by Jay Klyman, VISTA Leader
Greetings readers! This is Jay Klyman writing. I am the new VISTA Leader for the 2016-2017 cohort of C3 Twin Cities! Emma Olson is off to graduate school at the University of Minnesota through the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. We at C3 wish her all the best and I feel so lucky to be, as they say, “standing on the shoulders of giants”.
Even though goodbyes are tough, we are thrilled to welcome our new VISTA cohort, pictured below! Their backgrounds range all the way from parents to social justice advocates to world travelers! There are 14 of us and we come from all over. Denver, Seattle, Illinois, rural Minnesota, Russia, just to name a few of the places our cohort calls home.
There is a lot to accomplish in a year but we like to do big and dream bigger at the Phillips Family Foundation. Through partnership with Twin Cities LISC and Pohlad Family Foundation, we are collaborating to build a bolder and brighter future in three main areas: education, opportunity youth, and bridges to career. These might feel disjointed, but as a team we talk a lot about overlapping systems. Our team is collaborating to:
- Empower Minneapolis students to succeed in strong schools at:
- Greater Twin Cities United Way
- Prodeo Academy
- KIPP Academy
- Friendship Academy of the Arts
- Venture Academy
- Hiawatha Academies
- Rekindle the dreams of youth who are disconnected from school and employment by connecting them to career pathway and post-secondary options at:
- Minneapolis/Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness
- Hennepin Health Foundation/MVNA
- 180 Degrees
- Pohlad Family Foundation
- Build bridges to prosperity, enabling adults who have not graduated high school discover their career pathway at:
- Eastside Financial Center
- Project for Pride in Living
- Twin Cities LISC
We’ve been keeping busy in August! As part of our month long orientation, we thought it was important to get our VISTA members grounded in the current demographic landscape of the Twin Cities—MN Compass provided us with some great data, while artist/activist/storyteller Ricardo Levins Morales bridges the past to current social justice work happening locally. We’ve explored our different focus areas with practitioners and leaders in the field like Tawanna Black of Northside Funders Group, Eva Song Margolis of Lutheran Social Services and Julia Freeman of Voices for Racial Justice.
But, we’re not just about all the serious stuff—we like to balance that out with some team building activities. We ventured on a scavenger hunt of the Twin Cities, took a bike tour led by resident bike expert Joel around Northeast Minneapolis. And we even managed to fit in a couple of happy hours at local breweries. This is an amazing cohort filled with dreamers and do-ers who also know how to have fun!
If you became energized and excited while reading about this, you can have the opportunity to hear from all of our VISTA’s on our C3 Twin Cities blog. You can also follow all of our activity on our C3 Twin Cities Facebook page. On this page you can see pictures, which convey the community we’re building and the inspiring trainers we’re bearing witness to!
It was great to e-meet all of you reading this! If you have any questions, please feel to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org!