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Positive Impacts of Itasca Networks for Youth

The most common response among members regarding Itasca Networks for Youth’s value to Itasca County is: “How the network was able to create opportunities for programs to collaborate and have open discussions, ultimately eliminating or reducing siloed programming.” Members say prior to the formation of Itasca Networks for Youth there was a culture where there were “turf wars” and limited [...]

By |November 14th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Itasca Networks for Youth – committed to forming partnerships

Itasca Networks for Youth was formed in the late 2000’s to develop a collaboration or network for out-of-school time providers to share programming that was offered in different organizations. Organizations felt a network would be beneficial to help reduce program scheduling conflicts, create partnerships, develop networking opportunities, increase awareness of local programs and continue to support youth beyond Invest Early™ [...]

By |November 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|

SPARK in action through Itasca Network’s for Youth

Itasca Networks for Youth committed to continuous improvement of afterschool programs Across the nation, nearly one-fifth of children in the United States attend public schools in rural communities.  Youth-serving organizations that provide out-of-school time programming for these kids face many barriers. The vast geography of the county, the economic struggles, cultural differences and the varying school district sizes all create [...]

Fresh survey results this fall – Itasca Area youth taking the Youth Voice Survey this fall

Communities will soon learn how a focus on providing positive, sustained connections with youth is paying off.  Itasca Area youth are taking the Youth Voice Survey again this fall.  Results will be shared publicly in late November. SPARK is committed to ensuring every young person in the Itasca Area has what they need to be successful.  Positive, well-rounded, and trustworthy [...]

By |October 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|

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|
  • 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.

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 [...]