Promise Neighborhood Community Update
Parents, children, friends and partners gathered at Maxfield Elementary School on May 14 for update and resource fair on the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood (SPPN). The community update included information on how the collaborative is working together and a review of the resources available to families.
The evening kicked off with a song by the kids who attended last year's SPPN Freedom School, a summer learning-loss-prevention program that will be available this summer as well. Several organizations provided updates on the SPPN initiative, and representatives from the Cultural Wellness Center, the Saint Paul Public Schools, Wilder Child Development Center, Sankofa Reading Program, Portico Healthnet, Sprockets out of school time, Ramsey County Safety, the Saint Paul Police and others answered questions, signed up participants, and provided information at the resource fair.
"The event provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with the people that the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood initiative is really all about – families! Seeing all the people from the community who took time to join us and hear what the SPPN has been up to and to give feedback to us was really exciting," said Kristine Martin, Vice President, Wilder Center for Communities and Interim Director of the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. "We are looking forward to connecting with the community on a quarterly basis going forward."
SPPN is a broad public, private and community collaboration to help children in Saint Paul's Frogtown and Summit-University neighborhoods succeed in school and in life. The initiative is focusing on children's academic and social development from birth through grade 5. The key elements include early childhood learning, literacy development, parent engagement and broader community support.
Minnesota Museum of American Art Partners with Achievement Plus School
Students and teachers at John A. Johnson Elementary School in Saint Paul have curated a special exhibition of artwork that will be on view May 11-19 with a public reception on Saturday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Funded through the Minnesota Museum of American Art's
(MMAA) new educational initiative, along with private and corporate grants, the program teamed teachers at John A. Johnson with MMAA's education consultant to lead discussions and written interpretations of the art in two Fifth Grade classrooms. Students then produced their own works of art with the guidance of teaching artist Teresa Cox in response to the original artwork from the MMAA collection and will be on view at the exhibit.
John A. Johnson is an Achievement Plus
school, a partnership between Saint Paul Public Schools and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation to improve student achievement in low income areas.
Neighborhood Leadership Program Receives Ethical Leadership Award
The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s Neighborhood Leadership Program has been selected to receive a 2013 Minnesota Ethical Leadership Award from Synergy and Leadership Exchange. This award recognizes the character and ethical leadership development exhibited by the Neighborhood Leadership Program.
The Neighborhood Leadership Program
(NLP) develops the skills of existing and emerging community leaders. The program reflects a collaborative leadership model founded on the belief that all people can be leaders. By taking part in the program, participants enhance their ability to act on important community issues.
“It continues to be my privilege to work with and for such incredible community members engaged in such great work in our community,” said Senior Community Leadership Manager Damon Shoholm. “The Ethical Leadership Award is a testament to our dedicated participants who give so much to the program and to their communities.” Staff from the Neighborhood Leadership Program will be recognized at an awards ceremony on May 16 at the Minnesota State Capitol.
The Ethical Leadership Award announcement comes on the heels of the Neighborhood Leadership Program’s 2013 graduation ceremony, held April 24 at Wilder Center. At the event participants of the 6-month cohort reflected on their experiences and what they will bring to their communities. Heidi Kloempken and Sarah Gerdes of the 2012-2013 graduation class had the following to share about NLP:
At every NLP meeting there was a sense of excitement for seeing peers, catching up with neighbors, and eagerness for what the day’s schedule held. Coming from different neighborhoods and connections within St. Paul, we were learning skills to give back to our beloved city. We walked out of every single NLP session encouraged by the people around us. We are inspired by their dedication, thoughtfulness, and care for their neighbors and the community that we have begun to build. We are grateful for the community we have built together, as well as the experiences we will bring to our individual neighborhoods.
Learn more about the Neighborhood Leadership Program’s unique approach to leadership development in our Community Matters Blog
Wilder Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers
On April 17, 2013, Wilder Foundation President and CEO MayKao Y. Hang presented the Sandy Kiernat Community Service Award to Susan Phillips and Cretin-Derham Hall High School for their outstanding volunteer efforts.
The Sandy Kiernat Community Service Award was established in 2010 to recognize volunteers working with the Wilder Foundation who exemplify the spirit of Sandy Kiernat, previous Wilder Board Chair.
Susan Phillips has given over 500 hours of her time to serve Wilder's Youth Leadership Initiative. Susan acts as a mentor in the program and helps develop leadership skills of the youth who participate. "The beauty of being a volunteer is that you're not just giving, you're receiving if you open your mind and your heart," says Susan.
Cretin-Derham Hall has partnered with Wilder's Child Development Center for several years. Students from Cretin-Derham Hall support staff by interacting with children during meals and other activities. "The work across the generations that these volunteers demonstrate means that the spirit of community service is alive and well," says MayKao.
Congratulations and thank you to Susan Phillips and Cretin-Derham Hall High School.
Comcast Volunteers Helping at Wilder
More than 1,600 Comcast volunteers will be working at dozens of Twin Cities nonprofit sites on April 27 during National Volunteer Week.The ambitious community project includes volunteers helping at two sites for the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. Comcast volunteers will be at Wilder’s Child Development Center (911 LaFond Avenue) and Wilder’s Community Center for Aging (650 Marshall Avenue) both in Saint Paul.They will be helping with landscaping, clean up and repairs to Wilder’s buildings that house programs for aging adults and for early childhood learning.
This year marks the company’s 12th annual event, with more than 70,000 volunteers expected at over 600 locations in Comcast communities around the country.Rallying around this year’s theme, “Making Change Happen,” Comcast Cares Day is widely recognized as the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort.
Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood Receives Federal Social Innovation Funding
Greater Twin Cities United Way, in partnership with Generation Next, is receiving $2 million in federal funding from the Corporation for National & Community Service Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a federal program created by President Barack Obama. After a rigorous selection process, the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood
is one of just six organizations chosen to participate as a SIF sub-grantee.
The SIF grant will run for two years, with the potential for up to three more years, depending on federal funding and performance of the Twin Cities cohort. This federal funding leverages an additional $2 million in local funding, to identify, evaluate, and scale programs that will dramatically accelerate academic outcomes for low income children and children of color in the Twin Cities.
"We are thrilled to be selected to participate in this very innovative, collaborative and important effort,” said Kristine Martin, Vice President, Wilder Center for Communities, and Interim Director of the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. “The work of Generation Next and Greater Twin Cities United Way through the Social Innovation Fund is absolutely in alignment with our mission to discover what works to dramatically accelerate academic outcomes for children of color and low-income children in the SPPN.”
Wilder, AARP and Alzheimer's Association Support Caregiver Sick Leave Bill
Leaders from The Alzheimer’s Association
, and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation have co-authored a letter to Minnesota legislators expressing joint support for SF840
, legislation that supports family caregivers by allowing them to use their employer-provided sick leave to care for a spouse, sibling, parent or grandparent who may be injured or ill.
The letter, addressed to State Senator Bobby Champion and State Representative Rick Hansen explains that as the population ages, and the prevalence of diseases such as Alzheimer’s is growing, more workers will need additional time to care for an elderly parent or an ailing spouse, but may not have the financial means to take time away from the job to do so. Download a copy of the letter here
Governor Dayton Proposes $5M for Homeless Youth Act
Wilder President and CEO MayKao Y. Hang joined advocates of the Homeless Youth Act in a meeting with Governor Dayton's office on March 11.
On Monday, March 11, Wilder Foundation President and CEO MayKao Y. Hang joined the CEOs of Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities, along with other advocates in a meeting with leaders in the Governor's office to ask for $8 million in the Governor's supplemental budget for the Homeless Youth Act (currently funded at only $238,000). Funding from this act would be used for youth homeless intervention and prevention services that are proven to be effective and cost-efficient. On Thursday, March 14 Governor Dayton released his supplemental budget proposal, which included $5 million for the Homeless Youth Act. This funding level now becomes the Governor's official position in budget negotiations with the legislature.
Wilder joins our coalition partners in the Homes for All campaign in extending our sincere thanks to the Governor for this exciting development. We will now return our focus to the legislature as we continue to advocate for the inclusion of the full $8 million in the Homeless Youth Act. The 2013 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on May 20th. For more information about the Homeless Youth Act, visit http://www.youthmovingforward.org/
Wilder Testifies on Behalf of Working Caregivers
Lisa Brown, LISW testifies in the House Labor, Workplace and Regulated Industries Committee with bill author Representative Rick Hansen of South St. Paul.
On Wednesday, March 13 Wilder staff testified in front of the Minnesota House Labor, Workplace and Regulated Industries Committee in support of a bill (House File 568
) that would help Minnesotans balancing employment and caregiving responsibilities. The bill would add language to an existing statute that allows working parents to use sick leave to attend to their children’s health needs. The proposed amendment to the bill would add language that gives the same flexibility to employees who help care for adult family members.
“Providing sick leave to care for adult family members as well as children is a simple step toward recognizing the changing demographics of our state and changing needs of our workforce,” said Lisa Brown, Licensed Social Worker with Wilder’s Community Services for Aging. Sue Spalding, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota also spoke on behalf of the bill, noting the crucial role caregivers play in the lives of those experiencing dementia.
Follow the status of this legislation through the Minnesota House of Representatives Bill Tracking Tool
(type in HF568). Visit our Caregiver Services page to learn more about how Wilder supports family and friend caregivers.
Wilder Supports Homeless Youth Act
MayKao Y. Hang testifies at a House committee hearing in support of the Homeless Youth Act.
The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation has joined the Homes For All Coalition in support of the Homeless Youth Act - legislation that would provide $8 million in state funding to help end youth homelessness. Homes For All is a statewide coalition of community and faith-based organizations aimed at ensuring stable housing for all youth and families in Minnesota.
Wilder Foundation President and CEO MayKao Y. Hang testified in a House committee hearing in support of the Homeless Youth Act alongside Jodi Harpstead, CEO of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, and Tim Marx, CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Said Hang, "The problem of youth homelessness is one that can absolutely be solved. We know how to do this ... One of the greatest threats is if we accept homelessness as being inevitable."
According to Wilder Research, the number of homeless youth increased 46% from 2006 to 2009. 40% of the state's homeless youth are located throughout Greater Minnesota, demonstrating that the issue is not restricted to the Twin Cities metro area.
Funding from the Homeless Youth Act would be used for intervention and prevention services that are proven to be effective and cost-efficient. The goal of the Homeless Youth Act is to give today’s homeless young person the opportunity to become a successful adult.
"Wilder is committed to doing our part," said Hang. "These young people need us to come together, public, private and nonprofit, to get this thing done. Because tonight – tonight we’re going to fail them."
More information on the Homeless Youth Act is available at http://www.youthmovingforward.org/