Justice for Black Youth

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A nonprofit fundraiser supporting

St. Paul Youth Services
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Join Us in "Rewriting the Rules of Youth Engagement"!


raised by 8 people

$6,000 goal

Want justice for Black Youth? Invest in their power to achieve it!


St. Paul Youth Services addresses issues that are gaining increased public attention and putting our Black youth, their families, and our community’s well-being at risk: criminal justice reform, alternatives to suspensions, and Minnesota’s glaring inequities by which the same actions lead to different consequences based on a young person’s race, gender, socioeconomic status, or neighborhood.


Each year, we provide guidance, support, and opportunities to more than 1,000 young people who are facing challenges at home, at school, with the law, and in the community. These challenges threaten the youth's well-being and our community's vitality. Too often the default response to youth behavior is punitive rather than productive. We believe in holding youth accountable while helping them grow.


If St. Paul Youth Services didn't exist, our work interrupting the cradle-to-prison pipeline, keeping thousands of youth healthy, hopeful, and free, would have to pause.


So would our powerful results: 9 out of 10 youth we partner with do better in school, stay out of the juvenile justice system, and resolve family conflicts without police intervention, hospitalization, or removal from the home.


Today, SPYS also partners with Black youth to dismantle the cradle-to-prison pipeline altogether, through YouthPowerMediaMN℠, an employment program that engages Black youth from our Behavior Intervention Program and our Pre-Charge Diversion Program to be leaders and advocates for their community.


Many youth employment programs that give Black youth access to job opportunities, technical skills, and professional networks still benefit corporations and nonprofits through the provision of low-cost labor and don’t address any of the barriers they or their families face, say, in terms of racist hiring or retention practices, housing discrimination, educational inequities, or unequal pay. While the young people themselves may directly benefit, the rewards aren’t shared across the community and may not even offset discriminatory practices the hiring company itself may implicitly or explicitly engage in.

We are seeking an investment that gives Black youth a livable wage job, technical skills, and professional networks (along with culturally-targeted programming and inspiring, educational experiences) but through which their labor and insights are employed to dismantle the systems that have robbed their families of wealth, health, income, and education for generations. We seek to flip the hegemonic approach and invest in changing systems rather than changing kids.


Your generous gift allows St. Paul Youth Services to continue and expand our great work in the Twin Cities and beyond. That includes results like 91% of participating students in our Behavior Intervention Program improving their behavior, and 81% improving their academic performance. It includes 9 out of 10 participants in our Diversion Program not being arrested again after six months completing the program. And it means city departments actually changing policy based on advocacy from YouthPower Leaders.


We rely on a strong, growing community of Youth Champions to achieve our work.

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