YEA! MN is unique in that we are an authentically student directed program. This means that my job is not to tell students what we should do but ask them what they want to do. Of course, I still provide feedback and suggestions, however the purpose is to help them more fully think through their action projects, ideas, and what they want to accomplish. The place where this happens is at our youth steering committee meetings. Twice a month our students come together to learn about issues, discuss questions they have, invite in speakers, and plan events.
We have wrapped up a fantastic year at YEA! MN.Our students have wrestled with big issues, learned about organizing, and taken action on projects they care about; all while going to high school, doing their homework, and participating in other community and extra curricular work.I have never been so impressed and proud of a group of youth- no, scratch that, I have never been so proud of a group of people!
The 2014 YEA! MN Retreat was definitely the best team bonding experience we’ve had so far this year. We’ve gained many new members compared to last year and over one night we became very close. We decided as a group we would take a trip to the Lake Country Land School Farm in Wisconsin. Our first day on the farm we got a tour of the farm and later on got to plant various types of squash and pumpkin. It’s safe to say we are the fastest planters YEA! MN has ever seen. During the planting process we were able to get to know each other more which made it more of a bonding experience.
Early last fall, Minneapolis South High School’s environmental group, the Green Tigers, decided that a worthy project to pursue would be the installation of water bottle filling stations, affectionately coined “Hydration Stations”. Our school, although legally unable to sell unhealthy snacks or soda in vending machines, continues to sell bottled water, which students buy regularly. Many students buy a bottle daily, which is both a waste of financial and natural resources. Our hope with installing hydration stations was that students would be motivated to bring a reusable bottle to fill with fresh and free water. However, installing a hydration station is expensive and time-consuming.
Priyanka Zylstra, Senior at Minneapolis South High School, delivered the following closing remarks at the Clean Energy & Jobs Earth Day Rally at the Minnesota State Capitol, following Governor Mark Dayton, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Senator John Marty, Reprentative Melissa Hortman, and Polar Explorer Will Steger. She spoke to crowd of 500 people and drew huge applause.
You can view our full profile at the Charities Review Council.