Print VersionStay Informed
Wednesday, March 17, 2009 - - 3:00 p.m.

Present: Mayor Brown, Axvig, Lien, L. Burger, Knutson, Nybladh, Opp, Hanson, Thompson.

Agency Report by Members:

Knutson reported that their 4-H is gearing up for speech and demonstration event in March and planning ahead for summer camps.

Burger reported that student government recently held elections and new officers are now in place, students are on spring break this week so campus is quiet, and gearing up for this year’s Big Event on May 1.

Axvig stated that the YORS groups have been meeting within the schools and are continuing to work on the New American Tote filling service project. She added that in this month’s meetings several youth commented that it was a good experience to attend the State of the City speech and have been able to relate things they’re learning in school to issues addressed in the speech.

Lien reported that preparations are underway for this year’s Helping Hands program which provides service opportunities for youth ages 12-18, youth contributed over 7,500 hours of service last year. Lien added that she has written 7 grants, so far received notification that we will be receiving 2, other 5 are still pending.

Opp reported that had over a 1,000 youth participating last year in SPA program and gearing up for another year. Community is the theme for this year’s program and looking at doing a community clean up day at the end of June.

Nybladh noted that a Red River grad won an Oscar at this year’s ceremony. He continued that the organizational analysis is nearing completion and will be presented late April and then district will develop a response to the plan, two capital improvement projects have been approved and are moving forward with music and theatre arts projects at both Red River and Central, School Board elections will be held in June and 5 of 9 seats are open, so far 2 incumbents have filed for reelection and encouraged anyone interested to contact Mr. Hutchison for information.

Hanson introduced Nikki, nursing intern that was accompanying her today. Safe Kids is working on a hyperthermia educational campaign that will begin May 17 launch, received a FedEx grant for $10,000 for placement of electronic speed limit signs on 4th Ave S near Phoenix Elementary and noted was 6th year that have received a FedEx grant. Safe Kids is also one of 20 receiving a grant towards sports injury education. She explained that there is an increase in the number and severity of injuries from contact sports and at younger ages than seen before due to the increase in the number of youth participating. The campaign will work with Genoway from UND and hope is to increase education of parents and coaches on return to play and practice issues to increase safety for youth. There is currently a 10 year study of head injury being conducted as well. Altru Here for Life expo will be on April 17 at the Betty Engelstad Arena and encourage all to check it out. Safe Kids has been working with the City on bringing forward a helmet ordinance requiring youth under 14 to wear a helmet when riding bikes. The age of 14 was used as it would cover all in elementary and middle school. At the state level, Safe Kids has been working on getting a graduated driving license put into place for youth and noted that we are one of few states that doesn’t have some type of restriction on young drivers.

Nikki, intern with Safe Kids, stated that she is interested in public nursing and possibly being a school nurse and that finds this meeting interesting. She commented that community has great programs, but often a transportation issue to get youth to or, from one to another, activity especially with working parents.

Thompson has been working with Park District on their capital campaign for the Wellness Center, working on what should be included in the new facility as well as what changes could be made at the existing YMCA building, would like to keep youth ideas and input part of the idea and try meet some of those needs that have been expressed. YMCA is also working on Adventure Camp program for the summer.

Review of YORS Meetings and Youth Commission Activities

Youth Commission will have reps at the City Council meetings April 5 and May 3 to give report on their activities. Commissioners are working on a service project for the New American Program. Youth will remain on the Commission unless they move to a new school or choose to leave which should provide for some continuity in the group and its projects can build from one year to the next.

Other Current Youth Issues in Grand Forks

New American Youth in Grand Forks –

Group discussed that when there has been training and education on special needs that new Americans need when they come into our community, but that training has been more for adults/staff at schools, and maybe should have included some student education on things to expect as well. There may be a need for some community-wide training as well. Group discussed that often need to work with youth to make a change in mindset and behaviors and they bring those skills home to adults.

Group discussed the bike buddies program that is in place and helps with some transportation issues that new American youth have. Youth need to become active to lessen problem behaviors and make them feel more a part of the community. There is a grant that has been written to help fund those youth participating in the summer soccer program. Thompson reported that there has been an increased number of referrals to the mentoring program and have been looking to UND students for help with matches due to some language issues. Lien pointed out that have a good beginning and advanced English language program, but need to look at the intermediate step to fill in some gaps. Nybladh commented that they recently surveyed in the ELL classes and right now there are 28 languages in Red River involved in ELL. The group discussed that also some of those youths are staying within their ethnic groups at lunch and is noticeable in the lunch areas and we had planned for better integration with other students. Sooner that they can become a part of the community, the less problem behaviors develop and also less chance of getting involved in gang-like scenarios that are prevalent in many of the countries that these groups come from. There is a long wait list for services and not enough funding to increase staff to accommodate the need. The group discussed that there needs to be conversation with New American Services that places families on capacity that community has to serve these populations, as we may be at our limit. One of the problems is that some come to settle with other family that is already here and increases the number from those that are placed through an agency.

Cabinet Member Presentations at Youth Commission Meeting – Volunteer for April Meeting

Lundmark stated that at each Youth Commission meeting we would like a cabinet member to come and talk about their agency to increase the knowledge and awareness of what is available in the community. Anyone interested please contact Haga or Lundmark. Hanson expressed interest and would be good fit as driving and parking concerns and youth alcohol issues are both on the agenda for the next Youth Commission meeting. She will check her schedule and be in contact.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherie Lundmark
Admin Spec Sr