For both Mitch and Kassi, it was the other person’s eyes that initially captured their attention. As they met for the first time at one of Reach’s Empowerment Group sessions in January 2014, the group leader told Kassi that Mitch has “a heart of gold.” That very heart stole her heart, and they confirmed their love for each other this summer at a commitment ceremony on June 15.
The particular Empowerment Group session they each attended five years ago was focused on friendship. Since Kassi had recently moved from Texas, she was looking for new friends. Mitch quickly took the cue and asked her out. They attended a church service together and then went to Baker’s Square. At the end of the date, Kassi refused Mitch’s kiss (she just wasn’t that type of gal!), and was afraid that she had scared him off. But Mitch was not deterred and soon called her again. After three years of dating, he popped the question by hiding a ring in her Christmas stocking. When Kassi immediately started crying, the deal was sealed.
Years ago, a milestone like this might not have been possible for them. Each struggled with challenges their disabilities raised. Mitch says Reach “turned my life around,” with staff members who helped him to “make better decisions.” And Kassi was once so shy she could not even talk on a phone. Her independence and confidence has skyrocketed, and she is now much more outgoing.
An official wedding is not possible, since marriage would negate the economic assistance benefits Kassi receives. Instead, they made the most of their commitment ceremony, which was held at the Chanhassen Legion, with a reception and dance. They followed it up with a honeymoon in Duluth. The pair has been sharing an apartment for the past two years, so not many other changes will take place, but one day, they hope to have more pets to care for than their current two cats. They’ll continue to enjoy movies, walks, and people-watching together.
When asked about advice for other singles looking for love, Mitch admits that he’s found his “angel” and encourages people to attend events, “because you never know what’s going to happen.” Kassi agrees, saying, “Follow your heart.” As for her, she followed the “heart of gold,” and both she and Mitch struck gold.