A Message from Wokie Weah

Published on December 15, 2011 | Written by

Dear Friends:

Something remarkable is happening right here in Minnesota.

It’s an emerging vision that is just now coalescing, and a bold collaborative model that’s igniting unprecedented alliances and conversations, ready to ripple out into the state.

It’s a groundswell of people who care about youth—and are frustrated by the inequities and gaps, the silos and blinders, and the age-old, same-old problems.

More importantly, it is young people themselves, who are assuming their rightful place at the table with adults, ensuring that their ideas and voices are heard.

At Youthprise, we believe that our state’s greatest untapped resource is the energy and ingenuity of our youth.

We believe that for too long society has underutilized their talents and, too often, our well-intentioned systems have failed to meet their educational and developmental needs. And we believe that only when we meaningfully engage young people as partners can we begin to script a better way.

We believe, whole-heartedly, that many of the struggles and issues our communities face will be more effectively addressed when we have youth and adults working side-by-side. With diverse viewpoints and thinking, we can re-imagine and resolve the very real challenges we face and generate the momentum necessary to transform perceptions, policies and entire systems!

By working together, we can create an effective learning system that invests in Minnesota youth and allows each young person to shine. And we can ignite the commitment from policy makers and civic leaders to establish the policies that will make that system succeed.

This, of course, requires nurturing, and fostering the civic, reasoning and leadership skills of our young people in a more focused, intentional way. It means maximizing opportunities for youth engagement and innovation, and ensuring that every single young person has a chance to learn more, experience more and contribute more than ever before.

At Youthprise, we believe that this is exactly what should happen during the 2,000 hours that youth spend away from school, beyond the classroom, each year. So we’re mobilizing resources and forces to make the very most of that precious discretionary time. We encourage everyone who cares about Minnesota youth (and the future of our state) to come to the table with fresh ideas, innovative thinking, and a willingness to test new approaches.

Over the coming years, Youthprise will partner with committed stakeholders in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota—young people, families, youth workers and youth-serving organizations, researchers, funders and policy makers—to ensure that all Minnesota youth thrive, and that our state thrives as a result.

We will be sharing exciting news later this month about our work, including our grantmaking priorities. You can be among the first to get the news by Following us on Twitter, or Liking Us on Facebook. And please Sign Up for our Email Updates as well. We’re excited about what’s possible and invite you to join us!

Wokie Weah

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