Paying it forward for other kids

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Manilan Houle grew up just one block from the new site for the LSS Center for Changing Lives in Duluth. He was eight years old when he walked from his home to a nearby pay phone and called the police. He and his siblings were taken to the LSS Bethany Crisis Shelter, where the staff remembered him from a previous visit.

“I was filled with fear, not knowing what I had done by making that call to the police,” he said. “But one of the staff there, said, ‘All of the struggles you are going through may seem larger than life right now, but they are temporary. Life is going to be good. Hang in there.’”

He was right. Manilan found a loving family in foster care, and grew up to be a talented and compassionate young man. He crossed paths again with LSS before college when he took life skills classes through LSS’ Oh No! Eighteen program.

At age 20, he’s now the youth minister at his neighborhood faith community that embraced him as a child. He has dreams of helping shape public policies that will make life better for kids.

He’s also a big fan of the new Center for Changing Lives – and a contributor. “The time I had with LSS youth programs changed me for a lifetime, and I know that this new center will have an even greater impact on many other young people in the future.”

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