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Building a Ladder from the Classroom to the Future

By YWCA Minneapolis
June 19, 2018
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In 2017, Rainbow Research completed a survey of 210 YWCA Minneapolis Girls and Youth program alumni approximately five or more years post-participation. Our programs equip girls and youth to be learners, leaders and creators of change so they graduate from high school ready for college and careers. YWCA Minneapolis is one of the largest providers of out-of-school-time programming in Minneapolis with over 1,400 youth served each year.

The study looked for indicators of the youths’ well-being and success, and whether YWCA Minneapolis programs made a positive, lasting impact on their lives.

The Results

Evaluation data consistently showed the vast majority of alumni doing well in social-emotional development, positive peer relationships, health, leadership and community engagement, and post-secondary success in education and careers.

Alumni Report:

 Academic and Career Goal Setting

  • 86% are satisfied with their educational progress
  • 81% are satisfied with their career progress

Community Leaders

  • 90% believe they can create change
  • 94% feel confident speaking up

Quality Relationships

  • 96% value helping others
  • 90% can keep and make friends

Physical and Sexual Health

  • 78% know how to keep healthy eating habits
  • 81% know how to exercise and stay active
  • 91% know how to prevent pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Alumni Voices:

“YWCA staff were real mentors – encouraging and supportive.”

“They taught us what we have to look forward to after high school.”

“Being in this youth program I was able to go on field trips to explore the wonders of the community.”

“The fact that it was all girls made us more comfortable to express our thoughts.”

“The best things were the conversations around identity, culture and language.”

“I learned how to eat fruits and veggies and exercise every day.”

“In our family, we don’t usually talk about sex. I didn’t know anything about sex…until this program.”

“I gained more confidence. I learned to speak out more and share my opinion.”

An Alumna Story: YWCA Minneapolis Helped Me Become the Person I Am Today

“I started YWCA Minneapolis afterschool programming when I was 10 years old and I stayed involved until I was 14. I’m currently a YWCA Minneapolis Beacon Learning Center Youth Worker with middle school students at Hmong International Academy (HIA). I wanted to work here because it was a place that had such a significant impact on me growing up. I wanted to give back to the program that helped me become the person I am today. I hold my afterschool experience dear to my heart because of the many role models I looked up to and the variety of activities offered to me.

Now, it’s my turn to be a role model. Learning leadership skills is an important component of YWCA Minneapolis afterschool programming. The Beacon Leadership Team (BLT) is where our youth begin to develop these skills and learn how to take on leadership roles in their community. I’m proud of the great job they do informing other schools about events, like Family Fun Night. Youth assist in planning the event and speak out about their main mission, which revolves around bullying and its negative impact. I model leadership, supervise and encourage youth to work together. It’s important for them to make their own voice known so they have a sense of how to be a leader.”

– Daveed Her, Girls and Youth Program Alumna

Learn more about YWCA Minneapolis Girls and Youth Programs