I spend a lot of time on what I affectionately call “the dark underbelly of Duluth.” That is, around people in really rough circumstances with tough, long odds against them. As soon as I post this, I am headed up to the Arrowhead Juvenile Center, to spend some time with young dads up there, for example. But one thing that circumstances can’t extinguish is hope. It will live on even against the greatest odds, I’ve seen it happen over and over again and I’m convinced that it’s true.
One of the most important things anyone can do is earn a high school degree, this certificate is one of the big markers between poverty and prosperity, between security and desperation, and between fractured families and strong ones, it’s not a magic bullet, but it is a “one way ticket to the future,” as I like to tell kids if they happen to be listening.
And today is one of those days we get to revel in the fruit of that hope for a little while. I’ll be down at the lifehouse youth center standing in admiration of the “kids on the street” who have earned their high school diplomas this year. I am glad that our boy, Mayor Ness, David Ross from the Chamber of Commerce and Carl Crawford from Lake Superior College will also be on hand to honor them. But I’d love it if some of you would sneak out of the office a little early and come down and stand with us. These kids don’t have a lot of extended family to help them celebrate, no one is throwing them a big grad party out in the back yard this weekend, and some of them might not have anyone there to shake their hands and pat them on the back after they walk across the stage. But you could be there.
It starts at 3:30 pm today. We want to fill up the parking lot between Coney Island and the Lifeline Building at 1st ave W and 1st street. It’s about 70 degrees outside the sun is brilliant in the blue sky, wouldn’t you really rather be outside helping our kids celebrate their amazing accomplishment? If you work downtown and play your cards right maybe your boss will even let you stay on the clock. For more information or to donate at the lifehouse website if you can’t make it yourself and if that didn’t work just pop this into the browser: http://www.lifehouseduluth.org/home.html
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