5 Questions with Matt Norris, Director of Policy and Minnesota Afterschool Advance

Published on April 20, 2021 | Written by

Meet Matt!

Matt leads Minnesota Afterschool Advance, a program Youthprise operates collaboratively with Venn Foundation, which helps families who meet income guidelines leverage the Minnesota K-12 Education Tax Credit to pay for out-of-school time programs.  Matt has worked in youth development for over a decade and has a JD from the University of Minnesota Law School.  You can reach out to Matt to learn more about participating in activities through Minnesota Afterschool Advance, offering out-of-school time activities through the program, or to chat about the most recent Vikings game.

Tell us about your role in one sentence.

I help make systems more equitable for Minnesota youth through policy change.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? What makes it all worthwhile?

The impact that I'm able to make. Working in the policy space, we're often trying to pull big levers of change. It can take long, hard work to pull them, but when you succeed, the impact is huge. A perfect example is our work to make high school students eligible for unemployment insurance.

How did you end up here?

Like a lot of people, it was thanks to some planning but mostly by accident. I've known since about middle school that I wanted to be involved in politics and public policy, but I never thought it would be in the field of youth engagement. When I was in high school, I started serving on Brooklyn Park's Citizen Long-range Improvement Committee and ended up helping launch what's now the Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth. I fell in love with the work and have stayed involved in the field ever since.

Describe your perfect day!

The Vikings winning the Super Bowl!

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would you say?

If you're intentional about trying to discern the correct path, the decisions you make--even if they're not your preferred choice--often end up being the right ones for reasons you could have never known at the time.

BONUS QUESTIONS:
  • If you had to perform at a talent show, what would your talent be? Playing the piano--I've been doing it since second grade.
  • Dogs or Cats: Neither!
  • Tell us a fun fact about you that not many people know: I once went on a month-long, 8,600-mile road trip by myself.
What Matt's team members say about him:

"Matt is very intentional, charismatic and a joy to work with. He takes the time to listen to his colleagues and incorporate their suggestions and ideas in projects which I really appreciate." - Ladan, Policy Coordinator

"Matt is one of those supervisors that truly want to help you excel and grow professionally. He's always there to help you navigate the waters while also letting you steer your own ship. It's also hard not to appreciate a supervisor that will laugh at all your lame jokes." Maya, Minnesota Afterschool Advance Associate

To learn more about our other team members, CLICK HERE!

Youthprise is an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employer.

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