YMCA Provides Safe Spaces Outside of School

  • Only one in three lower income youth participate in out-of-school time or expanded learning programs in St. Paul and Minneapolis, according to Youthprise.
  • Youthprise also reports that approximately 33 percent – more than 250,000 – of all Minnesota children not currently enrolled in out-of-school opportunities would be likely to participate if a program were available in their community.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Education, Minnesota ranks among the bottom five of all 50 states for graduation rates among non-white students.

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, creates safe, engaging spaces for young people to learn and grow outside of school.

Studies show that more than 250,000 kids in Minnesota would participate in out-of-school activities if a program were available in their community. The Y strives to meet this need by developing enrichment programs that meet young people in their schools or in their homes. 

“The YMCA is committed to expanding outside its four walls to reach young people where they are,” said Glen Gunderson, president and CEO of the Y. “Access is a key factor to keeping our youth safe and engaged outside of school, and the Y removes barriers so that all in our community can participate.”

Gunderson added that the Y team designs programs that are flexible and can meet the needs of specific communities. YMCA out-of-school education and enrichment programs are found in Y facilities, schools, apartment complexes, mobile home communities and more, and include the following opportunities:

  • Educational support, including homework help and targeted reading, math or science activities to increase achievement and confidence
  • Enrichment activities like art, dance, music and more
  • Career pathways and leadership development opportunities through YMCA Teen Thrive programming
  • Programs like Beacons in Minneapolis or School Success in St. Paul that bring before and after school programs directly to students’ schools, free of charge
  • On-campus programming at the University YMCA to engage with students across a variety of academic and cultural backgrounds at the University of Minnesota and to build connections with community schools

See how Suzie has experienced the power of the Beacons program to build young leaders throughout its 20 years in the Twin Cities, and how she has grown from student to program director – Beacons Network: 20 Years of Helping Young People Thrive.

Because the Y is a leading nonprofit committed to helping all learn, grow and thrive, financial assistance is available based on need.

Category: Youth Development