Saint Paul Youth Commission

Saint Paul Youth Commission

The Saint Paul Youth Commission is the place for young people in Saint Paul to have a voice at City Hall. This group of twenty-two high school students tackles community issues that help create a better Saint Paul for youth. Youth Commissioners practice youth-adult partnership with other Saint Paul youth, city officials, and community organizations. Youth Commissioners make Saint Paul a better place by leading community action projects, and by acting as a YouthBank, distributing funds to support youth-led projects throughout the City. 

As a Youth Commissioner, you will:

  • Lead community projects that matter to you and tackle serious issues by designing creative solutions,
  • Make key decisions about YouthBank grant themes and decide which youth projects to support,
  • Ensure the views of youth are heard by City officials, state legislators and the community at large and play a key decision-making role,
  • Strengthen your leadership skills, expand your network, and build your power!

How can I join the Youth Commission?

The application period for 2016-2017 has closed. Please check back in Spring 2017 for new applications.

Membership details:

  • Youth Commissioners must be enrolled in high school and reside in Saint Paul.
  • The Youth Commission meets every Monday night and needs members who can regularly attend and actively participate.
  • Most meetings take place at the Central Library in downtown Saint Paul. Each Youth Commissioner receives an unlimited Metro Transit pass to get to and from meetings.

Apply for a 2017 YouthBank Grant!

Are you a young person with a great idea for a project benefiting your community? Need funds for it? Apply for YouthBank funding! 

The Youth Commission is partnering with Youthprise to be a YouthBank site. A YouthBank is a youth-led grantmaking organization that channels money into projects that will improve the quality of life of local communities. It is also a process of working with young grantmakers that encourage and train them as they develop essential life skills and increase their employability. YouthBank grantmaking committees set themes, create application procedures and criteria, undertake publicity work, interview young people, write reports to assist decision-making, and engage in the followup work to learn from what has or has not worked. 

YouthBank puts money directly in the hands of young people who decide how it will be spent. This year, the Youth Commission is funding projects that fall into the follow themes: 

  • Access to Mental Health Services Among LGBT+ Youth
  • Combating Heteronormativity in Schools
  • Increasing Awareness and Education about Domestic Violence Among Youth
  • Increasing Achievement Among Immigrant and Low-Income Youth
  • Preventing Youth Gang Violence
  • Let’s Stop Youth Homelessness

If your project does not fit well under any of these themes, you will be expected to explain why it is important to you and your community. 

Applications are due January 27, 2017.

YouthBank Saint Paul: 2015-2016 Grant Cycle

In 2015-2016, the Youth Commission set grant themes of LGBTQIA+ education and empowerment, racial equity, and immigration. They supported two projects with a total of $9,500: 

  • BOAT (Building Our Alliances Together) - In this project, participants came together over spring break to build a kayak in partnership with Urban Boatbuilders, and attended youth-led social justice workshops.
  • The Binder Project - Youth leaders bought and distributed binders to transmales so that they could more safely bind their breasts. 

Watch for applications for funding from the 2016-2017 YouthBank grant cycle! They'll be distributed in late September/early October 2016.

Past Youth Commission Projects

  • Distributing free Metro Transit passes as part of a study to students and Central and Harding, and collecting data about how frequently they used their passes, and what they used them for. The Commissioners presented their findings to the Metropolitan Council, the Mayor's Educational Leadership Team, and the Saint Paul Public Schools School Board and made the case for more accessible transit for youth in Saint Paul.
  • Working to prevent bullying at Arlington Hills Community Center. The Youth Commissioners bought an anti-bullying backpack and taught youth about peer mediation. They also partnered with TruArtSpeaks to provide spoken word workshops for youth, and hosted an Open Mic night with Brother Ali and Guante about "Bigotry: The Root of Bullying." 
  • Educating peers about sex trafficking. The Youth Commission donated $11,000 to 180 degrees, and hosted and led a sex trafficking conference at Washington Tech to teach their peers about the who, what, where, when, why, and how of sex trafficking, and to provide tools for combatting the problem in Saint Paul.

Keep up with the Youth Commission on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, contact coordinators Tabitha Mitchell and Lisle Bertsche.