In May 2021, a survivor-led community organization providing a one-stop shop for advocacy, resources, and safe-transitional housing was born. Started in Minnesota and expanded to Columbus, Ohio, Survivors Link Up (SLU) launched and created a unique formula to foster organic connections with young adults ages 18-24 that have aged out of the foster care system, have nowhere to turn, and are in need of a supportive community.
The organization was founded by Yanelin M Valdez, an Afro-Cuban American survivor of the foster care system, that has been a victim of human trafficking, homelessness, and many other hardships. Yanelin’s parents came to Miami from Cuba on the famous Mariel Boatlift in 1980, then eventually moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota where Yanelin was born and still lives today. She lost parents at a young age, was placed in foster care with her brothers from age 2, till she aged out at age 22. That’s where the system that was there to help them, scarred her, and changed Yanelin’s life forever. Sexual, physical, mental abuse recurred many times.
Yanelin was born to be an entrepreneur, starting her 1st business in 2015. In 2016, she founded a women’s group named, “Survivors Link Up” to help other survivors. Her goal was to grow the group into a company, but plans changed when COVID began. Instead opened MNCRC, a Minnesota resources company that helped local communities in need during COVID. Once things got better with the pandemic, MNCRC became Survivors Link Up, and her dream company was born.
Today, Yanelin uses the PTSD she suffers from her childhood trauma, is a motivator to help others. She encourages their members to be creative in their approach to create everlasting change within their own lives through: mental stability, education, and accountably. They are very clear that their recognized community leaders at the forefront are survivors. “I have passion for developing systems that will elevate young adults’ voices to walk and talk their truth, learn to create change, and to show it in their actions. Contact Survivors Link Up if you’re ready to join the family.”
Founder & CEO
Survivors Link Up