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Community Members Volunteer To Help North Mpls. Youth

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Despite the tough stories you see coming out of North Minneapolis, there are a lot of people in that community who are reaching out and helping young people.

Flashing police lights are often seen in north Minneapolis. But there’s also a different kind of light that’s shining bright — a ray of hope.

“The children are eager to learn,” said Steve Jackson.

He has been coaching basketball and baseball in the city for 25 years. This year, he’s coaching the Jaguars with the Boys and Girls Club, a group of kids 12 years and under.

He not only teaches children skills they can use on the field, but success they can use off the field.

“It’s not about the game of winning. I could care less if I win one game, it’s really about them learning to deal with their emotions how to deal with their anger,” Jackson said.

He knows firsthand what some of the kids are going through.

“I grew up on my own, in the streets at 13, I was living in the streets on my own,” he said.

This fall, Thomas Berry started a mentoring group called S.W.I.M. It stands for Study and Work with Intentions of Motivation.

“Instead of being just reactionary to problems in the community, we want to be proactive,” he said. “Some of the children, they come from broken homes, some of the children definitely want to be successful in life, but they don’t feel like anyone has their back.”

Mentors are made up of north Minneapolis residents who say they are tired of just sitting back while criminals take over their neighborhoods. Berry is familiar with the northside.

“I came up over north, I know the environment, I know these children deserve to be able to feel free to walk around in this community, they also deserve to be taught things to be successful,” he said.

Volunteers say the sky is the limit for the youth.

“We want all the children to be over a 3.0 GPA,” he said. “We want them to go off to college and become job creators in the neighborhood.”

Sonya Goins, Producer
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