Brian Anderson, a senior at South St. Paul High School faced abuse and violence even when in the womb. His father hit his mom’s pregnant stomach because he didn’t want more children. As a child, Brian experienced more abuse, but somehow, his mother’s support and love helped Brian blossom into a wonderful young man with a love of learning and helping others. Brian excelled in school, volunteered, and participated in activities such as Boy Scouts, Upward Bound, and swim team, to name just a few.
However, when Brian was sixteen, his home life fell apart. Brian’s Beat the Odds nominator, Colleen McDonald, of the Community University Health Care Center (CUHCC), where Brian volunteered and his mom worked as an interpreter, explained that Brian was the target of accusations, which led to a whole series of events where the system did not believe Brian.
Brian was interrogated by police and forced to live away from his family. The staff at CUHCC rallied around Brian to help him and his mother through this time. They provided skilled social workers, domestic abuse staff, and even legal experts to help Brian navigate his way through the accusations and finally become cleared, more than a year later. Colleen observed, “Brian demonstrated grace and a resilience that one rarely sees in one so young.”
Now Brian’s future goals help him to forget the wrongs of the past. He lives with his mom and little sister, continues to volunteer and participate in many extra-curricular activities, and looks forward to attending the University of Minnesota, where he plans on studying dentistry and languages (he speaks fluent English, Spanish, and French, is learning Portuguese and wants to learn Chinese). Brian reflects, “I have learned that I must never give up. I have learned skills that will help me in the future to pursue my career and achieve my goals."