120 Years, 120 Stories: Lia and Lucky’s Story
Youth inspired to give back to their community
Last May, a tornado touched down in North Minneapolis. People and families living in these neighborhoods continue to be profoundly affected. Lia and Lucky are siblings who attend Hmong International Academy and are a part of the YWCA Beacon Learning Center there. This past summer, Lia and Lucky were inspired to act as leaders in their own families, school and community.
Lucky, age 13:
When the tornado hit, it was a disaster in North Minneapolis. I went to check out Webber Park, I couldn’t believe what had happened. I was shocked at how many trees and were torn down and ripped out of the ground and all the damage from the tornado. Webber Park is the first park that I played at when I moved to Minneapolis, and seeing it destroyed made me very depressed and sad. The park that I played at and felt safe at suddenly became a danger zone and unsafe for everyone in the neighborhood to even go near. It made me very sad and the memories I have of playing there suddenly started playing in my head, like the park had passed away and will never be the same. My friends and I no longer had a place to play and hang out. When I heard from Mr. Adam and the YWCA that I could come volunteer for the summer I said yes, because I wanted to help be there for the students that were affected by the tornado. The tornado was a scary, sad experience and it will be something that none of us will forget.
Lia, age 14:
I remember the day of the tornado very clearly. The sky was so dark and the electricity went out for four hours and all we heard were the sirens that were very loud. After the power came back on, my family and I were shocked about what had happened in North Minneapolis. My family started worrying about our cousins who live where the tornado hit and I worried about my friends who lived by our school. I was very scared because there was no information yet on how much damage was done by the tornado, and if people were hurt or okay. My family and I live by Webber Park where my little brothers and I would walk to play. We went there after we heard about the tornado passing by. We realized how strong, powerful and dangerous a tornado is. There were so many trees laying everywhere — in the streets, in the little pond, in the parking lot. Things were broken, and it was a huge mess. We stood around with everyone from the neighborhood just staring at our park and feeling so sad because it didn’t even look like a park anymore. My heart sinks every time I think about what had happened, because this park was where my family and friends played, and where I have a lot of memories and priceless moments.
I was very happy to volunteer with the YWCA for the summer. Our mom dropped us off every day and Mr. Adam took us home after program. I am very happy that everyone at the YWCA was there for us and made us feel happy.