Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Richfield Public Schools Will Expand Afterschool Opportunities for Students

Collaboration with YMCA wins $2.6 Million Grant to Bring Beacons Network to Richfield


August 26, 2019

(Richfield, Minnesota August 23, 2019)—The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, and Richfield Public Schools recently received a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the Minnesota Department of Education to expand afterschool and summer learning opportunities for Richfield students in grades K-12. The $2.6 million grant will launch a new Beacons Network in Richfield this fall.

The Beacons Network is an established and proven collaboration that brings together the nation’s largest youth development organizations: the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs and a local community and school district. In Minnesota, the Beacons Network has a 20-year history, serving more than 4,000 youth and 2,000 families in Minneapolis. Measurable results of the program demonstrate improved academic performance, better school attendance, and increased sense of belonging and connection to the community for Beacons students.

“The Beacons Network transforms schools into active youth and community centers,” Superintendent Steven Unowsky said. “I want to thank Dr. Leadriane Roby for bringing this opportunity to Richfield. I believe her proven experience with the program and the respect she has earned from collaborative partners and state education leaders strengthened our grant application. Richfield is fortunate to have her working tirelessly on behalf of our children and our community.”

The Beacons Network brings together collaborative partners focused on a collective vision of strengthening youth development. For the school’s contribution, Richfield Public Schools will provide strong principal leadership, instructional expertise, and dedicated space for after school and summer learning. Community partners will bring a high-quality team of diverse staff and Beacons alumni and a strengths-based youth development approach.

"Together with the YMCA, longtime Beacons Network partner the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities will collaborate with Richfield public schools to create opportunities for K-12 youth and close gaps in access to quality programming,” said Jennifer Wright Collins, executive director of the University YMCA and Beacons Network. “The Y is thrilled to build upon two decades of proven success with the Minneapolis Beacons Network as we now create an expanded vision for Beacons in the Twin Cities.”

The Beacons Network has four key components: ladders of leadership for youth, partnership with families and the community, “The Beacons Way” credo, and engaged learning. “It’s about developing the whole person: academic enrichment, career-college readiness, health, wellness, arts, cultural enrichment, family involvement, youth leadership and service. Our students will come to learn that our community needs them to bring their best selves forward everyday and learn to lead,” shared Dr. Leadriane Roby, assistant superintendent in Richfield Public Schools. “When students have a strong education and sense of purpose, they will rise to what is expected by the adults in their lives.”

“We are incredibly appreciative of this award and partnership with the Y, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, and MDE,” Unowsky stated. “The rich opportunities and real relationships the Beacons Centers provide will positively impact on our students and our community.”

Beacons Centers will open this fall at Centennial Elementary School, Richfield Middle School and Richfield High School. During year one of the three-year grant, the Beacons team will launch a network of partners and engage youth in program participation.


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