Advocating for and with Minnesota Youth
Something remarkable is happening in Minnesota. It’s a groundswell of people who care about youth and who are frustrated by the inequities and gaps, the silos and blinders. And it is young people themselves taking their rightful place at the table with adults, working together to create an effective learning system for all Minnesota youth.
Youthprise is working to ensure that Minnesota invests in all our youth, especially young people who are traditionally underserved, so they have access to affordable, quality opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. Our state’s approach to youth development needs to reflect what we now know about the architecture of the maturing brain, and the influence that communities can have in directing a young person at the time that they are becoming more and more independent.
Addressing the Opportunity Gap
Research shows that our young people need access to opportunities for learning beyond the classroom that help them think before they act, build self-esteem, practice teamwork and learn to put their own needs and desires in a larger perspective. Afterschool, summer school and expanded learning opportunities are critical to Minnesota youth and families, yet the need for programs is far from being met. Over half of Minnesota parents struggle to find high-quality activities for their children to do when they are not in school, and the issue becomes significantly worse for low-income and racially diverse families. This creates a huge disparity—an opportunity gap—in the healthy development and education of our state’s young people.
- 32% (294,354) of K-12 youth in Minnesota are responsible for taking care of themselves after school.
- Of all Minnesota children not currently enrolled in opportunities for learning beyond the classroom, 33% (263,443) would be likely to participate IF an afterschool program were available in their community.
- 12% (113,003) of Minnesota’s K-12 children participate in opportunities for learning beyond the classroom, including 9,307 kids in programs supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, the only federal program dedicated to afterschool.
Working together, youth and adults can raise awareness about the benefits of engaging in quality opportunities for learning beyond the classroom and advance public policies that support access to those opportunities.
Minnesota’s Statewide Afterschool Alliance
Minnesota is one of 39 states funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to create partnerships that actively engage key decisionmakers in support of school-based/school-linked afterschool programs, particularly in underserved communities. Youth Community Connections, Minnesota’s Statewide Afterschool Alliance, is now a part of Youthprise.
As the new home of Minnesota’s Statewide Afterschool Alliance, Youthprise will facilitate connections among a broad range of state, regional and local partners, including program providers, youth, parents, public agencies, advocates, funders, researchers and evaluators, training providers, policymakers, businesses and community leaders. We will convene partners across the field to develop and advocate for public policies and practices that build a comprehensive and coordinated statewide system for learning beyond the classroom.
For more information
Visit our Advocacy Tools page for tips on how you can be an advocate or contact Karen Kingsley, Youthprise Director of Public Policy and Communications at 612-564-4858 x5 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.