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Someone You Should Know: Sioux Falls man helping kids hurdle obstacles through non-profit

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:30 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Terry Liggins has many goals, but his main one is to keep hope alive.

“Really what happens when it comes to people who end up committing crime or using drugs, is they end up in this place of hopelessness,” Liggins said. “And if we can give people true, genuine inspiration, if we can model an environment where people sincerely care, people won’t end up hopeless.”

Liggins grew up in Omaha in a single-parent home of six kids, eventually becoming a first-generation college student.

“I don’t know what it is to grow up and have brand new things. Everything was hand-me-down and thrift, but I also knew that I was more than that,” Liggins said.

Liggins just looks at these things as barriers to hurdle, and he did. He earned a scholarship to the University of South Dakota, graduating with two degrees in criminal justice and leadership studies. Then, he earned his Master’s degree in public administration.

One big hurdle got in his way after that though. He was sentenced to federal prison for more than two years in an IRS fraud case. Liggins was released in 2016.

“I am what is called a credible messenger, a person who has been through what they’re going through. So often we have people trying to solve solutions to problems they’ve never faced and that’s the issue,” Liggins said.

That’s why he came up with the idea for the Hurdle Life Coach Foundation, most recently starting the CHANGE program. It stands for Challenging Historic Accepted Notions for Greater Expectations. His program assistant, Kyriel Clark, helps him plan the programs.

“Wants to build up not only the community but every single human along the way. So it’s a joy to be able to be part of his program and this work,” Clark said.

She got involved after George Floyd was killed by Officer Derek Chauvin last year.

“I leaned right in, and I was like I want to be part of the solution. I want to help,” she said.

She’s helping with this first group of 15 high school students in the CHANGE program. They meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for two hours in the afternoon at Tre Ministries. Liggins has also been creating what he calls immersion experiences. The most recent one was at LifeLight Youth Center.

“Get people who are born into adverse experiences, special demographics to really believe that they can accomplish bigger than what society will say they’re destined to become,” Liggins said.

It’s a 10 week program for the kids, and this is the first one Liggins is facilitating. Eventually, he wants to expand the program to mentor adults and younger kids. He said in order to do that, he needs more financial resources, volunteer support, and administrative support. People can connect with him on his Facebook page.

If there is someone you think we should know, please email a nomination to news@dakotanewsnow.com.

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