Center for Changing Lives Duluth


Sonja Baertsch

Sonja BaertschSonja Baertsch is campaign chair for “From Here On”— Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s campaign to raise $10.5 million to build the Center for Changing Lives in Duluth.

Her passion for helping young people and families create healthy homes, minds and bodies has been instrumental in connecting her with local and global philanthropic organizations and endeavors. She has served on the Miller-Dwan Foundation board and was very involved with the development of Amberwing—Center for Youth & Family Well-Being. She is also a member of World Vision’s National Leadership Council with specific interests in community building and child protection.

“I value ‘home’ and what that means in the broadest sense—support, security, trust, opportunity and love, says Baertsch. “The Center for Changing Lives is an opportunity for our community to provide these things to young people who find themselves without a home—and that’s one of the best investments we can make.”

Baertsch became more aware of the challenges that some kids face when she became her church’s representative to Renaissance, Lutheran Social Service (LSS) transitional housing in Duluth. She also led a year long Circle of Hope advocacy group for homeless youth.

“The Center for Changing Lives will give young people the chance to overcome barriers that can stand in their way of becoming independent, healthy and productive adults,” says Baertsch. “Like so many organizations, LSS is doing great work in our community and in Minnesota. The dedication and devotion of the LSS staff and volunteers is admirable. It is that commitment that translates into numbers that show 90 percent of youth who are able to be tracked are not homeless after leaving Renaissance—that’s good work!”

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