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 a unique backdrop for youth living in Itasca County. For all of these reasons, out-of-school time providers in Itasca County play a key role in the development of young people.

The Itasca Area has created a group of out-of-school time program providers called Itasca Networks for Youth (INY) to overcome barriers faced by youth in our community. The network’s mission is “ensuring that all Itasca Area youth have a safe, positive place to access a variety of experiences to develop the whole person”. To achieve their mission, the members are developing partnerships, networking, and training to enhance local programming for young people in the community.

Itasca Community College Upward Bound Director, Toni Wick works through an Itasca Networks for Youth training in January called Making Meaning out of Multiple Data sets (M3).

Itasca Community College Upward Bound Director, Toni Wick works through an Itasca Networks for Youth training in January called Making Meaning out of Multiple Data sets (M3).

Over the course of nearly a decade, Itasca Networks for Youth has provided a variety of networking and training opportunities for professionals who deliver afterschool and out-of-school programs, as well as strategically identifying methods and developing programs to address the needs of young people in the community.  In partnership with SPARK, Itasca Area Schools Collaborative, Blandin Foundation and the University of Minnesota, dedicate funds to support the Itasca Networks for Youth’s mission.

“We are fortunate to have Itasca Networks for Youth and partners in our community focused on the best interest of our young people,” says Courtney Johnson, Itasca County Community Engagement Coordinator.  “The commitment and the dedication of our afterschool and out-of-school time providers is creating quality experiences for young people across the county.”