October 19, 2007

MYCL: Youth development & higher education = Community development


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April 26, 2007

Mentoring programs do pay off!

Youth development is community development. Mentoring strenghtens youth and community - the benefits are real.

That is the conclusion of new studies from Wilder Research and the University of Minnesota. State taxpayers can expect a $2.72 return on every dollar spent on effective mentoring programs and $4.89 on every dollar spent on community-based youth intervention programs. Read more about the research!

These are concrete examples of the benefits of youth mentoring and community engagement in youth learning.

MYCL community programs have shown that academic performance improves and so does youth attitudes about learning and school. Mentoring. It is a good investment!

Mark Mahon, MA
MYCL Community Relations Coordinator

April 3, 2007

Making A Difference.

From Faribault's Building on Promise Program-

The following story was written by a matched student:
"I've been involved with Building on Promise for a while now. When I first heard about it, I thought that is was not something I'd want to be in, but I was wrong. Everyone is very nice and we do a lot of fun things. We have a new [Promise Fellow] that we met at a grill out, his name is Michael and he's easy going. Andrea and Michael know how to have fun. And you don't have to just talk about things within the group, Andrea and Michael are also willing to help you out with some issues that you may have or other things. I also have a mentor named Jenny. She's really easy to talk to and we both have a lot of the same interests. We enjoy sitting around and reading poetry. I met her though BOP and Andrea hooked me up with her because she is really fun and interesting."

A post from the Cass Lake Community Coordinator:
"One of our programs, Smart Girls, works with young female students in Cass Lake-Bena schools to promote greater self-confidence, enhance academic achievement and foster connections to the larger community. Several of the girls have experienced extreme poverty in their lives and a trip to the shopping mall and formal sit-down dinner were new experiences for some. One girl, having tried on a dress for the first time in her life, was overcome with pride and self-confidence. She could see a proud new self-identity and unlimited potential. We shopped for soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other items that have often been scarce in the lives of our young adults."

What is MYCL?

The Minnesota Youth Community Learning (MYCL) Initiative is a community engagement collaboration between Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health (University of Minnesota, Medical School) and seven Minnesota communities with a straightforward goal: "Our youth finish school." The collaboration will help reverse an alarming fact: 2,500 high school students leave high school every day in the US.

The collaboration re-engages middle and high school students who are disconnected from learning and school through skill-based mentoring, parental assistance support, fostering school connectedness, and community capacity-building.

The seven MYCL community partners are:
•Cass Lake, Teen Outreach Program
•Faribault, Building on Promise
•Fergus Falls, Stepping Stones
•the Maple River area communities of Amboy, Good Thunder, Mapleton and Minnesota Lake, Connect 4
•McGregor, TEAM-UP
•North Minneapolis' Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhoods, Community Roots Under New Connection
•Worthington, Learning Links

Learn more about the Konopka Institute and MYCL here.

New Research: After school programs matter!

A new study released by CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (University of Illinois at Chicago) indicates how important after school programs are to youth and adolescents. The CASEL report, "The Impact of After School Programs that Promote Personal and Social Skills," indicates that youth who participate in after school programs imporve significantly in three major areas:
-feelings and attitudes
-indicators of behavioral adjustment, and
-school performance

The study also noted that effective programs use evidence-based approaches that measure outcomes and progress.

Research like the CASEL report confirms the work of the MYCL communities to better engage youth with learning. Evaluation confirms that after school programs which engage youth with the larger community have multiple benefits for youth. That really is community development.

Access CASEL report: http://www.casel.org/downloads/ASP-Exec.pdf

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