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From struggle to strength

July 9, 2024 | By Emilie Jacques

Getting Ahead graduate shares realities of the working poor

Danielle Thoune 1

In the latest episode of the Copper Shores Podcast, listen in as Danielle Thoune, a recent graduate of Getting Ahead, a Bridges Out of Poverty class, tells her life story and how she found herself face-to-face with the realities of poverty. 

As a child, Thoune grew up in a classic nuclear family, financially comfortable but not wealthy. Despite seemingly cushy beginnings, it wouldn’t last. As Thoune was getting ready to graduate high school, her parents got a divorce, sending her sense of stability into a tailspin.

After high school Thoune attended nursing school, eventually  landing a comfortable job at a long-term care facility. She was married with a couple stepchildren, and she was well into the third trimester of pregnancy. Everything seemed perfect. Then, with a new baby only weeks away, her life was uprooted once again, getting out of a bad marriage and welcoming her child into the world alone. 

She moved to the Copper Country to be closer to her mom. Thoune secured housing for her and her newborn just weeks before the onset of pandemic lockdowns.

Though Thoune continued to work as a nurse, child care costs continued to be a financial burden. When the expenses became too much, Thoune took a job teaching so she could be free to care for her child after school. Though teaching was a pay cut from nursing, she ultimately had to because it would save the expenses of child care.

Then she found Copper Shores Bridges. 

Danielle Thoune 2Thoune  joined the third cohort of Getting Ahead, a class that teaches people to be more stable and achieve their personal life goals. Though she originally thought the class wasn’t for her – laughter, learning, and community kept her coming back.

“I think asking for help is the biggest first step,” said Thoune. 

Each week as Getting Ahead gathered, Thoune saw that her situation wasn’t so different from those around her. Community members came in each week, bringing with them resources and programming to help others. 

“We all had different needs,” said Thoune. “For me, one of my biggest needs was financial security and understanding what is out there.”

With found family, self empowerment and raw determination backing her, Thoune purchased a home in April of 2024. She celebrated the feat with her classmates and during their graduation ceremony in May.

She was the one they all looked to to give a speech. The same speech that this podcast begins with.

Listen to more Copper Shores podcasts at and learn more about our Bridges program, including how you can sign up to be part of it or how you can help make it happen at

Special thanks to Danielle Thoune for sharing her story with us.Danielle Thoune 3

Emilie Jacques

Emilie Jacques

"I graduated from Michigan Tech with a B.S. in Psychology, a minor in Communication Studies, and a minor in Media Production. I love the outdoors and DnD." You can reach Emilie at