December 2018 AveNews

Rachel Blair Newsletter, Youth Stories

What Being A Leader Means To Messiah
“I’m leaving work, about to get on the bus to go home, and I hear gun shots and people screaming. So I go up the street and I know the thirteen year old who got shot,” Messiah* said.¬†“It’s been a life struggle (violence) but I stay strong. I have 10 little siblings to look after. I have to be a leader for them.”
Messiah’s been living at Avenues for seven months. He grew up living in the Brooklyn Park area, and eventually moved to Minneapolis with his 12-person family. He’s twenty-years-old and about to open his own Jackson Hewitt branch in North Minneapolis.
“My mom worked at H&R Block. I was eighteen and I was like, Mom, I don’t want to do taxes. I don’t want to sit in an office. Sitting in an office would be the worse thing I could ever do,” Messiah explained. “It’s not like that anymore.”

“I saw the secrets of doing taxes and all the details like financials and five year planning. I find it exciting. I love it – it’s like a story that you can make the ending you want happen,” Messiah said.
Messiah’s in the process of opening his store. He’s hiring employees to help him with the upcoming tax season and working twelve hour days. It’s a labor for love though. He dreams of buying his mom a house in a neighborhood that’s safer, of being a millionaire by twenty-five, and making the best life for his little siblings.
“My legacy is about my family. I don’t live for myself – I live for my family. I will not let them go through what I’ve gone through.¬†Christmas is coming and they don’t know what they’re about to get. Christmas this year is going to be great for them,” Messiah said, talking about the holiday gifts he’s gotten for his siblings.