The Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans (TOYM) program is Minnesota’s only statewide recognition program for young leaders who have made major contributions to our state through volunteer service, community involvement, singular expertise, innovative thought or entrepreneurship.
TOYM honorees reflect the vast diversity of young people making a difference in the community through business, nonprofit and community organizations, education and government service.
MinnPost and MinnPost’s YPN are proud to be a 2011 TOYM partner, sharing the stories of each of this year’s exceptional honorees.
Today’s featured Outstanding Young Minnesotan is Savannah Leyde of South St. Paul: author, illustrator, photographer, daycare manager and infant-loss support provider.
Leyde’s love and passion for children extends to all aspects of her life, from her day job to her freelance work to her volunteer service.
A Professional Licensed Child Care Provider with a background in early childhood development, Leyde has owned and operated Little People’s Daycare since 2002.
Leyde is committed to providing a nurturing, educational, safe and fun environment for every child enrolled in her program; in 2010, Little People’s Daycare was named Dakota County’s Provider of the Year.
In addition to her career as a daycare provider, Leyde is the founder and photographer of Taylored to You, a nonprofit established in 2009 in memory of her son Taylor, who was stillborn due to a pregnancy complication.
The mission of Taylored to You is to assist grieving families dealing with the sorrow of infant and pregnancy loss.
With restorative photographic sessions in the form of maternity portraits or birth announcement templates, Taylored to You provides comfort and healing to parents during a time of devastation, fear and anxiety.
Leyde is also the author and illustrator of children’s book “My Brother … He’s an Angel,” the story of how her eldest child dealt with Taylor’s death.
Leyde hopes the book serves as a useful tool for establishing open communication in families coping with the loss of a child.
In an effort to promote her book — whose proceeds help fund Taylored to You — Leyde recently became involved in pageantry.
In 2010 she was fourth runner-up to Mrs. Minnesota-America and in 2012 she was chosen to be Mrs. Dakota County International; she will go on to compete in the 2012 Mrs. Minnesota International Pageant.
In her ongoing effort to assist families, Leyde volunteers with Faith’s Lodge — a retreat for parents and families facing the serious illness or death of a child, helps organize the annual Walk to Remember hosted by Friends of the Angel and serves on the board of directors of the Dakota County Family Child Care Association.
Leyde has turned her personal experience with loss and grief into positive action and community outreach, helping those in need to cope with bereavement and find hope for the future.
To learn more about Leyde and her vision for the future of Minnesota, watch her TOYM video:
Join other notable young professionals in honoring our state’s exceptional emerging leaders!
Stay tuned during the next week as we continue to feature profiles of each of the 2011 TOYM honorees. Up next: Kari Mitchell, executive director of Charity Events of Minnesota, which hosts the annual two-day Breast Cancer Ride and the AttaBoy Ride to benefit cancer research.