COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHT – October 2022
YOUTHLINE is this month’s featured organization. All featured organizations can be found in the CIC Resource Guide.
Note that CIC cannot vouch for the organizations on this list.
Youthline is a community outreach program run by the Minneapolis Parks Board. They provide free activities, support, and safe spaces for youth between 12 and 16 years old. Youthline centers are located in 20 public parks across Minneapolis, making it easy for individuals to access resources and support within their own communities. Youthline centers aim to provide a tertiary space, beyond school and home, for youth to relax and feel safe and supported.
While Youthline primarily offers unstructured time, they also coordinate weekly programming shaped by the wants and needs of the youth at each location. Programming includes group outings and activities from visits to nature centers, to mini golf, to overnight trips. However, the core of Youthline’s work happens at community locations. Students are encouraged to drop in any time, for as long as they want, and Youthline leaders are always present to spend time with them and be additional support people in their everyday lives. Youthline staff act as mentors to students, on an interpersonal level, and through coordinated activities that help students develop skills and confidence. Available resources range from college prep assistance and financial literacy education to classes in everyday skills like cooking an egg.
Students can attend any Youthline location, not just the one closest to them, and are encouraged to attend events and opportunities that interest them regardless of location. Each Youthline location has distinct programming, and in an effort to foster a citywide identity through their network of sites, YouthLine locations coordinate with one another to connect students with opportunities across Minneapolis.
Youthline staff dictate the focus of programming at their locations based on student needs. For some, this means catering to the large population of LGBTQ+ youth that come to their center by establishing student alliances and safe spaces for students to express their identities. Others cater to youth who are interested in music production or basketball, basing programming around the activities their students enjoy. Youthline staff work to establish strong relationships with students and identify what kind of programming would be most beneficial to them.
A core aspect of Youthline’s mission is to provide all programming completely free of charge. Students can take advantage of all Youthline opportunities at no cost to them, whether they’re going on an outing or taking a class at their local center. In addition to their cost-free model, Youthline will employ students aged 14 and older who are looking for a job. They pay competitive wages, starting at $15 an hour. Youthline’s ability to go beyond free programming by employing youth in their own communities demonstrates the impact of their citywide infrastructure.
Youthline’s broad network and foundation in the Parks System allows them to provide support on many levels to youth living in all parts of Minneapolis. They work hard to give students a safe place in their communities to express themselves, try new things, participate in fun, engaging programming, and find a strong support system.
To learn more about Youthline, find your nearest location, and view their upcoming events and opportunities, please visit https://www.minneapolisparks.org/activities-events/youth-programs/teen_programs/youthline_outreach_mentorship_program/.
For more information on standout community organizations visit https://cicmn.org/resource-guide/ or follow the CIC Facebook and Instagram pages for weekly featured organizations.