Shedding Stress by Shedding Student Loan Debt

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LSS Financial Counselor Katie Eastman, back, works with Julie Killian on student loan repayment.

Only months away from a wedding to her husband-to-be, Julie Killian should have been spending time talking to wedding planners and making sure every last detail of her special day was in order. Instead, she was spending time on the phone with debt collectors, trying to remedy a problem with her loan.

Ten years earlier, Julie was working her way through school. To relieve some financial pressure, she co-signed a loan with her then husband. Always diligent about making sure every duck was in a row, especially the kind with bills to be paid, she made good on each monthly installment — even after she and her husband got divorced and the loan stayed in his name.

Without a hitch, years of payments went by until Julie got a notice from her bank stating that the loan had been forgiven. The language in the notice led her to believe she could stop making payments. Julie assumed everything was fine until she got a phone call from her ex-husband saying that payments weren’t being made and his credit score was severely impacted. Continue reading

The Courage to be Different

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Every time a shooting star crossed the sky. Every time a four-leaf clover was picked from its stem. Every time a coin was tossed into a fountain. Every time birthday candles were blown out.

Every time, Ally Taubenheim made the same wish. To live a life without a rare autoimmune disease and skin disorder causing pigment to disappear, leaving white patches in its place. But most of all, she wished to look and feel normal.

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Help for caregivers parenting someone else’s child

VertrauenRobin, a single grandmother, was faced with the unexpected need to request custody of her six-year-old grandson. While she had been his primary caregiver for many years, she said, the responsibility of taking on full-time parenting felt overwhelming. She had so many questions. What legal help was available? Could the county assist with resources for child support? How could her grandson adjust to his new situation? How could she support him through this difficult transition?

With help from an attorney, the school district, county and Kinship Family Support Services at Lutheran Social Service, she tackled each matter one step at a time.

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Finding Their Place in This World

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Andrew and his wife, Kelly, knew one day they’d be parents. After having two biological children, adoption wasn’t part of the plan. Then one night they were captivated by news coverage of a tsunami in Asia that made them acutely aware of the plight of orphans everywhere.

“The broadcast was riddled with stories of children who became orphans overnight,” Andrew recalled. The couple felt compelled to do more than send donations. They were moved to create a loving home for several children in need. “Without skipping a beat, we decided to take some of these kids into our home and into our family.”

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A Perfect Double Storm

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Andrea Trautman was at work with her newborn baby an hour away from home when the twin tornadoes merged into one massive funnel cloud and slammed into her community. Meanwhile, Andrea’s brother raced against the storm to pick up his sister’s older children, Graycen and Ashlyn, from daycare and get them safely to their grandparents’ house — a home built to withstand the severe weather the prairies can bring. Cuddling her newborn and following the path of the tornado from afar, Andrea listened as the storm headed for her parents’ house. Her husband, Levi, was also working that day and following the path of the storm.

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Love to Spare

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Julie Haas wanted a different kind of childcare for her children.  “kids need to be respected for the little humans they are,” she said.  When Julie wasn’t able to find a place where love and acceptance were chiefly important, she created one. For more than 20 years, Julie and her husband, Brian, have run a childcare center out of their home.

We’ve become comfortable with chaos,” said Julie. “My hope is that each child who comes into my home is set to become a wonderful, caring person.”

When she heard about the opportunity to serve as foster parents for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Julie jumped at the chance. “I’m known as Momma Haas,” she said. “My door is always open to people looking for support and extra love.”

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