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Mayor’s Cabinet on Young People
Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - - 3:00 p.m. - - A101

Present: Pat Burger, Janelle Regimbal, Lisa Berger, Kayla Erickson, Mayor Brown, Pete Haga, Deb Thompson, Mary Lien, Jody Thompson, John Packett, Dr. Larry Nybladh, Carma Hanson.

I. Welcome
II. Introductions

Mayor Brown welcomed all to the meeting and everyone introduced themselves and stated what agency or group they represented.

III. Agency Report on Youth-related Activities

Pat Burger, United Way, stated that United Way has changed the away from the four focus areas that they have used in the past and instead gone to three building blocks – Education, Income, and Health. She explained that the reason for the change was that they are working to move resources to target specific issues within the community and that the changes will now allow for some agencies that may not be viewed as typical United Way agencies to come in and access some of the available funds to promote programs that target needs of the community. Funds will be given out through three ways – as community impact grants, community opportunity grants, and donor directed funds. She explained that they have also gotten a Bremer Grant to do a needs analysis which has not been done in the community for several years.

Deb Thompson, YMCA, reported that she and Mary Lien had put together a survey to obtain information on youth volunteer opportunities from nonprofits and Burger had mailed the questionnaire to nonprofits, however have only received 5 responses back. She stated that have sent the questionnaire out a couple of times and will now be working on making some personal calls to see if we can get more responses back.

Thompson also reported that the YMCA had conducted their Counselor in Training Program this summer and had 29 youth participate, which is the highest number ever. Mary Lien had 175 in Helping Hands this summer and commented that it took a lot of work and face to face relationship building to get that program going, as some are skeptical of what the kids can do. Burger suggested that perhaps this would be a good project for a UND intern to take on in the fall.

Carma Hanson, Altru/Safe Kids, stated that they have been doing a lot of work on pedestrian safety this summer including grant writing. She explained that North Dakota got $1 million in Safe Routes to School funds that could be granted to projects in the state and that have gone through 3 cycles and first year got one grant for infrastructure and 2nd year got one of three or four that were given out for infrastructure projects. She also informed the group that they received a FedEx grant for $10,000, of which 10 are given out annually and we received one for each of the last four or five years. She noted that the installation of the permanent radar signs near Lewis & Clark School has been completed and that the signs also collect traffic and speed data which will be useful for future analysis. Other projects that are being completed are more ramps going in and crosswalk painting and praised the great job that the Street Dept. has been doing to get these all done before the school year begins. Safe Kids is also working on a Sharing the Roadway campaign which addresses both youth and adult users of the roadways.

Hanson continued that one area of concern is that they have lost funding for the passenger safety seat program that has been in place for several years and is very popular. She explained that General Motors has been the funding source for the program and with the current economy for the automaker it was one program that they have cut. Through the program that they have been running they have gotten the car seat misuse rate down to 50% and are working to find an alternate funding source to keep the program going.

Dr. Larry Nybladh, Superintendent of Grand Forks Public Schools, reported that school will be opening in two weeks and also are concerned with pedestrian safety. He commented that have crossing guards at many schools and most are volunteers. He noted that research shows that only 42% stop at a crosswalk and need to work on improving that percent.

Jodi Thompson, Asst. Superintendent of Grand Forks Public Schools, noted that installation of stoplights at 47th Ave S and South Washington St. are underway which may help traffic in that area. He inquired about the 17th Ave S road project, as it runs by two schools and could have large impact on traffic flow. Haga replied that timing of that project was due to stimulus funding received and need to complete under a particular timeline to be eligible to receive the funding and that plans are to complete in the school area prior to opening of school is possible. Haga added that next area to be worked on will be University Avenue and also trying to get that done before opening of UND if possible.

IV. Youth Commission Update

Group discussed that need to work on direction, focus, organization and communication in regards to the commission, had some involvement with UND youth last year and perhaps add more this year, also need more diversity in the group and give them some training on how to conduct a meeting. Jodi Thompson commented that school district has applied for a grant that would provide some funding for a part time position that could work with reestablishing groups within each schools, similar to what the Answer work groups were, and then each school could elect a representative from their group to go to the Youth Commission meeting each month. They suggested that perhaps the City could hire the same individual to work with the Youth Commission and serve as facilitator for the monthly commission meetings, with an anticipated cost to the City of $3,000 to $3,500.

Mary Lien stated that the grant is from Drug Free School program and would fund a facilitator to run monthly meetings within each school. She gave a brief history of The Answer that used to have groups within each school and how they functioned. She stated that then the group at each school will elect from their membership someone to represent them at the monthly meetings at City Hall and that it may get better representation and good tie in with student leadership which is the district theme this year. Jodi Thompson added that the facilitator will also be available to work with the youth within the schools and assist with communication. The hope is that the City would commit funds to then tie the facilitator into the monthly meetings at City Hall. Mayor Brown stated that they could look into whether funding could be provided. Pat Burger stated that for 2010 there would not be United Way funds available, but for subsequent years there may be a way to receive grant funds to cover costs in the future.

Haga commented that will be great to try the pilot out with a facilitator in the schools and could possibly find funding from the City, but would also like to explore if any other partners on the commission would be interested in assisting, as if you are willing to commit dollars it is a good buy in to the mission. Pat Burger added that perhaps if the City could help start this year and then allow time for others to step up for future years, as at this time many organizations are in their last quarter and may be hard for them to find dollars for a new program. Carma Hanson suggested that perhaps someone from the churches may also be interested in joining this effort.

Regimbal suggested that perhaps look at Fargo’s Youth Leadership Program by their chamber also for ideas. Lundmark commented that our Chamber used to have a youth program, but ran into a problem with getting enough youth to register for the program to be able to hold it and switched focus to the Choices program that is done within the schools and currently offered at Sacred Heart and East Grand Forks Schools and looking to maybe add Grand Forks at some time.

Lien stated that she used to attend the pastoral ecumenical meeting that was held with all denominations, but not sure if that is still meeting or not. Hanson thought it was and would look for contact information.

Nybladh stated that program will go forward and funding will be located, and feels it is important to keep moving ahead and also that this body continue to meet regularly. Haga, Lien and Jody Thompson will meet and review facilitator proposal.

V. Next Meeting Date/Agenda

The group set the next meeting for Wednesday, September 9 at 3:00 p.m. at City Hall Room A101.

Haga commented that his concern with City being funding source is if a different Mayor is in office they could decide not to fund it.

The group discussed other potential groups that should be asked to participate in the cabinet. Potential members suggested were: someone from church community, Students Today Leaders Forever.

VI. Other

Janelle Regimbal explained that Lutheran Social Services has funded some of their at risk youth behavior programs with Title V funds and have been notified that they have lost those funds due to budget cuts. They have an opportunity to secure some other funding, however that sponsor requires that a local coalition agree to serve as a local policy board for the at risk programs including their day report, BOSS program and transition program. She gave a brief overview of the programs and reviewed the plan with the group. She stated that based on the agencies participating on the Cabinet and their focus on youth in the community it seemed like a good fit to serve. Mayor Brown agreed that it does appear to fall in the purview of the group.

Motion by Pat Burger, Second by Deb Thompson, that the Mayor’s Cabinet on Young People serve as a local policy board for the designated programs of Lutheran Social Services, contingent on review and approval of City Attorney. Aye: All. Motion Carried.

Meeting adjourned 4:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherie Lundmark
Admin Spec Sr