Sasha Schanz, a senior at Como Park High School, has endured much in her 17 years, but she is shedding her painful memories and mapping out a bright future for herself.
Sasha witnessed her dad dealing drugs and being beaten by fellow dealers and gang members. At age four, her parents divorced. Seeing her mom involved in drugs and prostitution and watching her beaten several times brought Sasha more pain and fear.
Though her younger brothers gave Sasha her only lifeline to love and hope, she had to get away. Sasha was just 11 years old when she called the police and Child Protection to get her brothers away from her mom to a separate living situation. Sasha lived at her grandmother’s, where she felt life was no better. She constantly was told she would end up like her mom – addicted, pregnant, and worthless.
School life wasn’t easy, either. “I could look at other kids and see that they had clothes on their back, they were well-fed and I was the greasy, nasty, hungry little kid. I didn’t think that was fair but I took school seriously even without a home.” Now, Sasha does have a home. She lives with her best friend’s family, who not only generously took her in, but also provide support, hope and opened the window to her dreams.
While in high school, Sasha has volunteered more than 300 hours at Regions Hospital and has held different part-time jobs. Sasha will be the first in her family to attend college and plans on going to Moorhead State University.
She says, “There may be a struggle, but you can keep going. There’s no obstacle that you can’t overcome. You can do it.”