What has been happening since the Youth Voice survey?

Courtney Johnson, Community Engagement Coordinator leads session with Itasca Networks for Youth participants. In the spring of 2017, SPARK, in partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension hired an Itasca County Community Engagement Coordinator.  The goal of this position was to utilize the University of Minnesota Extension resources to directly address youth needs in Itasca County.  The position [...]

By |October 17th, 2018|High quality out-of-school programs and activities|

How can we help all Itasca area youth succeed?

SPARK – from 2014 survey results to action Imagine if youth in the Itasca Area felt valued and supported by all – family, school and community to reach their full potential. In fact, a group of community members has been working to make that vision a reality.  The work began with a series of community conversations hosted by the Itasca [...]

By |October 11th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Itasca youth leaders spark innovation, receive award

Courtney Johnson (left), Becci Rasmussen (center) and Jennifer Alger were three of six U of M Extension youth staff from across the state who received the Associate Dean’s Award for Courage and Innovation. They are leading the way in changing youth programs in Warba, Grand Rapids, Deer River and Nashwauk. Three Itasca area youth development staff are delivering [...]

Out-of-School Programs Prepare for Quality Improvement Planning

On January 22, many of the Itasca Area afterschool programs will participate in a quality improvement planning day. The process is called M3 -- Making Meaning from Multiple Data sets. Jan Derdowski and Courtney Johnson will lead participants through a process to identify changes they can make so that their programs are more effective serving young people. Program teams are [...]

By |December 28th, 2017|Events, High quality out-of-school programs and activities|

Deer River Afterschool Champions collect awards from Ignite Afterschool

As Itasca County joined the national celebration of Lights on Afterschool last month, we were thrilled to have two of our local afterschool champions recognized by Ignite Afterschool, Minnesota’s statewide afterschool network. Kayleen MonacelliAfterschool ChampionYouthWorker/Practitioner Category Kayleen Monacelli from Deer River Community Education and the Deer River Boys and Girls Club was awarded Afterschool Champion in the Youth [...]

SPARK Community Engagement Coordinator November update

Two months into the school year, Courtney Johnson, SPARK's Community Engagement Coordinator, updated the SPARK Council on her work with young people in our community. She's currently working directly with students at Northern Lights Community School (NLCS), the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) in Grand Rapids, Bigfork High School, and Hill City High School.  At NLCS and the ALC the program [...]

By |November 2nd, 2017|Spark|

Programming for youth? Up your game with Youth Program Quality Basics training

Itasca Networks for Youth will be sponsoring a Youth Program Quality (YPQ) Basics training for all Itasca Area Youth providers on December 15 from 9:00 to 2:00 at the University of Minnesota Extension classroom.  This training is open to anyone who works with youth outside of school in the Greater Itasca Area. Participants will dig into the specific practices as defined [...]

Itasca Networks for Youth: 10 years strong and supporting kids afterschool

Today is the national celebration of Lights On Afterschool.  SPARK is celebrating all the great afterschool happenings in our area with the Itasca Networks for Youth (INY).  Courtney Johnson, Community Engagement Coordinator with SPARK and U of M Extension offers this blog post to highlight how the network advances quality afterschool opportunities for kids in our area.  From Courtney Johnson: This [...]

Where in the World is Afterschool?

Itasca Networks for Youth (INY) builds high quality afterschool programs for all kids in the greater Itasca Area. In 2016, INY adopted the quality principles described in “Believe it. Build it.  Minnesota’s Guide to Effective Afterschool Practices.”  You can learn more about the guide here.  By adopting these principles, INY is dedicated to recognizing the wide variety of ways and [...]