Kofi Services 

Kofi Services are culturally specific, school and home-based programs developed to increase the positive functioning of African-American youth. “Kofi” is derived from a word meaning “child of growth” in Akan Asente, a Ghanaian dialect. Kofi’s desired outcomes are to provide cultural affirmation, mentorship and role modeling, improve behaviors in the classroom and at home, improve academic performance and attendance and increase parental involvement in the child’s education.
The primary purpose of the program is to increase and/or support the positive functioning of young African-American youth in the home, school, and community. This positive functioning is intended to foster social/emotional well-being, a sense of confidence, competence, and cultural consciousness. To achieve this purpose, the program provides:
  • Mental health student support experiences (i.e., anger management, conflict resolution, problem solving decision making, communication, and therapeutic leisure/recreation)
  • Meaningful engagement, support and role modeling for Kofi students (i.e., daily classroom and attendance check in, cultural/life skills education, administrative meetings with school about academics, behavior, crisis intervention)
  • Parenting skills support and outreach, information, referrals, and crisis assistance
  • Facilitation of positive parental involvement in school activities and learning opportunities

Eligibility Criteria 

To be a participant in the program, clients must be of African-American ancestry, a Ramsey County resident, and a student in an eligible grade (grades 3-6 at Galtier Elementary, Maxfield Elementary, Dayton’s Bluff Elementary, or the school programs within the Rondo Education Center, or in grades 3-8 at Monroe Community School). In addition, clients must have problems that seriously affect some area of life, such as personal relations, living arrangements, school, and community. These problems must have lasted one year, or are likely to last a year, or the problems are the result of something traumatic that has happened to the child in the last year; or the child might hurt themself or others as a result of these problems (adapted criterion from the Minnesota Comprehensive Adult and Children’s Mental Health Act. 1991, 245- 487-245.4887). Clients must also have parent/guardian approval to participate.


The evaluation of Kofi is designed to assess nine goals:
  • Clients will develop anger management and conflict resolution skills
  • Clients will demonstrate improved behavior at home
  • Clients will responsibly navigate teacher and school rules and demonstrate improved behavior at school
  • Clients will show improved mental health status
  • Clients will develop a positive perception of themselves and their African-American culture
  • Parents will obtain support to meet family needs
  • Parents will increase effective parenting skills
  • Parents will actively participate in school and educationally related activities outside of school
  • Parents will be satisfied with the services provided by Kofi Services.


  • Individual and group counseling sessions
  • Age-appropriate skills training
  • Behavioral role-modeling
  • Family support sessions
  • Parent skills training
  • Crisis assistance

How to Access

Kofi is available to African-American youth in certain Saint Paul public elementary schools who are experiencing difficulty in school, personal relationships or other areas of their lives. Referrals can be made by parents; school staff and members of the community.

Kofi Services Locations:

  • Benjamin E. Mays Elementary School
  • Capitol Hill Elementary School
  • Cherokee Heights Elementary School
  • Crossroads Elementary School (Montessori and Science Programs)
  • Dayton’s Bluff Elementary School
  • Jackson Preparatory Magnet
  • Maxfield Elementary School
  • Michelle and Barack Obama Elementary School
  • Riverview Westside School of Excellence


School-Based Mental Health Intake: 651-325-2766

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 DeOnta's Story




DeOnta Perry, a former Kofi Services student, delivered the keynote address at the 2015 Kofi graduation ceremony. Read more.