MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s called the Family Place. The nonprofit opens its doors during the day to families in transition. On Tuesday morning, we are introducing you to the woman who started it.
Dr. Margaret Lovejoy was born and raised in St. Paul and has virtually spent her entire life living on the same street. But it’s what she’s doing for her St. Paul community that makes her a Minnesotan to Meet.
The Family Place in St. Paul first cut the ribbon on October 22nd, 2001. Fifteen years later, Lovejoy – who opened the doors — is still here.
Lovejoy calls this place for people in transition, her purpose.
“I think my whole career path has been leading to the family place,” she said.
She’s done everything from working with the Red Cross, at churches across the metro, and with seniors. Finally, Lovejoy decided it was time to make a leap. So in 2001 she quit her job at the council of churches and turned to her retirement fund and decided the Family Place needed to be her next move.
“I was unemployed. I was laying the groundwork for what I wanted to do with the Family Place and that was hard,” she said.
The mother a four and grandmother of seven has always enjoyed familiarity, she lives on the same plot of land her parents raised her on. But it’s providing a sense of stability to the people at this center that she now prides herself on.
Lovejoy holds a doctoral degree from the University of St. Thomas in educational leadership and it’s there she developed a 16-week program to help families out of homelessness and into housing.
Now, that 16-week program is put to work every day in St. Paul, through the help of Sharonda Roberts. Lovejoy used to be in the classroom every day, now she passed the torch to others.
She has come to the realization now that she can’t do it all. But here at the day center every day, meals are on the table, children under 5 attend Montessori schools and the adults are either in the classroom or at work.
As the Family Center gets ready to celebrate 15 years, Lovejoy says she hopes the family that starts here ends with a new beginning a better one.
“That’s what makes community works, that we share who we are with each other,” Lovejoy said.
Lovejoy opened the Montessori school earlier this year. She says they see the difference in the stability that the kids have and the order that the kids have.
The Family Place is hosting a fundraiser for a new all-night location that is opening. It will be taking place at The Family Place on Saturday, Oct. 1.