The Wave Youth Center

A nonprofit organization

$3,160 raised by 12 donors

21% complete

$15,000 Goal

The Wave Youth Center opened its doors in December 2019 and experienced immediate success. Founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we served over 1,400 youths before the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to close our physical location and move to virtual programming. After re-opening our campus in the Spring of 2021, the number of youths we support grew rapidly to an average of 1,200 youths per month. 

Our mission is to be a safe and welcoming place that meets the needs of the body, mind, and spirit of the youth in our community. We serve middle and high school–aged youths from across Sherburne County, Minnesota. The Wave operates after school Monday through Friday as well as during extended hours during school breaks and the summer.

Our social impact goals are triple fold: 

  • To give all youths in our community a safe and inclusive space where they feel welcome, appreciated, and respected;
  • To empower our youths with life and social skills to live well and thrive;
  • To instill the importance of community and create this and future generations of good neighbors and engaged community members.

The Wave Youth Center strives to create a wave of well-being and commitment to community in our youths, ultimately creating a ripple effect of positive social impact now and for the next generations of Sherburne County youths. 

We primarily focus our programming on under-served youth, those not involved in sports or other extra-curricular activities, those who are at risk of dropping out of school, and those who may not have a pathway to further education and training for future opportunities. 


The Wave Youth Center: Our Programs

Our programming provides evidence-based youth interventions addressing a multitude of critical developmental areas, including youth resilience and mental health, leadership skills, vocational and career exploration, life and social skills, and positive community involvement. 

A remark from one youth in our community after hearing what the youth center was about said, "You mean there will be a place for kids like me? I know I’m weird." This speaks to the profound importance and critical need of The Wave Youth Center programming in our community. This demonstrates the potential impact The Wave can have on our youth by having a place where they feel like they belong and are accepted just as they are.

The Wave operates three main programs: Mentoring, Good Neighbor & Community Stewardship, and Mental Health & Well-being.


Mentoring Program

The Wave’s Mentoring Program is designed to promote resilience, self-confidence, and the tools necessary for youths to weather challenging life transitions.

 A primary factor in promoting self-care and resilience is having caring and supportive relationships. We are committed to nurturing safe, supportive, consistent relationships through our adult-to-youth mentoring and peer-to-peer mentoring activities and programming. 

Through our robust Mentoring Program, we support resiliency and mental health, vocational and career exploration, academic achievement, and teach critical life, leadership, and social skills. 

  • Adult-to-Youth Mentoring
  • Peer-to-Peer Mentoring
  • Vocational Training
  • Academic achievement
  • Life Skills
  • Leadership Skills
  • Social Skills


Good Neighbor & Community Stewardship Program

  • Community Engagement & Development
  • Local Events
  • Volunteer program
  • Social Skills
  • Relational Skills
  • “Enrichment Days” - City officials (city engineer, career & functions of local government) and police/fire (kickball - planned for Aug.) + comm. orgs (veterans organizations, lions groups)
  • Yard clean up, help seniors, play cards at the senior center, chalk on sidewalks (inspirational messages)
  • Teaching appropriate social interactions 


Mental Health & Well-being Program

The Wave Youth Center is unique in our holistic approach to well-being. Our Mental Health & Well-Being program operates as an extension of our Mentoring Program and offers activities and programming to ensure our youth participants feel valued and validated, and that they understand the principles of self-care, proper nutrition, and healthy boundaries in relationships.

Recognizing the critical need for on-site mental health services at The Wave, a recent program expansion allows us to host a licensed counselor one day per week. Although we cannot offer one-to-one counseling services, our in-house clinician is able to facilitate deep discussions between and among our youths and teach important mental health and well-being lessons that our youths may not otherwise learn..  

  • Feeling valued & validated
  • Resilience
  • Self-care
  • Safe & inclusive space
  • Holistic approach to well-being
  • Social capital
  • Public Health Nurse - nutrition, healthy boundaries and relationships, self-care, sex-ed
  • Community orgs and speakers
  • Mental healthcare worker 1x/week - licensed therapists
  • Addressing food scarcity — Food & Meals-to-Go Boxes



Organization Data


Organization name

The Wave Youth Center

Tax id (EIN)



BIG LAKE, MN 55309