Creative Problem Solver

December 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

From England to Cameroon to the United States, Alison Guessou has a wide gamut of life experience in her twenty-five years. Alison now lives on the south side of Minneapolis in her recently purchased home through the City of Lakes Commmunity Land Trust’s Homebuyer Initiated Program.

Alison spent her first eight years of life in England, but her family was from Cameroon and still spent a lot time there, so they decided to move back. After finishing primary and post-secondary school in Cameroon, Alison was given the option to attend high school in the U.S. or continue on with her studies in Cameroon. Having always known she wanted to attend college in the U.S., she thought it would be better to get the cultural experience first, before attending college.

She moved in with her mother’s younger sister in Minneapolis. “It was quite an adjustment. It doesn’t look like the television and movies,” said Alison. In addition, her parents and two sisters were still in Cameroon. Her dreams for the future gave her the courage to leave everything and everyone she knew to pursue an education and a life in the U.S. Alison was also the first international student ever at her high school. Though the school tried hard to assist in her transition, it was challenging to adapt to a new environment and lifestyle, while also coping with missing her family in Cameroon.

Today both of Alison’s sisters have moved to the U.S., one in Minnesota and one in New York. She recently had the opportunity to visit her parents in Cameroon this past Christmas – her first time back in eight years. She laughs and says “now my grandma says I need to come back all the time.” Alison said this is hardly an option with the price of flights so high. Though she misses her family dearly, Alison is committed to a life in the U.S. as it allows her the freedom to pursue and be successful in her career. The same opportunities, she said, would not be available to a young woman of her age in Cameroon. 

After completing high school, Alison attended the College of Saint Benedict majoring in Business Administration. Once finished, she took a position with an insurance brokerage firm, where she continues to work today. However, she is still searching for her perfect career and is now attending St. Mary’s University to get a graduate degree in Project Management. She hopes to complete her education in the upcoming year and has dreams of working for NBC Universal in New York City. Alison said she is excited by the entertainment industry and likes “any chance to be creative and use problem-solving skills.”

For now though, Alison is enjoying her life and home in Minneapolis. After graduating college, Alison began looking at apartments and realized she would much rather invest in a home and build equity. She heard about the CLCLT at a Homestretch class and said “everything sounded great.” This would provide her the opportunity to own a home that met her needs in a price range that was affordable to her. She was able to find just that after a bit of searching and is now all moved into her South Minneapolis home. Alison recently turned twenty-five and celebrated with a birthday party of friends in her home.

Alison has high hopes for her future, she is working hard to meet her goals and is moving forward with motivation. With a full time job and nights filled with graduate school, she still finds time to volunteer at the Tubman Center hosting job and education classes. “It’s nice when you feel like you’ve helped somebody,” says Alison.

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