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Not all young people can do it, not even all former recipients of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat the Odds awards, given each year to four survivors of the adversity so many youngsters experience in the face of poverty, parental loss and/or abuse and discouraging behavior by some of the trusted adults in their lives. The four awardees tell stories that make you wonder if anyone could surmount the obstacles thrown in their paths to adulthood and productive citizenship, but they have thus far. We hear those stories straight from the ponies’ mouths, along with some background and history of both the Children’s Defense Fund and the Beat the Odds selection process. The CDF itself concentrates its efforts on giving voice and assistance to children in a variety of settings, especially kids in poverty and minority communities, or with disabilities.

Three of the four high-schoolers joined us TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN in-studio.

  • KRISTAL VANG  – Harding High School, St. Paul
  • JASMINE (JAZZ) CALDWELL – Edison High School, Minneapolis
  • AMANDA KELLEY – Johnson Senior High School, St. Paul
  • JIM KOPPEL – Regional Director, Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota
  • (BRIAN ANDERSON could not be with us) – South St. Paul High School