Giving Back

Attendees gather to support those living with multiple sclerosis (MS), and raise funds to drive research and life-changing advancements. Since beginning in 2016, the event has raised more than $450,000 for the causes.

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.

Imagine an energy filling a fitness room that is welcoming, inclusive and encouraging. This is the motivational atmosphere that fills Choice, Inc.’s Shape Center, the fitness room located at its Eden Prairie facility.

When Diana and Nathan Stokes moved into the cul-de-sac on Eitel Road in Eden Prairie five years ago, they were welcomed right away to dinners, block parties and outings with the group of four other families that shared their neighborhood.

There are some questions asked of local teachers that they wish students wouldn’t have a need to pose—“Where can I stay tonight?” or “Can I sleep somewhere in school?” Cassie, a 16-year-old local student, asked similar questions as a fourth grader and again for a brief time last summer.

In the years his children were growing up, Eden Prairie resident Mike Thomas was a hands-on dad, involved in everything from youth sports to church activities. As his kids moved toward independence, Thomas found he missed the opportunity to participate and grow his community.

When the Luecke family of four posed for a family portrait with newborn brother Elliot, they made sure to include a green dinosaur right in the middle of the photo.

In 2002, Steve and Becky Chepokas of Chanhassen helped their son Mitch, who was dying of cancer, give away his life savings—about $6,000—to other families in his hospital’s pediatric oncology unit. Mitch made his dad “pinky swear” that he’d continue helping children with cancer.

When communities come together, great things can happen. That’s what eight women from the southwest metro believed in August 2014 when they started planning Power of 100 Southwest, Women Who Care.

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