MAYOR’S CABINET ON YOUNG PEOPLE
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - - A101 - - 3:00 p.m.
Deb Thompson, Dean Opp, Pete Haga, Janelle Regimbal, Carrie Knutson, Karen Axvig, Mary Lien, Lisa Martinez(United Way), Hailey of Safe Kids, Pete Haga, Terry Bjerke
Opp reported that SPA is gearing up for summer performances, enrollment is up from this time last year, and looking at a new site at Lake Agassiz for expansion as well as a special ed add on to the program.
Lien reported that Helping Hands is already 2/3 full, that there is a cap on the number of volunteers that they can take due to both agency needs and supervision numbers. There is a strong special ed component and they have also expanded to a site in the northend and will be meeting at Valley for first time this year. She explained that the next move will be to to hit harder in high school, as there are some sites that could use volunteers, but require 16 and older volunteers – Altru and humane society.
Safe Kids is looking at a May roll out of a national campaign focusing on hyperthermia and that they have partnered with a local parent that lost a child as a result of hyperthermia. The roll out includes window stickers and local story from both the mom’s and dad’s point of view. All of this information can be provided for inclusion in agency newsletters, home day care association, head start, healthy families, etc. Those interested can contact Safe Kids and Safe Kids will also forward information to Pete Haga to distribute to all cabinet members. Safe kids asks that no agencies publicly distribute the information until after the national roll out date of May 17.
Lisa Martinez reported that United Way recently released their annual report with information on agencies that received grants and shows there are some different agencies receiving assistance this year and some different uses for funds that in previous years. The results of community needs assessment were also recently released. The community voiced concerns and also provided potential ways they would like to see those addressed. All results are posted on the United Way website -
Karen Axvig commented that she has been impressed with Youth Commission members and their participation at the meetings and too bad school year ending when they are at such a comfort level with each other for communicating. They are currently working on conducting some surveys, one for input into activities for youth to include in the wellness center, and a second to provide input to begin a youth activities night program in conjunction with a University organization. The youth have been candid with sharing concerns regarding driving and parking issues near school areas, which they discussed with the police department and Safe Kids. Other concerns that have been discussed this year were bullying, which is a big problem to students and they are tired of it, would like more education for those that might be bullied to help them deal with the problem. They also noted that there is an increased use of profanity among youth. She added that the Youth Commission is a great program which enhances the kids, schools and community and believe that it should continue for next year. She would also like to see if there is a way to make it a more seamless program so that youth don’t lose momentum due to lack of meetings over the summer, but not sure how to accomplish that.
Pete Haga commented that both surveys look promising and there is good buyin from youth that there is interest in their ideas and being part of planning on wellness center. Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF) is involved and will be helping to work on night life type activity program for youth to start up in the fall. There may be some challenges to get the program started such as location, and may be a great opportunity for cabinet members to chip in and become involved and perhaps even some not involved in the cabinet. There has been discussion of a site at UND, but that could create a transportation issue for some youth. Haga noted that the Youth Commission met earlier today and will have next meeting on May 19, with Cabinet meeting that afternoon.
Carrie Knutson reported that they are preparing for 4-H summer programs including camps, junior master gardeners program, having community garden and working to involve the immigrant population, and organizing for GF County Fair.
Janelle Regimbal reported that LSS is at capacity for their at risk programs and have been very busy. They are looking for funds for next year and finding it harder than usual to secure those funds so are also looking for new sources. They have been working with legislators for programs that would look at better alternatives to abortion for young people that can access services to either parent or adopt, possibly with home visitation models. She noted that only 4 counties in North Dakota have Healthy Families Program and are pushing hard for that to expand. Healthy Families provides services to families from prenatal until the child attains 3 years of age. They are looking at federal grants, but also looking at funding through health care legislation state dollars with no match and will be meeting with the State again next week.
Deb Thompson reported that are enrolling for day camp program for school age youth, and counselors in training programs. They have been notified of funds for mentoring programs and are working with NDSU and RSVP+. These programs would target youth that are affected by having parents that are incarcerated, but noted that she has learned that based on criteria could actually serve any youth in Grand Forks due to the affect it has on youth when their friends or classmates have parents that are incarcerated. The program funds people to work with youth and they are also looking to recruit people to create a coalition within state to establish best practices. On another topic, YMCA is still looking for volunteers for their upcoming road race.
Pete Haga reported that the City is working on this year’s 100 Best Communities for Young People application from America’s Promise organization. He explained that the City has received the award in each of the last three rounds of the award and had been told they had a lifetime designation since were selected all years, but now received information and were encouraged to continue to apply this year. The focus this year is based on the national focus on school drop out rates, which is difficult for us as not a problem in our school district. The application is due the end of May and he is looking for information from all groups where you feel would help the application be successful. During the first two applications we cited The Answer, and have also used our immunization programs and healthy start. Possibly could look at including more information on our intervention and pass programs at the high schools as ways our community works to assist youth so that we don’t have a drop out problem. He added that there may not be funds associated with the award this year, but the recognition is nice for our community and a good way to recognize those groups that make the community better due to their efforts, as well as being a marketing point used by the Chamber, Regional Economic Development Foundation and others to promote the community. He send out copies of the completed application from the last round and would appreciate the cabinet members updated sections where they pertain to their agencies and returning to him for compilation. Haga noted that we are still the only community in North Dakota to receive the designation so far, which sometimes gives us an edge in the application process.
Janelle Regimbal commented that the BOSS program may be something to include and that this year there is for the first time ever a drop out prevention summit in Bismarck and will forward information on both.
Cabinet Members were encouraged to submit information to Pete Haga as soon as possible with the hopes that they could review a draft of the completed application at the May 19 meeting.
Pete Haga asked if any Cabinet Members were interested in doing a presentation at the May Youth Commission meeting. Janelle Regimbal volunteered to come and share some information on Luther Social Services and will address their at risk programs in a 5 minute presentation. Karen Axvig will promote this during the YORS meetings so youth have time to think of questions, etc. before youth commission meeting.
The next meeting of the Mayor’s Cabinet will be on May 19 at 3:00 p.m. in A101.
The group discussed the need to bring together a member of each coalition in the region – substance abuse groups, safe and drug free schools, etc for discussion on how to respond to the funding challenges that have come up and also to become more aware of what each other is doing. Pete Haga will visit with the Mayor about adding any suggested groups to the Cabinet.
Pete Haga reported that there has been a request made for a port-a-potty for the skate park. Some concerns have been voiced because of lack of supervision and potential problems. Some commented that there are also restroom facilities that are unsupervised in the parks and should be similar.
Dean Opp encouraged members to attend Grand Cities Idol next week at the Chester Fritz. There is great youth talent in the community and this event showcases it.
Meeting adjourned 4:00 p.m.
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