September 11, 2019

Community Voices: Meet Robyn


Robyn’s sophomore year of high school was really hard. At a school of nearly 1,000 students, her social anxiety was always present and made it difficult to pay attention in class and focus on learning.

As her grades began to suffer, she sat down with her parents and school counselors to figure out what to do next. “I thought to myself, I can continue to not go to school. I could completely fail all my classes and lose my GPA,” said Robyn. “Or I can find a new school and make-up my credits.”

“My counselors suggested I go to Loring Nicollet Alternative School (LNAS). I didn’t know anything about the school just that it’s small, but that was good for me.”

LNAS is one of PPL’s alternative high schools, a Minneapolis Public School-accredited school that helps develop youth for post-secondary opportunities like college or career paths that pay a livable wage.

Robyn shadowed current students for part of the school year, and knew right away she wanted to enroll. “The community really welcomes you when you join. They want me to be here and they really want to make sure that I succeed in life,” Robyn said. “It’s just nice to go to a school where teachers care that much about your life.”

JAG class was one of Robyn’s favorites. She describes it as a life-skills class where students learn financials skills like buying a car or renting an apartment, career skills like writing a resume and applying to jobs, and how to get into college. This past year, Robyn took her learnings from JAG class and partnered with a teacher to start a candle business, Lizard Lights, named after LNAS’ mascot.

After two years of hard work and perseverance, Robyn graduated this spring from LNAS. “Graduation was liberating because of how much work I put in. I really worked my butt off to make sure that I graduated. I did not want to disappoint my parents and I didn't want to disappoint myself mostly. It was a really great feeling to be able to walk across the stage.”

What’s next for Robyn? First is Cosmetology School and then Nursing School. “I am probably going to go into nails or hair. My grandma is a hairstylist, that’s where I get my passion from. It’s in my family.” 

Looking back on her time at LNAS, Robyn feels proud. “I am proud of myself because I accomplished what no one else in my family thought I would accomplish. LNAS really helped me get through high school. I feel like I probably wouldn’t have graduated if I hadn’t come here."


Robyn's story of hard work and perseverance is one example featured in PPL's 2018 Annual Report. This year's report looks into the meaning behind our name; the mission it established nearly 50 years ago and the work it continues to drive today, like the two alternative high schools Robyn just graduated from. 

Nearly 13,000 people received transformative housing and career training services in 2018. In our Annual Report, you'll see the many ways your support, gifts, and time helped create more vibrant and equitable communities. Your belief in this work is helping create lives free from homelessness and unemployment, where families are stabilized, kids are reading better, folks are getting decent jobs, and students are graduating high school. 

Thank you!