The goal of the KIDS PLUS Youth Leadership Program is to develop in young people the skills and capacity to serve their communities now and in the future. Together, youth members and volunteer adult mentors engage in a yearlong series of interactive workshops that build relationships and sharpen their leadership, communication, and team-building abilities.
The program year concludes with the youth planning and implementing a community service project. This project allows the young people to put into practice their knowledge and skills, promotes the power of youth-adult partnerships, and helps community members recognize youth as resources and leaders. Young people discover that they can make a difference!
Since 1998, more than 900 young people and 300 adult mentors have participated in Youth Leadership Academies offered in the communities of Hibbing-Chisholm; International Falls; Cloquet-Fond du Lac; the Quad Cities of Virginia, Mountain Iron, Eveleth, and Gilbert; Duluth; and Superior. Currently, the Youth Leadership Academy joins together ninth graders from the Twin Ports of Duluth, MN, and Superior, WI, which not only hones students' leadership skills but also strengthens the understanding and cooperation between the two communities.
The adult mentor component is one unique and special aspect of the Youth Leadership Academy. Mentors work with small groups of 8 to 10 young participants during the monthly meetings to provide guidance, encouragement, and a positive role model. From college-age to older adults, we welcome the interest of volunteers willing to help mold young leaders! Click here to read about one mentor, Tracy Bennett, and her experiences with Youth Leadership.
Donors are also critical to making this nine-month training opportunity possible each year. Donations of cash and in-kind services from businesses, service organizations, and individuals enable students to participate at no cost to their families. All program expenses – more than $1,100 per student, per year – are underwritten by the Northland Foundation and tax-deductible gifts from the community.
If you are interested in supporting the KIDS PLUS Youth Leadership Academy as a mentor or donor, please contact Jan Amys, Program Associate, or consider making a secure donation online through PayPal.