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September Program Highlight: CLUES YA!

This month we’re highlighting a CLUES' program, Youth in Action. Youth in Action is a college access and mentorship program for Latinx youth in the Twin Cities. YA! prepares students to succeed in their academic and professional journeys by providing education, training, and mentorship. YA! consists of three parts: Training Leadership Workshops (institutes), Civic Engagement, and Mentoring Relationships.

YA! Institutes are split into three parts: Personal development, Educational/Professional development, and Civic Engagement. YA! is currently recruiting women mentors for the upcoming school year.

Mission: To empower Latino youth to become future leaders in their communities by equipping them with a network of peers, coaches, and parents to support and guide their achievement of academic goals, educational aspirations, and professional potential. Vision: Latino youth will graduate high school, complete post-secondary school, and pursue a meaningful career path while simultaneously becoming leaders in their communities and role models for the generations to come.

Who is part of Youth in Action? The YA! program is a college access and mentorship program for Latinx high school students; current 8th graders and 9th-10th graders are eligible to apply. The YA! program strives to empower Latinx youth to become leaders in their communities by equipping them with a network of peers, mentors, and parents to support and guide their achievement of academic goals, educational aspirations, and professional potential. Our program follows the academic year and runs September-June. All new students are matched with a volunteer mentor through a matching process we have in place (“speed-matching”).

YA! Program Outcomes 1.Latino students will achieve higher academic results and will be prepared with the skills to graduate from high school and navigate the higher education system. 2. Latino students will be motivated to achieve their goals for the future, to pursue post-secondary education, and to develop as leaders in their communities. 3. Through increasing the parent participation and support, Latino students will achieve higher academic outcomes and will be prepared for higher education.

4.Youth will learn how policies and laws are made and enforced and that, in a democracy, the people’s voices contribute to this process. Civic knowledge and participation will empower students to envision solutions, to advocate for change, and to participate in creating real and lasting improvements in their families, communities, and beyond.

Details about the program – what should students expect?

Every month we host Leadership Institutes for our cohort of students and their mentors to come together and discuss various topics related to their academic, professional, and holistic growth (e.g. college admissions process, resume writing, identity and culture and how to show your authentic self in an elevator speech). Throughout the year we visit and tour colleges and universities as well as local companies and organizations. Additionally, we host civic engagement opportunities in the community (e.g. volunteering at Feed My Starving Children, lake clean-ups), facilitate parent meetings, and offer various leadership opportunities to our students, one being our Youth Advisory Board. Lastly, we offer scholarships to participants upon graduating; every year that a student participates in our program, they accumulate a $250 scholarship amount to be used toward college fees (e.g. students in the program from 9-12th grade can receive up to $1000!).

How can someone support Youth in Action?

The Youth in Action (YA!) Program at CLUES is excited to start another great year and we would appreciate your help in becoming and recruiting more amazing mentors to support our students on their journey to college! Especially as students and families (and all of us) continue to navigate the impacts of these COVID years, the need for committed and engaged mentors is so important for our youth! Ways you can help:

  • Become a mentor!

  • Spread the word to your friends, family, acquaintances… anyone interested!

  • Promote this opportunity on your social media accounts and in your professional networks!

Steps to become a mentor:

  • Check out the YA! Website to see our program video and see the attachments to learn more

  • Submit the mentor application at the link

  • Volunteer Services will send you additional electronic paperwork to sign and submit along with copies of front & back of license and declarations page of car insurance

  • Applicants will receive an official email when the background check has cleared

  • We will follow up to set up an interview and share next steps

  • An orientation will be held for new mentors in September before the new YA! year begins (September 8th via Zoom)

  • Please see attachments to save the meeting dates! Please note that additional adaptations may be made as COVID dictates.

Also, check out the MPR story of one of our ’21 YA! Graduates below and hear how his mentor, YA!, his family, and his horse helped him through the pandemic!

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