According to the Search Institute, receiving support from non-parental adults and interacting with adults who are positive role models are assets that help youth grow up “healthy, caring and responsible.” Additionally, a research study commissioned by the Lucille Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, “establishing supportive relationships between youth and adults may be the most critical component of an after-school program.” FamilyMeans fosters these connections not only through staff, but also with volunteers and program partners. In 2010, volunteers shared more than 1,200 hours of their time with our youth.
As youth mature, they seek and deserve increasing opportunities to take on meaningful leadership roles. One significant way FamilyMeans accomplishes this is by hiring community teens as program assistants. In addition to providing a first job experience for many youth, these positions also contribute to the economic well-being of families and the community.
Our Youth Development Initiative serves youth ages 5-18 in the Cimarron manufactured home community in Lake Elmo and the city of Landfall, Minnesota. We have been present in Landfall since 1993, and in Cimarron since 2008. Our work and our collaboration efforts have led Landfall to be named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People by America’s Promise Alliance in 2008 and 2010. Additionally, both our Cimarron and Landfall sites are designated Promise Places by America’s Promise Alliance.