Lakyn Bremer really doesn’t enjoy the spotlight. She puts her head down and just does what she can. But her path to business owner, nonprofit founder, and a Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC) board member, among other titles, makes it hard to ignore her story.
“People need to see how far you’ve come,” Kristie Rolling, Lakyn’s life coach, told her recently. “So, they can see there is hope.”
As a teenager with parents going through a challenging divorce, Lakyn struggled. She started acting out, and her school grades plummeted. Eventually, she latched onto drugs.
It was then that MVAC Family Resource Coordinator Tammie Hested became involved. Lakyn needed structure, a foundation to build upon, and people who believed in her despite the mistakes she made.
“At that point in my life, I might not have moved forward,” Lakyn said. “God put her right where I needed her the most.”
Hested brought Lakyn into the Community Action world through a youth workforce program and eventually helped the mother of two earn her general education diploma.
“It gave me so much,” Lakyn said of Community Action. “It gave me the guidance to be in the workforce. I had the ability, but Community Action helped me learn how to get there. The guiding start came from Community Action.”
It wasn’t always easy. There were pitfalls, but Lakyn continued to meet each challenge put in front of her. She attended college, but dropped out as it wasn’t for her. The thought of sitting at a desk doing paperwork wasn’t a future Lakyn wanted.
She needed to find her niche and did so in an unlikely field – cosmetology – according the self-described tomboy, who enjoys working on cars and doesn’t always dress up or wear makeup.
“There was more action,” she said. “It’s more hands on. I can just listen versus a lot more paperwork. I can make people feel better about themselves.”
Rolling was one of Lakyn’s first clients. The pair laugh now when reminiscing about those early days of Lakyn’s cosmetology endeavors. Rolling watched and cheered as Lakyn went from a cosmetology student to hair salon owner of Hair Etc. in Fairmont.
“It’s wonderful to see,” Rolling said of Lakyn’s personal and professional achievements. “It’s inspiring. I want that for me. It’s wonderful to see her get her heart’s desire.”
While Lakyn’s family is her main priority, she still finds time to help others in various ways. She started Lakyn’s Care, a nonprofit that provides wigs to cancer patients, and she helps other area nonprofits and residents in need
“She is amazing,” said Hested, who nominated Lakyn for the National Community Action Partnership’s Sargent Shiver Personal Achievement Award. Lakyn was flown to New York City where she was presented with the award in 2022.
“It’s hard for me to accept awards,” Lakyn said. “I like to be behind the scenes.”
Despite quietly going about her business, Lakyn’s actions get noticed. Because of her commitment to the community, Lakyn was asked to join MVAC’s board last year.
It was an opportunity she couldn’t turn down.
“I love the MVAC team,” she said. “I love the board.”
There has been a steep learning curve as a board member, but Lakyn is up for the challenge. Being on the board is only one example of how far she has come since her first encounter with Community Action.
“Never did I think I’d be on the other side of the table,” she said.
Lakyn wants others to realize what she has accomplished doesn’t happen overnight.
“Just because this is where I’m at today doesn’t mean I started here,” she said.
She continued, “I just want everybody to know, to just not give up. That sometimes people can be hard on you, but they’re really on your team.”