Catherine said she always knew she was college-bound—but she never realized she would be able to chase her dreams.
Catherine, 20, came to Hope Street to escape a physically and emotionally abusive home. She no longer has any contact with her family members. At Hope Street Shelter, Catherine discovered her goals matter. She learned to let go of discouragement and hold onto encouragement.
Even while experiencing homelessness, she has been attending college, working to earn her generals. She expected she would have to go into a “practical field” — but she discovered dreams worth chasing and talent meant to be honed.
This fall, Catherine will start at Minneapolis College of Art and Design to pursue her true passion—art. She can attend art school, which she never thought was financially possible, thanks to the Friends of MCAD Scholarship, which provides $48,000.
“My mouth dropped when I saw that number,” Catherine said, talking about that prized award letter, perhaps the best mail she’s ever received. She will major in painting and drawing and plans to minor in creative writing.
Even with the scholarship, Catherine is working to come up with additional funds. She needed to put down a $300 deposit or she’d lose her spot—and that deposit was covered by Catholic Charities. She’ll also have to come up with money for the required Apple computer, art supplies, housing, books and miscellaneous expenses.
She realizes there is much work to do before she realizes her goals, but the journey is one she is loving since coming to Hope Street. The artist, painter, poet and dancer is focused on positivity, acceptance and self-love.
“I don’t really even know where to begin when I’m talking about what Hope Street has done for me,” Catherine said. “The staff here has become my family; they’re always there when I need them. They comfort me when I’m down and discouraged. It’s amazing how far I’ve come since I got here.”
Christi Neaton is Catherine’s case manager. She encouraged Catherine to follow her true passion, and helped her find opportunities for financial aid.
“Everyone, especially youth, should be encouraged to follow their dreams,” Neaton said. “Hope Street staff are in a wonderful position to help youth focus on their future and to encourage them to follow their dreams.”
And for that, Catherine is incredibly thankful.
“She affirmed me and told me I have to go after it,” Catherine said. “I grew up in an environment where I didn’t really have a voice and I was being bullied at school and had low self esteem. I have learned how strong I am and learned to love all of my flaws. With my art, I just hope to encourage, inspire and motivate people. I want to remind people that they’re not alone and they’re amazing human beings.”