Building a Strong Foundation for the Future of Our Region
Summer 2015

Twin Ports Youth Leadership Academy elevates young leaders thanks to community support

9th graders hone and implement leadership, teamwork skills

YYL class of 2015

The Youth Leadership Academy class of 2014-2015 on service project day,

including Duluth and Superior students and awesome volunteer adult mentors.


At first glance, St. Ann’s Residence serving older adults and Life House serving at-risk and homeless teens don’t appear to have much in common. In late May, however, both of these Duluth nonprofits received a day of volunteer service thanks to the Twin Ports Youth Leadership Academy.

The Youth Leadership Academy annually engages approximately 50 ninth graders from Duluth and Superior for a yearlong series of sessions designed to build confidence, hone team-building skills, and develop their innate leadership abilities. Guiding the youth are volunteer adult mentors from each community who donate their valuable time and talents.

teambuilding activity

The September orientation engaged the

students to interact and build confidence.

The year begins with an orientation and retreat that includes fun ice breakers and, of course food, which help the young people get to know one another. They come from all different schools including home schooling. The monthly meetings that follow focus on getting to know their communities; tapping their leadership potential; creative thinking and public speaking; and giving back through service. Capping off the year, the young people vote to select their service projects, plan their project day in great detail, fundraise, and spend a full Saturday to carry them out. This year, St. Ann’s Residence and Life House’s Sol House were chosen.

service project

The service project involved a whole host

of projects at St. Ann's Assisted Living.

“So much thought, heart, and soul go into the projects,” said Lynn Haglin, Vice President/KIDS PLUS Director.

“Watching the students grow over the year and seeing their talents and skills in action through the service project gives me great hope for the future of our communities,” she added.

At St. Ann’s, the young people cleaned and organized the library and other areas, painted and landscaped in the gardens, and hosted an ice cream social for residents complete with bingo and musical entertainment. A group of students also assembled furniture for Sol House, a new Life House program which provides safe, supportive housing for youth who are victims of sexual abuse and trafficking. It was a fantastic effort.

The students wrapped up their year with a banquet including parents, mentors, and sponsors there to congratulate them.

The Northland Foundation’s KIDS PLUS staff is completing student and mentor recruitment for the 2015-2016 school year. If you are interested in mentorship or sponsorship in this proven program, please contact us. Young leaders in our region are being nurtured through strong community support!

Youth Leadership Academy Sponsors

The students, mentors, families, and Northland Foundatiion staff deeply appreciate Twin Ports Youth Leadership Academy supporters.

Youth Leadership Sponsors

Project Day Donors

The following donors provided support for the St. Ann's and Life House service projects. Thank you to:

Amys Excavating • Andres Lucero • Badger Storage & Excavating • Belgian Club • Carla Meneghini • Cub Foods • Erbert & Gerbert’s • Eric and Kris Rish • Pam Sarvela • Fiona McKee • Heather Brouse • Jay Broman – Bridgeman’s • Jennifer Owens • Jodi Kronebusch • Killian McKee • Kurt Johnson • Lesa and Ray Radtke • Leslie Hanna • Maranda Rollins • Marcia & Frank Pitoscia • McDonalds • Pat Cronin • Target • Mike Jasper – Jasper Dry Wall • Nia Rideaux Family • Zane Bail • Nick and Jen Blix • Super One • Richard and Judith Davern • Wisconsin Public Service Foundation • Walmart • Northwest Outlet