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25 years ago, this week's Good Neighbor needed help. Now she's making a difference for others.

Posted at 4:17 PM, Jan 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-23 16:17:16-05

LANSING, Mich. — Just over twenty-five years ago, this week’s Good Neighbor, Lucianna Solis, pulled into a west Lansing car wash and had a breakdown.

She was in high school, pregnant, sleeping in her car, had burnt a lot of bridges, but knew she needed help.

Solis says it was the lowest point in her life.

“I was hitting my head against the steering wheel. I asked myself, 'Hw did I get here? What am I doing? What will I do with my life? I'm not going to be a statistic! How do I get out of this?'”

Solis says she looked over and saw a payphone with a phone book near where her car was parked, remembered the Capital Area United Way and quickly looked up their telephone number to give them a call.

“The lady I spoke with gave me hope. She didn't make me feel like a number or a statistic, and she didn’t make me feel like I would be another Hispanic girl on welfare and never get out of the system. She didn’t give me money. She didn’t give me anything. She just gave me hope. She gave me a kind voice and the resources I needed to get back on track.”

Solis says that phone call changed her life trajectory. The Capital Area United Way helped her find resources, including food, clothing and a place to live.

She says she promised herself that one day she would give back when she could.

Two decades later, Solis is keeping that promise. In addition to being involved with her community, she is a member of the Capital Area United Way Board of Directors. She also chairs the Women United Committee, a program that helps school-aged girls.

Capital Area United Way Executive Director Theresa Kmetz says Solis is the perfect example of a good neighbor.

“Lucy is a good neighbor because she wants to make the world a better place. She looks for opportunities to serve and give back. She understands what it means to have a need. And she's compassionate and very encouraging as she works with others,” Kmetz said.

Part of Solis’s community outreach is seeking out resources that help others.

She often volunteers at Lansing’s LMTS Outreach Community Center, a place for people to get food, clothing, and resources such as school supplies for kids.

“She's reminding us that people don't stay where they came from,"Director Joshua Gillespie said, "so be mindful of how you treat people, because you may run across that same person another day. Or they may be your supervisor. You never know what people are going through. She is a good neighbor because she cares. Kahilti Bran says, ‘You give little when you give your possessions. It's when you give yourself that you truly give’. Lucianna epitomizes what Kahilti says.”

Solis says, no matter how desperate someone is, she knows from first-hand experience there is always help.

“There are resources, and don't give up. It's okay. You know, we all make mistakes. It's okay. But there are people here, and there's a lot of resources here to help you.”

If you need help, Solis says, call the Capital Area United Way at 211.

Lucianna Solis, we want to say thank you for giving back and helping the community; you are this week’s Good Neighbor.

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Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman

9:44 PM, Nov 26, 2018

Good Neighbors Host

Bob Hoffman