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2010 Young Leaders Rising


A newspaper showcasing youth voice, action & engagement Shine On! is a publication of Community Education, Minneapolis Public Schools

Shine On! Breaks Boundaries

About this issue:

Shine On! Young Leaders Rising was recently highlighted at the National Youth Leadership Council’s Service-Learning Conference. This conference brought thousands of youth workers and students together to discuss service-learning around the world. A group in Cameroon, Africa contacted us to share their story of creating Community Across Boundaries: programs to protect children; door to door campaigns; programs for children in prisons and orphans; programs on education; programs for street children and those in child labor; programs on children and disability. CAPEC has a volunteer program that seeks to bring together young people from Europe and the United States to teach, work with handicapped and deaf children, teach computer skills to those living in rural areas, and to work with communities affected by HIV/AIDS. By doing so, CAPEC has not only created a ServiceLearning opportunity for their volunteers, but are working towards creating real and healthy communities across the boundaries of age, race, culture and stereotypes. l



ameroon Association for the Protection and Education of the Child (CAPEC) is a national non-government organization dedicated to the promotion of children’s welfare, especially rural children who suffer so much neglect, abuse, poor living conditions and a lack of basic rights. They enhance their human dignity and raise their physical and educational levels in a meaningful and lasting way. CAPEC seeks to build a community in which all children realize their full potential in a society that respects people’s rights and their dignity. They offer family support

Want to find out more about CAPEC? Check out their web page online at or send an email to or

Project Location: Cameroon, Africa Address: BP 20646, Yaounde, Cameroon Contact: Ajomuzu Collette Bekaku You can be highlighted in the next issue of Shine On! too—send your stories to us at


Building Community Across Boundaries............................. 6-7

Young Leaders Rising Managing Editors: Lily Thiboutot and Kelsey Schonning

Everyday Leaders............................. 8-9

Design & Production: Kirsten Perry

Self Confidence.................................. 10

ShineOn! Youth Editorial Board: Yasmin Awale, Sierra Carter, Sarah Ericson, Phoua Lor, Julia Lang, Mackenzie Neaton, Ben Nordquist, Vanessa Phillips, Annie Wood

Age.................................................. 11 Language.......................................... 12 This issue’s cover art by Shine On! Youth Editorial Board member Mackenzie Neaton.

Funding for Shine On! is provided in part by The Ganett Foundation. Check out our Service Learning website: service_learning.html


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We hope you will consider being a contributor to future issues of Shine On! Young Leaders Rising, as this paper is carried forward by the voices of people, all over Minneapolis, just like you. Enjoy reading! l

Send submissions to:

Inside this issue: Race & Culture................................. 4-5


he Youth Editorial Board at Shine On! had an interesting time working with this paper’s theme. Community Across Boundaries is an interesting concept, and the more we discussed it, the more influences we found of Minneapolis Public Schools breaking down walls. Whether it was race, culture, stereotypes, language, age or confidence, people all around us are consistently transcending those borders. While working with our content, we found overlapping borders and organizing the paper led to interesting discussions about how one boundary we create breaks through others. We thought it was important to dedicate an issue to emphasize those who work to overcome these boundaries, and showcase that their hard work is making a difference. Through the service they providing this community, Minneapolis Public Schools are overcoming obstacles every day.

Special thanks to: Janine Freij, Colleen Sanders, Jeri Ezaki, Kate Kampa, MPS teachers and employees, and all the student contributors.

Shine On! Submissions Minneapolis Community Education Youth Development 2225 East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55407 Inter-district School Mail: Minneapolis Community Education Youth Development Fax to: (612) 668-3945, Attn: Shine On! Managing Editor eMail us: Visit our Website: Shine_On.html

Stere ● types

Facing My Own Stereotypes Troiyana Fox, Grade 6 Anwatin Middle School

Have you ever felt as if you were summarized in only a matter of seconds, and the atmosphere you were in suddenly turned cold? Have you ever thought you knew about that new girl in class just by the way she walked, talked, or styled her hair? These situations all involve stereotyping.


nce a long time ago the whites discriminated against me. Once I had a white friend and she came to my house and I went to get something to drink. I took my iPod with me because I thought white people were snakes, and they were sneaky.

Mia Richie writes about how stereotypes leave the world never knowing the full potential of someone or something. Stereotyping leaves a rift in the community, barring it from overcoming even minor problems. You have to see a person’s values and way of thinking, and connect with their personality to make a truly accurate summarization of them. Communities face many different problems, and stereotyping shouldn’t be one of them.

So the next day she came over again, and I put my iPod away. I forgot where I put it and told her to get her white tail out of my house because she stole my iPod. Then, I said I could never trust white people again. The next day, I found my iPod. I felt so bad for the way I had treated her. So I went and apologized and we became best friends. Then I knew I could trust white people. l

North Side Pride Vanessa Phillips, Grade 11 North Community High School Shine On! Youth Editorial Board


orth Community High School is a very wellknown school. Some think of it as being good, while others think the opposite. The area in which the school is located—the Northside of Minneapolis—also causes people to have very contrasting views. There can be negative opinions towards almost everything, including my school and the Northside; however, looks can be deceiving. Most of these negative opinions are from others on the outside looking in. On the inside of North Community High School, it is clear that we are creating a positive community within the school. North is becoming an International Baccalaureate certified school and is trying to instill within the students a sense of community. They formed the idea of “Polar Tickets,” in order to encourage posi-

—Haris Erpelding, Grade 7, Keewaydin Campus, Lake Nokomis Community School

Lewis McCaleb, Grade 7 Anwatin Middle School

North High School also encourages cleaning up the tables at lunchtime. During lunch, it gets a little chaotic and the amount of mess left afterwards can become quite overwhelming for the maintenance staff at the school. In order to address this problem, North High School devised the “Music at Lunch” plan. In order to have music played at lunch, the students have to make sure that all of the tables are left clean. If the tables are left clean for an entire week, we earn music played at lunch.


nce upon a time, a lady told her daughter that black people were criminals (just black people.). So this made her think just that. Five days later the daughter saw her mom crying. The mother didn’t tell her why, but it was that her dad never came home from work that night. Turns out their dad had seriously been beaten for no reason and stripped of his clothes. The dad was in the middle of nowhere. He was found by a black person who took care of him and called the police. When the dad got home the daughter thought it was a black person who did the crime. Turns out they were white people who did it. He had told them that the black person took care of him. That changed the racism and thoughts about black people being criminals. l

These methods are great ways to create a sense of community, because if everyone were to show “Polar” traits, then everyone would be helping and uplifting each other. In turn, the positive community created inside the school can expand and spread outside the school to the Northside community. l

Breaking Walls of Stereotypes Mia Richie, Grade 7 Anwatin Middle School


n this world we have so many stereotypes: age, race, religion, weight, size, height, and many more. People always try to find something wrong instead of people trying to get to know one another. We should all join hands and try to be united. We should come together and break these walls of stereotypes. We are all alike in a way, so why judge one another? Why can’t we all put our differences aside and all get along? God made this world for all of us, so why can’t we all live in it together, HAPPILY? l

I walk into a room and the pens drop. They all look at me as if I am here to take all they own. The sound slowly goes back up to full volume and I proceed to the counter. The Coke I am buying feels very cold in my hand, but I keep going toward the counter. He gives me my change, then looks away, but once I turn my back, all eyes are on me. The kid…the one who cannot be trusted…

tive behavior in students. Polars are “Committed to being caring, showing academic excellence, and demonstrating personal integrity.” Teachers or other administration that see students exhibiting the traits of a Polar give the student a Polar ticket. The tickets ask for the student’s name, ID, grade, the date and the witnessing administrator’s signature. The administrator turns the slips in, and the student can then use them to gain access to the front of the lunch line, or be entered into a prize drawing.

For resources on combatting stereotypes, visit: Race—The Power of an Illusion PBS Documentary series

Stereotypes in everyday media issues/stereotyping/ In our schools: equity_diversity.html Email to request a training from the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity.

Shine On ! | Spring 2010 |


✙ culture race ● No matter where you are, what age you are, or who you are, everyone experiences racial and cultural boundaries. To push past them, and be who you are is one of the most difficult things to do. So is talking about and dealing with the result of deportation, but that hasn’t stopped the Anderson students of Ms. Hartmann’s fifth grade Public Achievement Class. Find in this section a series of student’s stories, and remember that race and culture don’t define you, you define race and culture. Don’t keep your feelings inside, shout them out, and show the real you—show that you’re proud of who you are, like Soua Chang. Whether you’re having trouble checking the box, or struggling with the question of what race and culture have to do with the real you, remember that sometimes all it takes is a simple ‘Hello’ to break down the walls of race and culture and create real community.

Culture Defined By Yasmin Awale, 10th Grade Roosevelt High School Shine On! Youth Editorial Board

Would you say that your cultural values help you in everyday life? Why/why not? Well, I use it to interact with other people. I want to show them respect, and to recieve it back.


What are some of your cultures’ stereotypes? That your mom is always Caucasian, parents are divorced, and the children have different fathers.

or this issue of Shine On!, I decided to take an unconventional route, but one that fits into our theme of Creating Communities Across Boundaries. It involved me interviewing three people of different cultural backgrounds, to find out how they define their culture, and what they bring from their culture that helps them throughout their daily lives. For this little Q&A segment, I interviewed a few friends of mine. I started with my friend Mykela: What is your culture? African American and Caucasian. What are some values of your culture? Sticking together, respect for everyone.

Check the Box By Lea Blanche Porter, Grade 6 Anwatin Middle School White . . . No. Black . . . Maybe? But wait—what about my great grandmother she as nowhere near black or what about my great grandpa he was no nowhere near white? Wait, my parents? Well my dad would check black, but my mother, maybe I should just check Other.


Faiza Abubakar, Grade 6 Anwatin Middle School


nce upon a time, I used to live in a place called Bannekar Ave. It was a two story building, so it had balconies. My brothers and I lived with my mom. Since we came to this country, my parents did not like African American/Black people because of what they saw on the news. When my Grandma sat on the balcony to get some fresh air and saw them yelling at each other from far distances, she made an assumption that all black people are bad. But with all the friends that I made at school, I couldn’t believe that was true. I wanted some way to prove it to her, though. On Monday, she came and sat on the balcony on her favorite chair. One black man was a gardener and he stopped and said “hello,” she was amazed. She never thought he would take time to talk to people, so she started to look at the bright side. I was relieved because before she wouldn’t let me talk to any of my black friends, but now she is okay with it. Tuesday was a new day, a new beginning, and was the best. l

How is your culture like your friends’? Our respect values are the same and we are family oriented.

What is your culture? Oromo-American.

How is your culture not like your friends’? We believe in different things, like religion, food, etc.

What are some values of your culture? Respect elders, respect to people, thoughtfulness, modesty, non-judgmental, and honesty/truthfulness.

Well, that response was informative. Thank you Mikayla for helping me out with this interview. Now let’s see what Kenyatta said:

Would you say that your cultural values help you in everyday life? Why/why not? Yes. I respect people, because everyone wants to have respect, too.

What is your culture? African-American. What are some values of your culture? That we are persistent, loyal, our food and music. Would you say that your cultural values help you in everyday life? Why/why not? Yeah a little, because now I don’t get discriminated for the things I do. What are some of your cultures’ stereotypes? That we all are lazy, uneducated, and we like to eat a lot of food like grapes, watermelon, fried chicken, and we like Kool-Aid. How is your culture like your friends’? We all stick together no matter what, and we are not judging.

(why don’t I have a title?)

How is your culture not like your friends’? I can’t think of any. We aren’t that different.

White . . . No. Black . . . Maybe?

Thank you Kenyatta! That was really helpful. Now let’s see what Jalane had to say.

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A Story of Race

What are some of your cultures’ stereotypes? That we are all poor, non-educated, unpleasant, and boring. How is your culture like your friends’? My friends respect and treat each other right, and we are helpful to each other. How is your culture not like your friends’? Our food, our languages, and our religions. Thanks again to everyone that helped participate in my culture interview! Throughout this whole interview, I’ve learned one thing: No matter where we are or what we are doing, we always learn from each other, and that is what makes us grow as people. It doesn’t matter what culture you are from, or what your outlook on life is. People all have similar beliefs and values, which makes it easy for us to connect, and to be friends. Culture isn’t what defines you, you are what defines culture. So take what you know and express yourselves, teach other people, and most of all make sure you grow! l

Community Across Boundaries By Soua Chang Grade 12, Patrick Henry High School

I secretly felt ashamed of who I was. I didn’t want to be in these shoes. I wanted to tell them who I was and what my story was, but that was nearly impossible. However, my junior year forever changed me. I remember being tired one fall morning, waiting at the bus stop. I remember an outburst of gang conflicts at our bus stop between two rival gangs. I forget their names, but it was between an AfricanAmerican group and an Asian-American group. It scared me and to this day it still lingers in the back of my mind. I remember a girl from the back of the bus, she kept shouting, “those Chinese…” until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I stood up and got just as loud, “We’re not Chinese. We’re Hmong!” I felt my heart racing as I stood up; it was like the atomic bomb blew up in my world. I didn’t back down until she apologized, but it only widened the

Color of Me By Elijah White, Grade 5 Olson Middle School I am a young Black man. Color of me On the inside, I am a talented handsome man. Color of me In 1998, I was born a Black boy. Color of me I’m a 5th grade boy at Olson Middle School. Color of me On standardized tests I score high. Color of me Jealousy fell behind it. Color of me I pressed forward and overcame it all. COLOR OF ME!


or the longest time, I dreaded going to school. I always heard racist comments coming from all sorts of directions. Many people called me “Chinese,” which I wasn’t and they would mimic the gentle curve of our eyes. I pretended not to hear and walked past them, but that only fed their laughter. I’ve always learned to ignore. Speaking up was hard for me; hard for most Asian students. For the longest time, their laughter rang in my ears. I secretly felt ashamed of who I was. I didn’t want to be in these shoes. I wanted to tell them who I was, what my story was, but that was nearly impossible.

Get involved in community conversations through: Racial Justice Programs @ YWCA

U of M Institute on Race & Poverty In our schools: Laura Wagner, coordinator of “Stand Up, Speak Out South High”

Decreasing Deportations


s. Hartmann’s 5th Grade Public Achievement Group at Andersen United Community School chose decreasing deportations as their issue to focus on this year. In collaboration with the Family Resource Center housed in Andersen and Community Education, these students planned a Family Resource Day for their community on Saturday, March 27. The students wrote and performed a skit about how kids feel about the issue of deportation.

gap of hatred between the two ethnic groups. One moment that I do remember the most is when the rest of the Hmong students on the bus sat quietly. I was disappointed that no one helped me. From this situation, I felt compelled to speak up. I remember a saying, “If you want something done, do it yourself.” After the bus incident I felt that opportunities started to come to tell my story, something closer to my identity. About four or five months after the original incident, the Hmong students of the Asian Culture Club wanted to advocate for the Hmong language. I’ve never sat in an Asian Club meeting before until this event, when the Superintendent came in to speak to the students about the Hmong language. I recall pitching my ideas and soon enough I was one of the main leaders in advocating for the Hmong language. I sat up many nights thinking about what should be our next step to get the Hmong language to our school. The most memorable event for me was when my team and I went to the School Board Meeting at the district offices to present our idea. I remember waiting, nervous. The School Board Members seemed tired from the presenters before us. Millions of thoughts of messing up formed in my mind. All of a sudden, my name was called. It was our turn. I spoke my opinions on the importance of getting a Hmong literacy class at Patrick Henry High School and soon enough it was over. I was never a big speaker, but this event definitely changed me. I walked away feeling relieved. The display board that I made with all the reasons why we needed a Hmong literacy class was a trophy to me. For once, I felt proud of who I was.

Below are excerpts from the narration of the script, written by Scarlett, Maria, Miguelina, Nery, Diana, and Lorelia: Narrator: We wrote this play based on true life stories that we have seen, heard and noticed. And this is how kids feel when their parents get deported… In the skit, two young children come home from school, and their older sister tells them their parents have been taken by the police Narrator: The two younger children get upset and start crying… (later in skit) Narrator: Edith [the oldest child] starts picking fights. She goes to school, but has a hard time concentrating because of the deportations. She starts hitting her sisters, even though she used to be a good role model. It’s harder for Edith than for her sisters because she understands more of what is going on. Also, because she is the oldest, she has spent the most time with her parents. The two younger children are scared…

After six to eight long months of battling for this Hmong Class, we were given the permission and the money for a teacher and materials for the class. It has been a success in the second semester of my senior year. I’m proud to say that I helped get this class here and now people are free to learn about who I am. This class will definitely build a bridge between differences within the community. Those that are willing to learn about different cultures will help fill in the gap of differences among us all. It will broaden horizons and allow people to see who the Hmong people are. This class will decrease stereotypes and hopefully open their eyes that we all are not “Chinese.” To me, this class symbolizes that changes are possible, that I am recognized within the community, and most of all that I have a voice within my community. l

…Edith used to be supportive, but has started to bully her little sisters. One of the younger sisters tries to cheer up the family. Later, though, Edith starts to think about what she is doing. Her aunt talks to her about it… …Even though everyone is in one family, each kid has their own feelings & reacts differently. l

Shine On ! | Spring 2010 |


Getting Along By Josie Slavik, Grade 5 Olson Middle School I, Josie Slavik, feel that racism has brought us apart as a community!! I really think we could be BETTER! When we come together as one. We could stop the violence and racism all over the world! We shouldn’t judge people by their skin color! We should judge them by their character, and how “THEY” are, not by how they look and what you heard about them. We should come together and help one another! Deveron Jordan, Grade 6, Anwatin Middle School

« mmunity building c l Community Across Boundaries By Fartun Abukar, Grade 6 Anwatin Middle School


Jessica Sanchez, Grade 6, Anwatin Middle School

ife isn’t always perfect. In this world there are so many people who just look at what race you are or what color you are or even how you look. As Martin Luther King said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” The most important thing about a person is their personality, values, and who they really are. It doesn’t matter what race you are. In my school, Anwatin Middle School, we do a lot of projects involved with ending racism, stereotypes and learning from people who are disabled. People shouldn’t be judged by their race. People shouldn’t say something that is not even true. People shouldn’t put someone down because they are disabled.We should help these


| Shine On ! | Spring 2010

people and I believe that disabled people can make a difference and change the world. Everything is in our hands, we can make our world so bright and peaceful. In my school, there are so many different students, all kinds of people from around the world. We, as students, can learn about different cultures just by asking the students around us. I think it’s wonderful to learn about different cultures. Self-confidence and believing yourself are very important. If you believe in yourself, you can do anything you want. I go to a Mosque called Dar Al Hijrah. I am one of the youth leaders. I am in youth organizations. We, as youth, try our best to learn a lot about religion and any other educational things. In that Mosque, we try to bring people together to change the world. We want to create a better place, a caring, loving, and peaceful world. We are all human beings; we are unique in different ways. We are the future. The future is in our hands, but only through knowledge. Let’s create a peaceful world. I believe we can do it. l

Hope when you’re so lost that you feel as if there’s no hope that there’s nothing left with in you that you forget what’s important you forget your friends and you’re alone in a dark space you see a small light that gets bigger and bigger the next thing you see is a bunch of people with a smile on their faces looking at you leaning a shoulder to lean on a hand to hold on to not letting you fall off the edge to give you a smile to give you hope we are the HOPE COMMUNITY a community filled with supporting people with lots of hope spreading lots of faith with HOPE WE ARE HERE TO HELP THOSE WHO NEED IT — Khadra Jama (aka Dark Love) Grade 11, Ubah Medical Academy

My picture is about people that are learning to be respectful to one another. “ It says we need to stop wrong things.”

In Between

Karissa Kier-Ficken, Grade 6, Anwatin Middle School

In between the lines That changes everything That changes a person’s dream Their life Their mind And their ways In between the lines Is where I find myself Is where I stand In between the lines Is where everything slows down Into one’s mind And into their heart Maybe I can’t see those lines But you might. Those lines are true Which they know one’s heart Maybe even know you. — Khadra Jama (aka Dark Love) Grade 11, Ubah Medical Academy

 ss b l | undaries acr l What Peace Means to Me By La’Tamara Matthews Grade 10, Roosevelt High School The snake can only be scorched Never Killed The screams can never be shocked Only thrilled Swords can be stopped With a shield But there’s no such thing as peace On a battlefield Nothing ever ends Only stops As day turns to night As it ticks on the clock The World wonders when it’ll all be calm As to reading when On your palm People try, but it takes all It shouldn’t happen when the moon falls It’s a feeling A calm The best of all things It’s what everybody wants We call it peace My name is La’Tamara Expressing the best of all things And this right here Is what peace means to me

Freedom from the kingdom of all horrid things To be relieved when you can all come to agree When you, yes you, open your eyes To see you, yes you, not limit the sky When we all hold hands With no strings attached When we all move on to the future And not look back

Untitled Can’t classify me. I am a person you would like And wouldn’t I am original I am a new creation You have never seen anything Like me before I am individual I don’t fit in with your Petty misconceptions I don’t fit in to your category I am my own person Follow my own rules, beliefs & thoughts. You can’t place me in a group I have my own path. I am not your typical teen Stereotype someone else Not me.

But then this all fades away As only the sky stays in place Looking up into space As words flow from the whole in my face “Peace becomes impossible But impossible to be lost Through the rain becoming slowed As it turns into frost Peace is hard to find Look at me But believed is still there Which may seem to decline When life becomes unfair Everybody has their own way Whether it’s through a feeling or a calm It’s what everybody says…”

—Amira Sujaa, Grade 6, Anwatin Middle School

My name is La’Tamara Expressing the image of all dreams And this right here Is what peace means to me.

Chyna Weems, Grade 5, Nellie Stone Johnson

Shine On ! | Spring 2010 |


everyday  leaders The Everyday Leaders program, a leadership and service initiative of Minneapolis Public Schools Community Education, is a great example of creating community across boundaries. These groups meet together and as teams design projects to solve the problems and meet the needs in their communities. They don’t let anything get in the way of their ambitions to create better communities and a better world.

Everyday Leaders at Seward Montessori “I learned that 1.02 billion people are hungry in the world. 35.5 million people including children live in households that experience hunger or the risk of hunger. This represents more than 1 in 10 households in the United States.” — Abigail, Grade 2

“In my experience of Empty Bowls, I have learned many things. I take a lot of things for granted. Other people, even other families strugight): ft-r (le p ou gr s wl Bo gle just as much as I do. If er yday Leaders Empty Lillie Bintou, Above: The Seward Ev ace, Cleo, Arianna, Gr , ne eli Ad , die Ad I hadn’t taken this class, I or Aiden, Andie, Cora, . Not pictured: Ellan loe Ch r, ka Os ra, do would never really have Sofia, Abigail, Isa understood about the troubles around the Empty Bowls Program world. I learned about poverty and how some people are judged by their social status. By Karen Sorenson, AmeriCorps VISTA Some people are mean to the homeless and the needy. They should think of living one tudents in the after-school program, Everyweek in their shoes.” day Leaders—Empty Bowls are learning


about homelessness, poverty, and hunger. They meet Wednesdays to make bowls for our upcoming Empty Bowls event, as well as discuss and work on projects regarding these issues. In addition, they will be participating in multiple service events in the upcoming months including a clothing drive, bagging groceries at a local Cub Foods, and cleaning up Matthews Park. They are working with numerous organizations in the community including: Empty Bowls, Sister Camelot, Groveland Food Shelf, and Arc.

—Aidan, Grade 6

In co-teaching this class alongside art teacher Katy Tharaldson, I have been touched by these students’ thoughts, ideals, and actions. Kids are passionate about deep issues, want to help their fellow man, and can make concrete differences in our shared world. Kids are powerful. l

—Lillie, Grade 8


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ow, thanks for doing that!” a voice rang out into the grey March Monday. Earthworkers of Seward’s Everyday Leaders were picking up the trash surfacing as the snow melted on the school grounds and Matthews Park.We were cheered on by people passing by on foot and vehicles. The Earthworkers themselves took notice: “This looks so much better.” “There’s a lot of trash, but there could have been much more.” “Maybe if we had a recycling container out here people would use it.” “Yeah, but people might put trash in it.” “Where is a trash can? Maybe that would help.” “I bet there won’t be so much trash now that you can’t see any.” “Yep, maybe people will put stuff where it belongs now they see how good it looks here.” “I sure hope so.”

“Me, too.”

“Me three.”

Jefferson Community School

Above: Netem Seka (left), Abukar Aser (right) and Etonam Kagni (not pictured) are in the Everyday Leaders afterschool class at Jefferson. They are holding a poster they made while working on their project to stop bullying, a world-wide problem.

“Me six!”

“It does look so much better, it’s nice people yelled good things to us.” l

Earthworks poem

Seward Montessori students would like to share with you what they have learned so far about homelessness, poverty, and hunger—what it has taught them about themselves and their community:

“The thing that makes me really sad is how I don’t like to share my stuff with other people and I think about how many people in the world who are either homeless, starving, or are in poverty, and they don’t have a nice warm place to come home to. I also think about how if people aren’t the same as I am—I’ve learned not to judge people on what they wear or how they act because everyone has a story.”


mud mud bare footprints in the mud duck tracks puppy prints dog, too puddles puddles puddles with ice islands buds popping twigs grass green grass other sprouts dandelion tulip mud grass green grass 51 degrees sunshine day

Barton Open The Pay It Forward Club By Cindy Smedberg Barton Community Education Coordinator

O Waite Park Elementary By Michael Thomas Tabor Grade 5, Waite Park Elementary


veryday Leaders went to the Hungry Planet exhibit at the Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota. We learned about food from all over the world and also played with a turtle. On our second field trip, we went to Local D’Lish and learned about local foods. The owner let us try some chocolate, granola, buffalo and apples. I tasted pepper chocolate and it tasted weird. Some of us also worked at the school health fair and helped with National Turn Off Your Television Day at our school. l

Want to get involved with the Everyday Leaders program?

Would you like to help a group of young people connect current events in their world with ones in their backyards, become engaged and active in addressing the needs that they discover in their communities, and in discovering opportunities to promote learning and education in the process? As an afterschool facilitator for the MPS Community Education Everyday Leaders program, you would be doing just that! Everyday Leaders was founded on the basic tenets of Service-Learning, which consist of the belief that students are an asset to their communities and have something valuable and essential to offer those around them. We are always looking for interested and engaged adults who are willing to help young people develop and grow into positive role models and productive citizens. To learn more about the Everyday Leaders program, visit commed.mpls.k12. For more information about becoming an after-school facilitator or community partner with the program, please contact Jerilyn Ezaki at

n Thursday, March 11, the Everyday Leaders Pay it Forward Club at Barton Open School organized a healthy soup supper and served it in 100 bowls made by families in a family pottery class. The soup and the bowl (to keep) cost $5 each.We raised $250 which was donated to the Joyce Food Shelf. After supper,friends and family cheered on the Pay it Forward Club as they Hula Hooped for 30 minutes to awesome music. They raised an additional $200 with pledges per minute from friends and family. Barton parent and professional hula hooper Jessica led them with some amazing moves. Go to her website at to see her in action. some poetry and improvisation. The evening was one of great music and true inspiration to reach out and make the world a better place. For those music lovers out there… the evening proved that “music can get you through any bump in the road.” l

The evening ended with Shawn Gibbons and Brad McClemore from the Linden Hills House of Music singing “Heal the World” by Michael Jackson and other songs about peace, love and understanding. The Community Education drama club shared

Citywide Student Government: What youth leadership is all about By Miiko Taylor 11 Grade, South High School Vice President, Citywide Student Government th


itywide Student Government is an organization of the Student Activities Department for the Minneapolis Public Schools. There are two separate groups, one for students in high schools and one for middle level. Each Citywide group has student members representing Minneapolis Public Schools. Students meet monthly to plan activities, hear speakers and practice effective leadership skills beyond the classroom.

Currently, our group is working to create school district guidelines for dances. This is an issue that many schools across the country are facing and we believe that we can be instrumental in developing suggestions that can offer solutions. We are also supporting the reading literacy campaign by visiting Loring, Hiawatha & Bryn Mawr and reading with their kindergarten and first grade classes. Citywide Student Government was organized in 1991 by a group of students wanting to collectively express their concern to the school district office. If you would like more information, please contact the Student Activities Department at (612) 668-0167 or (612) 668-0157. l

Citywide Student Government serves as the student voice representing their age group when school district staff solicits student input into decisions. Students have given input on the district’s attendance policy, school calendar and discipline policy. This past month, Citywide held a meeting with Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Associate Superintendent and discussed the High School Redesign, the “Go Pass” & why some schools may be closing.

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Self c✪ nfidence Self confidence, or full trust in yourself, is the key to breaking through perceived social boundaries that you or others have built around yourself. Self confidence, not arrogance, is something that needs to be worked on every day and nurtured so that it will grow. Being proud of your work, putting yourself and your work on display for others to see, is a great boost for your self confidence. Also, taking the time to write about your thoughts about yourself and identity can help build confidence. And finally, being involved in programs that promote self-awareness and goal setting can help you grow your self confidence. Below are some expmples of confidence-building going on throughout Minneapolis:

Project SUCCESS Diercks, a Minneapolis Public School graduate who, like many students, struggled with the same questions. Since its humble beginnings as a program at North High School serving a senior class of 200 students, Project SUCCESS,which has been up and running about 17 years now, has come a long way.

By Sarah Ericson, Grade 12 Washburn High School Shine On! Youth Editorial Board


ith all the school, work and activities young people are involved with today, sometimes it can be hard for students to picture their life after they are through with school. What do I really want to do? What is important to me? What can I do now for my future? These are some of the questions that a great Twin Cities based organization are helping students in grades 6th through 12th answer for themselves. “Helping kids dream with their eyes open” is the slogan for Project SUCCESS, an organization that has grown to serve over seventeen schools and over 10,000 students in the Minneapolis and St.Paul public school systems. It was created in 1994 by Adrienne

School Partners: Minneapolis: Anne Sullivan Middle School, Anwatin Middle School, Emerson SILC, Jefferson Middle School, Marcy Open, Northeast Middle School, Olson Middle School, Sanford Middle School, Patrick Henry High School, North Community High School (Founding Partner), South High School, Southwest High School and Washburn High School. St. Paul: Battle Creek Junior High, Hazel Park Middle School, Humboldt Junior High, Washington Technology Magnet Middle School.


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By working with students over a six year period, Project SUCCESS makes it clear that they want students to set and achieve goals for themselves, and make a plan for their future. It’s like giving young people the tools to go about drawing their own life’s roadmap. The organization’s facilitators, some of which were part of the program when they were in school, meet with the same class at least once a month in the student’s English/Language Arts class to conduct goal-setting workshops. At every school, each student will have participated in eight productive workshops by the end of the school year. Also, the organization uses theater as a helpful tool for students to become inspired and help them observe the issues they face today on a stage. Project SUCCESS partners 27 theaters to provide students and their families at least 6-12 performances a year, free of charge! For example, in one activity they lead, students team up with classmates and try to build the tallest Lego tower. It may sound simple, but its lesson reaches the students. “You realize that you need a strong base and a plan to get to the top,” says Lauren Hamilton, a sophomore at Washburn High School. Project SUCCESS also provides college tours, oneon-one assistance for high school students planning their futures, and special programming such as all-school field trips to the theater or summer canoe trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. l

To learn more about or join Project SUCCESS, visit or send an email to for more details.

Mao Vang, Grade 8 Anwatin Middle School


rowing up, I was always teased because of the skin color I had and the language I spoke. Kids at school would make fun of me and laugh at me. I felt so sad each time they did because the skin color of a person shouldn’t change the fact that you are human beings and should be treated equally. But every time I looked in the mirror I saw a kind, beautiful and a very smart girl. I would tell myself that someday things will change and people will learn how to respect me for who I am. l

Sanford Art Show


ongratulations to art students at Sanford Middle School showing their work during the month of March at the Blue Moon Coffee Cafe, located at 3822 East Lake Street in Minneapolis! A reception for the artists was held at the Blue Moon on Sunday, March 21 from 2-4 pm. Student artwork included Modigliani-inspired portraits, story cloth drawings, jazz instrument mixedmedia works, Pollock-inspired action paintings, and scratchboard animal drawings. Here’s what one of the students had to say:

“I am very happy to have my artwork displayed at the Blue Moon Cafe. I have never been in any kind of art show, so this is a great experience. My drawing shows my culture and heritage, I’m Danish and Italian. My drawing also shows all of the people in my extended family, who I love hanging out with. My art class learned about Faith Ringold, which is why I created my “Story Quilt” drawing. Thank you for showing my work in the Sanford Art Show. ” —Juliet Paulson, 6th Grade Participating artists: Danielle Dirks, Grade 6 • Lisbeth Gutierrez, Grade 6 • Juliet Paulson, Grade 6 • Autumn Olivia, Grade 6 • Coco Banks, Grade 8 • Talisha Elliot, Grade 7 • Tahlia Simon, Grade 8 • Reignah Vandyke, Grade 8 • Migizi Roberts, Grade 8 • Joaquin Armell, Grade 7 • Raquel Kerr, Grade 8 • Sugei Leal, Grade 8 • Cornelia Lutz, Grade 6 • Sophia Rothenberger, Grade 6 • Sena Ferguson, Grade 7 • Arkeeta McKinnie, Grade 7 • Raven Catarra, Grade 8.


MPS Volunteering

We are living in a fast paced rapidly developing world. How great is it that through our public schools we can form bonds with counselors, teachers and other role models that have experience and can help us? From 3rd graders creating displays at public libraries to be viewed by everyone to inter-generational volunteering, we are consistently transcending borders in more than one way!

By James Boyer, Volunteer MPS Board Member & Intergenerational Volunteer


t was an easy decision to make to become a volunteer. One day, seven years ago, my mother-in-law asked me to become a “Rocking Reader.” I couldn’t say no. How could I refuse my first assignment, a firstgrade class at the very same elementary school that I, myself, attended?

The Power of People By Annie Wood Shine On! Youth Editorial Board 11th Grade, Southwest High School


rowing up, I was very connected to my neighborhood and I have always known all my neighbors. I didn’t realize it until much later, but as a little kid, I’d found myself a part of something bigger—a community. That word, community, wasn’t a part of my vocabulary then, and being a part of my neighborhood just felt so natural. As I got older, I realized that it’s mostly the adults that shape communities and the mentors I’ve had in my life have shaped who I’ve become as a young adult.

Wenonah Library Project by Theresa, Grade 3, Wenonah


oom 105 has a grant with the Roosevelt Library. We got to make a bulletin board. On it was a picture of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. We got to go on a scavenger hunt. We also got to label the library. Then we went to back to school. We went again to the library. That time we put Cliffords on the bulletin board. There were Clifford book reports. We made Clifford hats for the preschoolers. We went to the Book Arts.We looked at different kinds of printers. We looked at the floor and saw letters had been carved in the floor a long time ago. We also made a puppy pop up book with a canine inside. We saw stairs that looked like pages of a book.We saw a statue of a man standing by a tree where flowers were moving. At the bottom of the tree there were words moving around and around. l

The first year I was satisfied with enjoying the experience, while surrounded by the comfort of a familiar old school and the memories that abounded each and every time I entered. It was the following year that I fully grasped and embraced the true nature of this calling. When I was asked by a high school classmate if I would volunteer time at a school in north Minneapolis, I relished the challenge and opportunity, and soon joined the Intergenerational Volunteers program for men and women, age 55 and older.

When I turned thirteen, I learned what “social justice” meant. I was in a coffee shop, in my first interview. I sat across the table from my soon-to-be mentors of TVbyGIRLS, a nonprofit for girls interested in film, and, in short, changing the world. When they asked me if I knew what “social justice” was, I just shook my head. The way they explained it was that if there were pollution in a river, there

As a human being, I realized that I have the power to change someone else’s life for the better. And if we possess this immense power to be a catalyst for change, it would be wasteful to sit around and do nothing.

During my time in the schools, I have never once thought of age as a barrier. Early in the school year, kids are often surprised at the sight of a male volunteer, but instantly recognize me as a safe, grandfatherly figure. As the year develops and I gain their trust, they open up and share more of themselves. And because I treat them with care, concern and respect, with an extra dash of humor, they warm to me pretty quickly. There is universality to the human condition. People, regardless of race, origin, gender or personal circumstance are, basically, the same; generation after generation. That first day in that first-grade classroom, I instantly related to the fresh young faces around me, because as I discovered, they are me, today, as I was them, 57 years ago.

would be people down the river cleaning it out. The social justice agents of change, they explained, would be the ones up the river trying to figure out where the pollution was coming from. In this instant, I became inspired. At the first TVbyGIRLS meeting I attended, I was so intimidated. The girls all seemed so brilliant and were such passionate leaders. These girls are my very close friends now, and I’ve found a community in a program I applied to on a whim. I didn’t know what a “mentor” was upon joining, but I developed relationships with my TVbyGIRLS mentors that really fostered growth. They’re like my teachers who push me to learn, but they’re also like cool aunts.

Times change, but kids do not. Today we have personal computers; greater technology and instant access to news, information and communications. School libraries are now called media centers, and display fewer books, but contain more material than I had access to during my own public school education. Kids are more sophisticated and savvy, but suffer from the same doubts, concerns, confidence issues, social anxieties, growing pains and challenges of learning endured by all who have passed before.

When I joined Shine On! during my freshman year, it was a little community; the YEB board consisted of only one other student and myself, but we had really great mentors leading the board who were extra enthusiastic about service-learning. Before I knew it, I was on more teen boards and volunteering more and more. It wasn’t a conscious decision, like,“I want to get more involved in my community,” or “I want to volunteer more.” The more activities I participated in, the more I wanted to do. The people I met through Shine On!, TVbyGIRLS and my other activities were people I knew I wanted to spend time with; the more time I spent around them, the more inspired I felt. Volunteering and social justice became so embedded in my life that I don’t even think about it anymore. I just know that the people and respective communities that come with volunteering are the best. Continued on page 12

I like kids and therefore care about them. I have become an ardent advocate for their health, safety and education; and, why not? It is they who will one day take the reigns of government, business, law, education, medicine and public service, and I selfishly want only the best. A simple, affirmative response to my mother-in-law’s insistent request has caused me to take the “road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” (Robert Frost) l

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languAge PJ is an American Sign Language (ASL) teacher at Southwest High School. As a Deaf person, PJ has a valuable perspective on Deaf society and its cultural boundaries. Most Hearing people are unaware of the subtleties in Deaf etiquette and unfamiliar with its culture, but by learning about and interacting with the Deaf community, we can all help bridge the gap between cultures. Shine On! Editor Mackenzie Neaton asked PJ a few questions; read her interview below. Language acts as a boundary in our communities on a daily basis. We encourage you not only to reflect on how you see it divide us, but more importantly how we come together to create community across this boundary. I have learned from you that there is a whole culture within the Deaf community. Can you explain why this is and what makes it so different from the hearing community? Oh, there is so much to explain. Deaf people have different behaviors such as walking straight through between two signers without saying, “Excuse me.” We consider it as interrupting, while they consider it as being polite. Deaf people tap on the shoulder to get attention. Hearing people wouldn’t feel comfortable with that. Deaf people like to chat in bright-lighted areas. For example, Deaf people often bring several bright lamp stands to a bonfire, so they can see each other to chat. There are many more. Do you consider being Deaf a significant cultural boundary? Do you feel like you cannot cross over into the hearing culture? If Deaf and hearing people understood each other, there would not be a problem. I feel that I can cross over into hearing culture. I have hearing in my family. I have a Deaf husband, Deaf brother, Deaf sister-in-law, and 6 CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults) in our family. We use ASL all time. I have hearing parents, sister, brother-in-law and nieces and nephews that are not signing. We talk slower as we read lips and talk clearly. If they don’t understand what we said, we do fingerspelling. All of them know fingerspelling and some signs.

The Power of People Continued from page 11

I can basically trace my volunteering back to joining TVbyGIRLS, because after I committed myself to social change, I changed. It sounds so cheesy, but something clicked in my head as a little thirteenyear-old. I’d heard people talking about “making a difference” in their communities but this phrase was so overused that it lost meaning until I found myself actively a part of a community. There are many different ways to define “community,” of course. There is the school community, the neighborhood community, your family community, sports team communities, the communities I found in my different activities… and then there’s community we all belong to: humanity. As a human being, I realized that I have the power to change someone else’s life for the better. And if we possess this im-


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If I am with a crowd of hearing people, I would be lost and left out. It would be the same if a hearing person was in a crowd of Deaf people. Has the cultural boundary between the Deaf and hearing communities changed over your life time? Is it less significant? Yes, there are more hearing people who know ASL. I have many hearing friends that use ASL. Do you think Minneapolis is Deaf friendly? Where does it stand compared to other cities? Yes, Minneapolis and other big cities are Deaf friendly. Big cities of Minnesota have better services than other states.We have best interpreter service here. We are proud to live in Minnesota. There are many Deaf people living here. Do you think the Deaf kids you teach at Southwest High school feel like they are a part of the rest of the student body? Not all of them. It is the communication. Hard of Hearing students who can understand the spoken language and talk well will get along with others just fine. If all student bodies use ASL, everybody would be in one place! Is there anything you would like to change about the ASL program at our school? I would like to include teachers in the class! The more teachers using ASL, the merrier we’ll be. l

mense power to be a catalyst for change, it would be wasteful to sit around and do nothing. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see that I may be young, but there are places where my voice can be heard and real change can be made. Kids and even teenagers always talk about how adults don’t care and don’t hear them, but I’ve found that there are plenty of adults that empower kids. I still think of myself as a kid, although I’m a “young adult” now, but I know that when I’m grown-up, I want to help kids find their voices and power. I feel very fortunate to have found adults that got me involved; I truly think this involvement has shaped me into who I am today and who I want to be. l Inspired by Annie’s story and want to get involved? Learn more about TV By Girls by visiting their website at

Creating Community Across Boundaries  

In this issue, young people discuss the individual and group differences that seem to segment people and keep us from creating a whole and v...