2 01, 2019

SPARK’s sneak peak at the 2018 Youth Voices survey results

By |January 2nd, 2019|Spark, Uncategorized, Youth Voice|

On December 6th, SPARK hosted members of local community groups for a presentation of the preliminary results of the 2018 Youth Voices survey.   The survey tool was adapted from the 2014 tool based on extensive feedback from youth and community members.  This fall, more than 3,000 6th – 12th grade students from 11 Itasca-area public schools completed the survey.  The [...]

10 05, 2018

Itasca youth leaders spark innovation, receive award

By |May 10th, 2018|After High School, Meaningful Connections to the Community, Pathway, Spark, The School Years, Youth Voice|

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 [...]

2 11, 2017

SPARK Community Engagement Coordinator November update

By |November 2nd, 2017|Spark|

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 [...]

20 03, 2017

Courtney Johnson: a new SPARK to engage community

By |March 20th, 2017|Spark|

  Courtney Johnson bubbles with enthusiasm as she introduces herself around the community as the “new SPARK hire”.  The source of her enthusiasm? A strong desire to give back to the community that supported her in her early years. “I am an Itasca County native,” she said. “I attended Hill City School grades K-12, and I am a proud 2010 [...]

13 02, 2017

Funders unite to SPARK change

By |February 13th, 2017|Partner News, Spark|

We all know that old adage: it takes a village… Well, our “village” (of the entire Itasca area) is putting its money where its mouth is to ensure all Itasca Area’s young people have what they need to reach their goals. Nearly a half-dozen organizations have pitched in to make it possible for SPARK to reach its first major milestone [...]

20 12, 2016

Grand Rapids High School 9th Graders SPARK Action

By |December 20th, 2016|Pathway, Spark, The School Years, Youth Voice|

What is possible if we unleash the creativity of our 9th graders to solve the issues that concern them?  Last week, the Grand Rapids High School Civics students began diving into that question. With the support of their social studies teachers, the Grand Rapids High School’s 9th graders are rolling up their sleeves and digging into the results of the [...]

30 08, 2016

SPARK for a strong Itasca future

By |August 30th, 2016|Spark|

Mindy Nuhring is the Executive Director of River Grand Assisted Living and she Chairs the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Workforce Development Committee As youth in the community (somewhat!) eagerly anticipate the start of a new school year, the SPARK council and I are eager to start the next chapter of work that supports youth in all [...]

7 07, 2015

Youth lead the way in building strong communities

By |July 7th, 2015|Spark|

As community groups work with the Youth Voices survey results, we’ve learned from young people and those who work with young people that 9th grade is a crucial transition year.  Across the region, youth report decreasing participation in out-of-school time activities and report feeling less connected to their communities. In the Mind/Shift blog  Why 9th grade is the pivotal year for dropping out of [...]

8 06, 2015

Youth Sports Gets the Ball Rolling

By |June 8th, 2015|Arts physical activity and healthy living, High quality out-of-school programs and activities, Spark, The School Years|

Isaac Meyer is the Community Engagement Manager for KOOTASCA Community Action. He is currently working with Grand Rapids Area Leaders to start a Boys and Girls Club in the area. Itasca area student success work marked a milestone in May: for the first time ever, coaches and organizers of youth sports met to discuss their work. Over the [...]