Career & Technical Education and is starting a new career. Read Charley’s story

“I’m thankful for the spot I’m in. I know the amount of work it took to get here, and I know that I still have work to do.”

Sharon has seen positive change recently unlike anything she could have imagined. Now approaching two years of sobriety, she’s living in her own apartment and has also strengthened the bond she has with her teenage daughter. Read Sharon’s story

“[Jacqueline] has been so resourceful in helping me with continuing my course work at Avivo ... She was connecting me to interviewing [for jobs], and she connected me to the grant program.”

When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, Pamela was enrolled in training at Avivo. She received her work permit in April and was moving forward on her personal goals for supporting herself and her son financially. Read Pamela’s story

“Before my time with Avivo, I felt so not-needed and discouraged… I truly was frustrated … Now, since I made the dedication and got all of the certifications, I feel great.”

After experiencing multiple layoffs, Philip felt defeated. He was ready for a career change. After graduating from Avivo’s IT Training Program he found a job and renewed self-confidence. Read Philip’s story

“Because of COVID-19, I lost business in driving so I needed support. I looked to Avivo for training, for school … Now I’m good. Avivo helped me earn my CDL certificate. After Ramadan, I’ll start working.”

After COVID-19 stopped Ahmed’s career as an Uber driver, he needed a new way to provide for his family. He came to Avivo, where he was linked to job training and just recently started a new career. Read Ahmed’s story

“I came with basically nothing, and Avivo helped me get my GED. I’d wanted that ever since I dropped out [of high school].”

Angela is excited for her future now that she has a path to follow. “When I came to Avivo, I was broke and didn’t really have anything I could do for work,” shares Angela. “Now I know that I want to help people.” Read Angela’s story

“That [moment] was when I needed Avivo the most, and they definitely helped me through it."

Tawny is an overcomer. After experiencing trauma like few could imagine, she reached recovery at Avivo and regained custody of her children. Read Tawny’s story

“Staff at Avivo are really nice and helpful, and very supportive.”

Iftu wanted to advance her life and career, but couldn’t make the time. She’s a single mother of two small children and needed to work two jobs to support her family. When the pandemic hit, she lost one of her jobs and that allowed her to enter Avivo’s career education program. Read Iftu’s story

“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 Cameroonit 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.

“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.