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Success Stories

Kiera and Linda's Story

Linda and Kiera are mother and adult daughter, living together and raising Kiera’s two children Temple (age 9) and Keylan (7) and Linda’s other grandson Darren (4). Between Linda getting let go from her 14-year service associate position, losing their house to foreclosure, and filing for bankruptcy, Linda and Kiera quickly found themselves out of money, homeless, and with no place to go.

They decided to come see Mary Jo at Sharing & Caring Hands and ask if she would be willing to shelter them. Linda says, “Mary Jo opened her arms and heart to us. She took us in, gave us a comfortable room, and helped us with the personal items we needed. And on top of all of that, she gave Temple, Keylan, and Darren each a stuffed animal to make them feel more at ease—that really touched my heart.”

And then tragedy struck. While swimming at a local beach, Keylan nearly drowned after being underwater for 10 minutes. Keylan was rushed to Children’s Hospital for treatment but remained unconscious and on a breathing ventilator for the next several days. Keylan eventually came to, but still has a long recovery road ahead. Keylan is still at the hospital, on a feeding tube, and receiving daily therapy because he needs to relearn how to talk, move, and walk.
 
Kiera, Keylan’s mother, works almost 40 hours per week during the day and then spends every overnight sleeping at the hospital with Keylan. Linda watches over Temple and Darren, making sure Temple’s homework is done and going with Darren on his daycare field trip outings.
 
Through all of this, Linda and Kiera choose to remain positive and everyday give thanks that Keylan is alive and recovering. Linda says, “I do not think we would be keeping it together if we did not have the overwhelming support of Mary Jo and Mary’s Place in our lives. I thank God everyday that we are in a safe environment, do not currently have to worry about bills/food/rent, and that Temple and Darren have a safe environment to make friends and play. Just the other week, Keylan was able to say his first word to my daughter… “Mom”… And we’re hoping, God-willing, that he can come back home to us in a short while.”

**While at Mary’s Place, Kiera became a manager at Guaranty Bank before they moved into their new home. Their hard work and strong family bond helped them through one of the toughest time of their lives.**

Sabria's Story

Sabria is a single mother of four children: Fatumo (age 12), Haney (10), Hawa (8), and Nuur (6). Haney and Nuur were born blind, with a serious skin disease where sunlight exposure is extremely dangerous and harmful. In order to best protect these two, Sabria, Fatumo, and Hawa have become used to living in the dark, with the blinds shut and light bulbs turned off.

When Sabria moved her family to Minnesota for better medical resources, she was taking a risk - she had nothing - no extra money and no place to go. She found herself at the doorstep of Sharing & Caring Hands and heard she could try asking Mary Jo for help. She says, “I will always remember the day I met Mary Jo. She did not know me or my children, but she listened to my story and warmly welcomed my family. Without hesitation, she immediately gave us what we desperately needed most - a roof over our heads and a place to call home.”

Sabria and her family spent four months at Mary’s Place, learning their way around this new city, getting Haney and Nuur the medical resources they needed, getting Fatumo and Hawa into school and a tutoring program, and setting up a savings account where Sabria could save her money.

Sabria and her family have now moved to a nice and quiet apartment. It is beautifully decorated and furnished and, while dark and dimly lit, it effortlessly radiates all the cozy and warm feelings that every loving home should have. All four children affectionately play together by dancing to music and building Legos. Sabria has been working with the school district to set up a classroom at the local school that has been specially redesigned to accommodate everything that Haney and Nuur will need to comfortably and effectively function. Haney and Nuur are eager and excited to go to school like everyone else, but until then private tutors visit their apartment and school them that way.

Sabria says she chooses to live life by counting her blessings and remaining thankful to those that have helped her along the way. Sabria says, “I (and my children) will forever keep Mary Jo and Mary’s Place in our hearts. We truly love her like family.”

  • “Do something beautiful for God and make a difference in the lives of others.”
  • "Love and compassion are the secret to world peace."
  • "What is success? To love one another as God has loved us."
  • "Kindness is a conversion. Never forget that."
  • "Great leaders are great servants. Go serve God, serve family, serve your community."
  • "You will never fulfill the Scriptures (you read) until you are willing to live them."
  • "Your smile and an outstretched hand is the beginning of a miracle in the unspoken need of another's heart."
  • "Look after your feet, they must carry you a long way in this world and then all the way to the kingdom of God."
  • "Hold fast, go forward... fear nothing."
  • "Evil flourishes when good people don't speak."
  • "When someone is drowning, you don't throw them a life preserver, you get into the water with them."
  • "In the evening of our lives, each one of us will be judged on one little thing... love, love, love... until it hurts."
  • "We are responsible for the effort, not the outcome."
  • "Joy is the net of love in which we catch souls."
  • "Don't pray too long, you'll get it wrong; we must go from prayer to action."
  • "We are called to be channels of God's peace, instruments of His love."

Order Your Copy of Mary Jo’s Book, Great Love, Today!

News

Mary Jo In the News
A special TV report from award-winning reporter Boyd Huppert this Easter Sunday on KARE 11 at 10 p.m. will tell Mary Jo’s story and what’s in store for the next 30 years… Read More 

PAX Christi 4-1-14
The Mary Jo Copeland biography, GREAT LOVE by Michelle Peterson Hinck, reads like a true rags-to-riches story. Read More 

Cyrus Webb Interview 01-30-14
Watch the interview conducted by Cyrus Webb. Read More Pioneer Press 9-05-13 Caryn Sullivan: From Mary Jo Copeland’s Great Difficulties, Great Love. Read More