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People We Help

Moving forward

Today, Suli Furman and her husband Travis live in their busy home in Grand Rapids balancing work and raising their three children –Angelica (11 years), Hunter (7 years), and Henry (2 years). They have a lot to be proud of—jobs, a home, and each other. But life wasn’t always that way. Not too long ago, Suli watched as this life came to a screeching halt, threatening to take away everything she held dear.

Two years into their marriage, the couple moved to Remer with their daughter Angel. Soon after, they welcomed their son, Hunter. They never thought that they’d be faced with one of the most difficult challenges of their relationshipContinue reading

 


Turning the Table on Tragedy
By Amanda Dosen-Windorski 

“We came to the Grand Rapids area about seven years ago to escape.  To hide really.”  Monica, a mother of three, went on in grave detail about her challenging past.  Her childhood shrouded with abuse and exploitation.  She ran away at age twelve, only to live on the streets of Chicago.  It didn’t take long for Monica to learn that this was not living; this was surviving on the streets.  But, as horrible as it was, she wasn’t locked in closets or in rooms with the windows nailed shut.  She didn’t have to watch drug deals or tricks being turned in her own home, and they could not hurt her. Continue reading

 


Campus Life sparks faith and hope
By Christina Brown 


When Liz Maki joined the Deer River Campus Life program back in high school, she thought it would be a great way to have fun and meet new friends. 
She didn’t realize it would become a lifeline.   

“It really planted a seed,” said Maki. “Everything I learned there came back to me later.” 

Campus Life is a program for teens in grades 9-12 in Deer River, Grand Rapids, and Greenway. It’s part of Itasca Youth for Christ, a faith-based organization, supported in part by the United Way of 1000 Lakes. Continue reading


Day Stay gives sense of purpose, community
By Christina Brown 

Joey Jacobson of Bigfork knew her mother Marie needed a little extra help. 

She was living on her own in an apartment, but had moderate dementia. It was then that Marie started going to the Bigfork Valley Day Stay Program. 

“If it hadn’t been for Day Stay, I would have had to work part-time to be able to care for her,” said Jacobson, a nurse educator at Bigfork Valley. “It saved my sanity, and helped with guilt. It gave me hope that we would make it through this.” Continue reading


From rough beginnings to rays of hope: How mentoring changed Chelsi's story
By Christina Brown

Chelsi Drobnick could have been just another casualty of poverty and crime. 

“Looking back at everything that’s gone on, I should be dead,” Drobnick said. “There were decisions I decided to make that got me to break that chain.  But it wasn’t just me. It was the love that was poured into me throughout my journey.”

Drobnick’s story is just one example of how the United Way of 1000 Lakes supports local community organizations working collaboratively to change people’s lives. Continue reading

 



Turning the Table on Tragedy
By Amanda Dosen-Windorski

“We came to the Grand Rapids area about seven years ago to escape.  To hide really.”  Monica, a mother of three, went on in grave detail about her challenging past.  Her childhood shrouded with abuse and exploitation.  She ran away at age twelve, only to live on the streets of Chicago.  It didn’t take long for Monica to learn that this was not living; this was surviving on the streets.  But, as horrible as it was, she wasn’t locked in closets or in rooms with the windows nailed shut.  She didn’t have to watch drug deals or tricks being turned in her own home, and they could not hurt her. Continue reading

 

Turning the Table on Tragedy
By Amanda Dosen-Windorski

“We came to the Grand Rapids area about seven years ago to escape.  To hide really.”  Monica, a mother of three, went on in grave detail about her challenging past.  Her childhood shrouded with abuse and exploitation.  She ran away at age twelve, only to live on the streets of Chicago.  It didn’t take long for Monica to learn that this was not living; this was surviving on the streets.  But, as horrible as it was, she wasn’t locked in closets or in rooms with the windows nailed shut.  She didn’t have to watch drug deals or tricks being turned in her own home, and they could not hurt her. Continue reading