Youthprise Grantees Featured in online magazine, The Line
After-School Specials: Innovative Programs Engage Kids Before They Go HomeThe Line Julie Kendrick | Wednesday, August 08, 2012
On a warm summer afternoon on West Broadway Avenue, a group of teenagers is huddled in a meeting room, planning an upcoming new-client presentation for Cookie Cart, which sells about $350,000 worth of fresh baked goods every year to area businesses, churches, and non-profit organizations.
Over in St. Paul, an equally enterprising group of teens has gathered to teach today’s cycling safety class at Cycles for Change, a hands-on-advocacy organization and community bike shop. And in a third-floor rehearsal space above the giant blue Cupcake coffee cup on University Avenue, a group of teens at Youth Performance Company is running through the opening number of their bullying-prevention musical, MEAN.
Welcome to the new world of out-of-school time, where young people have the opportunity to strengthen their skills and pursue their passions. In the Twin Cities, it’s a field that’s garnering increasing amounts of attention, respect–and funding.
“Kids spend 2,000 hours a year out of school,” says Nou Yang, Program Manager for the Youth Leadership Initiative at the Wilder Center for Communities, the largest nonprofit social services agency in St. Paul. “The perception used to be that after-school activities were just babysitting or playtime, but I’m noticing more of a critical mass in recognizing the value of what exists in that time between formal education ending for the day, and kids getting back to their homes.” Read more.