The first time I met the person who taught me about chasing dreams beyond the sports world, I realized she wasn’t normal. Nearly thirty years ago, so forgive me if I don’t recall the exact details, but I will never forget how this woman just didn’t take no for an answer. She headed a tiny non-profit that paired low-income youth at risk of not graduating from high school with adult mentors with the goal of shifting the students onto a track that would give them a better future than their predictable one. She never let her students’ present obstacles obscure their future possibilities. Never. She talked a good game of transformation, but she also walked her talk. She found solutions. A bushwhacker, that’s what she was, clearing paths for students to find the way from a messy present to a more hopeful future, largely under their own steam.

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