Last Friday, March 27th StepUP connected with a handful of Alumni and we had a surprising guest speaker. Jon Ackerman (Pictured on the Right), a graduate of the StepUP program and Augsburg College. A young entrepreneur was the man of the hour giving a great presentation of his experience, strength, and hope.
Jon is originally from Dallas, Texas and came to Minnesota to attend Hazelden Center for Youth and Families. After he joined the StepUP program to find out a year later that school wasn’t for him and so he left Augsburg. During his time away from school Jon DJ’d, and was very engaged in the Minneapolis music scene by attending shows and planning his own.
Jon reached a point in his career that he wanted an education and re-enrolled at Augsburg College. He didn’t rejoin the StepUP program but became friends with students involved in the StepUP program since Jon was also in recovery. He would put on shows and received help from StepUP students by paying them in Red Bull to help blow up balloons. This time around at Augsburg things went a lot of smoother because he had a purpose and a dream. Jon graduated with a communication major. He spoke of the benefits of his major and how it tied into his career. He benefited the most from a small group communications class since he spends a lot of time meeting and negotiating.
His career continued to grow and today he is a large contributor to the success of the annual Zombie Pub Crawl that takes place in Minneapolis. He is also now working for Red Bull and with a lot of the clubs around the cities. He loves what he does and made a career out of it, which is very inspiring and brought hope to the students attending the “Connecting with Alumni event.”
Overall, the event was a success and a large thank you goes out to Jon and all the other alumni that took time out of their lives to talk with the StepUP students. Business cards were exchanged and connections were made, which after all was the purpose of this event. I for one feel more secure about my future after attending this event and hope to give back as these Augsburg alumni have when I graduate.