Meet the Wildflyers: Koliesha


Meet Koliesha - she’s sixteen, loves people, and thinks St. Paul is definitely better than Minneapolis. 

Talking with her about her life and goals, it does not register that this conscientious, vibrant young girl is only sixteen years old. She’s been unstably housed and bouncing around from place to place since she was ten years old. Her father passed away, and her mother was left to deal with a lot that she couldn’t handle. She spent her early teens living with a friend, then her mom, and then her grandmother. 

“The biggest thing I learned growing up in instability was to stay humble,” Koliesha says of the lessons she’s learned being on the streets. “I would also say to make sure to talk to somebody. There are no adults that I’m close to, so I really learned that the hard way.”

Luckily, she’s had the support of her cousin in this journey - Odacia, another Wildflyer employee. She kept Koliesha company as they moved around together in search of a fruitful living situation, and was the one who referred her to Wildflyer’s employment program. Having Odacia and her boyfriend (whom she met on the train, she gleefully informs), has really provided her with a source of comfort and stability.

Another source for that in Koliesha’s life recently has been her job working for Wildflyer Coffee. “This is better than any other job I’ve had,” she says. “It helps in my money so I can feed and take care of myself and I also get to meet a lot of new, different kinds of people, and they’re all so nice.” She believes that this job has really helped improve her communication skills, and she hopes to still be here in six months, working alongside people she has really come to love.

As for her plans for the future beyond six months, Koliesha hopes to go to college to pursue nursing, or eventually go to medical school to become a doctor after she graduates high school. “I don’t really know yet, but I think I want to maybe become an OBGYN,” she says when asked what kind of doctor she would like to be. “I’ve been looking into it, and I’m really starting to like it. I really love babies!”

The one word Koliesha would use to describe her life and her journey till now? “Crazy!”

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