YMCA Supports Youth Facing Barriers to Achieve Education Success

  • Minnesota has among the lowest graduation rates in the country for youth in underserved communities, ranking 45th to 50th out of 50 in graduation rates for Native American, Asian American, Black and Hispanic youth.
  • Studies show that poor school attendance makes it difficult for young people to succeed and limits their options for future success. Missing just 10 percent of the school year can drastically affect a student’s academic success.

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, provides support and resources for Minnesota youth facing barriers to academic success, including truancy, homelessness and involvement in the juvenile justice system or foster care system.  

Studies show that staying connected to school is critical to academic success. By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school – and Minnesota has some of the lowest graduation rates in the country among underserved communities. 

“At the Y, we work collaboratively with youth to identify challenges and goals related to their education,” said Lisa Pung Michaelson, program executive for the Y. “The Y meets young people where they are and provides access to resources and to a network of caring adults who can help them build skills for the future and connect to educational, enrichment and employment opportunities.”

Pung Michaelson explained that the Y offers several programs that focus on education support, including:

  • Be@School, a program that engages young people who have been identified as truant from their schools and helps them reconnect. YMCA life coaches work with youth and their families to identify and address barriers preventing school attendance. They collaborate with the young people to set and identify ways to achieve educational goals.
  • Youth Education Success (YES), a pilot program in collaboration with Hennepin County Child Protection Services that supports the education of young people transitioning into out-of-home placement. YMCA youth support specialists help provide support and consistency through times of transition and work collaboratively with youth to develop an Education Support Plan, achieve their academic goals and get involved in enrichment activities.

See how the Y connects young people to academic and extracurricular resources and empowers them to achieve success and set future goals – Supporting Education for Youth Facing Barriers.

Discover how Marchello brought his dedication and commitment to boxing back to the classroom with support from his Y life coach, Anna – Be@School: Marchello’s Story.

Learn how Michelle has gained access to the resources and support she needs to achieve her educational and career goals – Youth Education Success: Michelle’s Story.

YMCA Youth Intervention Services offers many additional programs to meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness, involvement with the juvenile justice system or foster care system, or other barriers. Among these services is the Youth Resource Line, a free resource staffed seven days a week by Y team members to assist youth ages 12 to 23 who are in need of community resources: 763-493-3052.

Because the Y is a leading nonprofit committed to helping all young people thrive, financial assistance is available to those in need. With the generous support of community members, the Y ensures that all have the opportunity to participate. Learn more about the Y’s Youth Intervention Services and other youth development programs.