McVay Youth VOICE finds new home!

By sharing afterschool and summer program opportunities with youth and families and helping program providers get youth to their programs, Sprockets helps ensure that all youth in Saint Paul have access to high-quality programs. This access is especially important for low-income youth and youth of color who face a large opportunity gap.

Last spring, Hamline University’s afterschool program, the McVay Youth Partnership (Youth VOICE) ran into a problem. One of their partner organizations could no longer provide programming space for their afterschool activities, leaving them without a home in the North End. The North End has a large youth population and fewer opportunities for youth programs than other neighborhoods in Saint Paul.

McVay Youth VOICE is in their 13th year providing after-school programming for urban middle and high school youth in partnership with local churches at 4 sites in neighborhoods around Saint Paul.  A diverse and dedicated cohort of Hamline undergraduate students serve as mentors and role models, providing youth with homework help, opportunities for recreation, cooking, arts and crafts, leadership development and a safe, fun place to spend time after school.

Jane Krentz, the Director of the McVay Youth Partnership, is actively connected with Sprockets and relied on the network to help find a new programming space. Jane attends the Sprockets North End and Friends Neighborhood Network Team, a group of youth workers in the North End who share program information and resources to strengthen programming in that neighborhood. Through her connections there, Jane found a new home for Youth VOICE – at Washington Technology Magnet School.

Jane reflected, “We knew there was a need to serve youth in this neighborhood, but couldn’t find a church in the area to serve as a host site. We are thrilled to be serving youth at our new site at Washington Tech. The Washington staff has been so helpful and welcoming. We have served 68 different youth since we launched the site in mid-September, with an average of 26 youth per day. We particularly celebrate the diversity of the youth who attend. We have Karen, Somali, African American and Latino youth, and they all interact and enjoy each other’s company. It’s beautiful! Thanks to Sprockets, we are very happy in our new home!”

If you are interested in learning more or getting involved in one of the four Neighborhood Network Teams, contact Jocelyn Wiedow at jwiedow@ywcaofstpaul.org.