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Mor Than Expected

By Kelly Prosen Hara, YWCA Grants Officer
November 30, 2017
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First Female Flag Football Quarterback

Mor is the first girl to play quarterback for the Hornbills. As a ninth grader on the YWCA Minneapolis Beacon Learning Center at Hmong International Academy (HIA) flag football team, Mor began playing because her uncle sparked a love for football in her. She started practicing at home with him and decided to sign up for the Hornbills football team in the seventh grade.

“I didn’t know how to play football, I was so weak at first.” She asked to play wide receiver her first year. “I was not planning on being a quarterback until Coach P asked me. This is my second year as quarterback, and I love this position!”

Engaging Students Throughout the Day

Hornbills flag football was first organized as structured play during recess and lunch. YWCA Beacon staff noticed that after being in school all day, students had trouble settling down after school. Kinley Vang, YWCA Minneapolis Beacon Program Manager, said “The funny thing is this started as a way to get students engaged during lunchtime and recess.”

Growing Intermural League

“But it has become much more than that. It’s important to them, and I’m proud of them.” Students who participate in Hornbills flag football play matches against seven other schools in an intermural league. But the Hornbills team is more than an intermural flag football team. It’s a part of YWCA Minneapolis Beacon Learning Center at HIA, an afterschool program that turns two schools in North Minneapolis into community centers once the school day is done.

Staying Connected to School and Setting Future Goals

Over 600 youth receive tutoring in math and reading and get to participate in afterschool programs like flag football leagues and STEM clubs. YWCA Minneapolis Beacon Learning Center at HIA helps youth stay connected to school, set goals for the future and grow in self-esteem and positive relationships.

Community Support

It takes about $500,000 in community support to deliver the quality Beacon programming each year, with just $15,000 remaining to have a fully supported program.

Thank you for ensuring YWCA Minneapolis Beacon Learning Center at HIA is helping youth—particularly girls—move from feeling weak to realizing their own strength.