Giving Back

The TreeHouse event at Maureen and Greg Grazzini’s Chaska home featured a gathering to support local teens. TreeHouse is a youth outreach organization, with multiple locations throughout the U.S.

A seed was planted several years ago when the Waconia Lions Club organized a trip to Washington, D.C., in 2007 for 119 World War II veterans. “The experience was fantastic, phenomenal,” says Joe Gifford, public relations chair and former president of the Waconia Lions Club.

Minnesotans are a fit and hearty bunch. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night hold many from the swift competition of racing in some of the best local walk/run races.

When most kids are bored, they watch TV or read a book. For Mary Margaret Mellen, a free summer afternoon was the perfect time to start her own charity. “I was like, ‘You know what? I am bored today. I really want to do something for others. I’m starting a cake business,’ ” she recalls thinking.

The good, old peanut butter and jelly sandwich—the workhorse of the lunch table. The team at Which Wich sandwich shop in Eden Prairie is taking the mealtime standard and spreading goodwill and generosity, one PB&J at a time.

What began as a Chanhassen family’s commitment to their child has grown into a national organization. It comes as no surprise to the Chepokases. “I always believed in my heart of hearts it would [grow],” Becky Chepokas says.

Sara Trosen has an eye for creating beautiful spaces. As the owner of Madison House Interiors in Eden Prairie, she’s spent the last 16 years in the interior design industry and the previous two years running her own firm.

Chris and Amanda Duffy knew something was wrong long before hearing the horrible news from the doctor. The couple had eagerly awaited the birth of their second child, a girl named Reese, who had been scheduled to be delivered by caesarean section the following day.

From Yoda ears to bunny ears and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle masks to Vikings horns, Erica Carlson-Burval’s crocheted creations have expanded the definition of a winter hat. The Eden Prairie mother of two gets inspiration from her 8-year-old daughter, Audia, and 5-year-old son, Callen.

When Miranda and one of her sisters, Mariah, arrived at their foster family’s door, their load was heavy, despite carrying only the clothes on their backs. A little over a month before entering foster care, Miranda, then 12, went out for a day of fishing.

Human trafficking—two words that most suburbanites would rather kick back to an urban curb. After all, it’s a big city problem, right? Tragically, there’s a market for it in cities large and small. Human trafficking occurs all over the world, the United States, Minnesota and in this community.

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