Beating the odds: Rising above it all


Not all young people can do it, not even former recipients of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat the Odds awards, given each year to four true survivors of the adversity so many youngsters experience in the face of poverty, parental loss and/or abuse and discouraging behavior by some of the trusted adults in their lives. [Podcast below.]

Last Friday, CDF-Minnesota held its 18th annual Beat the Odds celebration in Minneapolis. The four awardees tell stories that make you wonder if anyone could surmount the obstacles thrown in their paths to adulthood and productive citizenship, but they have, at least so far, with no particular reason to fail now.

We’ll hear those stories straight from the ponies’ mouths this week, along with some of the background and history of both the Children’s Defense Fund and the Beat the Odds selection process itself. The CDF itself concentrates its efforts on giving voice and assistance to children in a variety of settings, especially kids in poverty and minority communities, or with disabilities. All four high-schoolers join us TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN in the studio Wednesday morning.

KRISTAL VANG – Harding High School, St. Paul
JASMINE (JAZZ) CALDWELL – Edison High School, Minneapolis
AMANDA KELLEY – Johnson Senior High School, St. Paul
BRIAN ANDERSON – South St. Paul High School
JIM KOPPEL – Regional Director, Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota