Rise and Shine: Inspiring story of woman behind 'larger than life' mural

In order to shine bright like the sun we must first rise to the occasion. A concrete wall in downtown Olympia reflects the ambition and wisdom of one woman.

Jeff "Weirdo" Jacobson knows inspiration when he sees it.

"As an artist painting somebody who’s been through homelessness, who’s been through that struggle there’s a part that relates. I’ve been on the streets before, I’ve had financial struggles," said Jeff.

"Knowing Crystal has done what she’s done and has gone through what she’s gone through to end up where she is now is so inspiring."

But to know how Crystal Allenton arrived at the top of this concrete wall, you must first understand what it feels like to dangle from a string.

"I think about this idea of an intersection a crossroads and I wonder where my family would be today if I didn’t make the tough decisions," said Crystal.

Just ten years ago, Crystal and her three children hit a wall: homeless after escaping an abusive relationship.

"This idea of a crossroads this decision we can make between left and right and up and down really impacts us all," said Crystal.

She always dreamed of becoming a teacher and despite her family’s situation, she rose to the challenge and enrolled herself in school.

"She's a fighter and she's somebody that is from this area in Olympia and has come from homelessness and from a really hard situation and has elevated," said Jeff.

A shot in the dark, Crystal remained focused on the light at the end of the tunnel.

"Yes it was a struggle and yes it was difficult. But we also loved each other. My kids are who they are today and I am who I am today because of those struggles," Crystal said. 

Earning her bachelor’s and master’s from WGU Washington, Crystal now works as a teacher living her dream and living up to her name.

Knowing others will see themselves in her story, and maybe those people will see themselves in a new light.

"This is a wall of Crystal. It's about her overcoming her struggle um its for everyone," said Jeff.

And on Wednesday, Crystal’s rise reveals a reason to celebrate.

"It’s a great reminder to keep on pushing and that you can achieve your goals and sometimes stuff happens and life is hard but there still is something beautiful that can come out of it," said her daughter.  

A lesson to all of us, that when you hit a wall and in order to shine, first we must look up. 

"The fact that my face is on a building and there's a plaque that says crystals story...I hope that you see that this is our story," said Crystal.

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