Every Body’s In: An Interview with Mary K. Boyd
When considering the impact lifelong Saint Paul resident Mary K. Boyd has made in her community, it is perhaps more useful to count what Mary hasn’t been involved with. The prolific Mary K. Boyd has been making her mark in the Twin Cities for decades, having served as a school principal, an area superintendent, a volunteer, a consultant, and a member of several boards and committees. Behind this drive is her love of her community and young people: “Youth have been my greatest teachers, mentors and guides. My grandson is my greatest advisor!” Reflecting on her own childhood in the Rondo neighborhood of Saint Paul, Mary maintains that while her formal education was helpful, her community taught her the greatest lessons and “shaped who I am.” She believes that the link between community, family, and a formal education was essential to her success.
The Every Body’s In Conference hopes to lead lively discussion on that topic exactly. This Wednesday, October 25 through Friday, October 27th, a diverse group of Twin Cities youth, educators, parents, community leaders, youth workers, administrators, policy makers, and members of the faith community will convene to address the needs of Twin Cities youth, and how the community can answer these calls. The idea for this community assembly was born out of a gathering held by the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, where Mary met Dr. Patricia Moore Harbour, an associate of the Foundation, the President and CEO of the Harbour Center for Quality Education, LLC, and the author of Community Educators. Mary trained under Dr. Harbour’s guidance, and shared stories of her experiences in the education system as a student, teacher, and administrator. Upon leaving the Kettering Foundation, Mary and her fellow colleagues that had also attended the event were inspired to strengthen community involvement in the educational process of Twin Cities’ youth. Dr. Harbour, joined by another leader in the field, Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz will journey to the Twin Cities to share their stories of youth and community engagement. Through the three day meeting, Mary hopes to encourage dialogue that recognizes the vital connection between formal, school-based instruction and community-based education; and catalyze the development of action steps focused on strengthening connections among stakeholders with an end goal of preparing Minnesota’s youth to become responsible, civic-minded, thriving adults. “Every body is an educator – regardless of status, position, title, or bank account” Mary affirms. ”We all have gifts we can offer our youth.” Admitting that this may seem radical to some, she adds “If you don’t go for it, you won’t even have the opportunity to fail.”
When discussing the timeliness and relevance of Every Body’s In, Mary explains, “Minnesota needs a transformation.” She cites the “fear of the other” and “subtle racism” as huge issues facing young people in the Twin Cities. She also argues that formal education structures rely on traditional wisdom, which doesn’t fit everyone. Some youth struggle to grasp how what they are learning in the classroom relates to their everyday lives. “The language of education is not always the language of the community,” therefore “the schoolhouse should partner with the community, so that the community will support the schoolhouse.”
– Aly Roach, Development Innovator
Luncheon: Friday, October 25th from 12pm – 2pm at the Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 Ivy Ave E in Saint Paul. Invitation Only.
Community Forum: Saturday October 26th from 8:30am – 12:30pm at the Minnesota Department of Education, 1500 Highway 36 in Roseville. To register go here.
Faith Gathering: Sunday October 27th from 5pm – 6:30pm at Progressive Baptist Church, 1505 Burns Ave in Saint Paul. To register go here.