Saint Paul American Indian Partnership
Like young people across the country, American Indian youth face significant challenges. In Saint Paul, for example, more than half of American Indian youth grow up in single-parent homes. In the Saint Paul Public Schools, American Indians have the highest absenteeism rate of any ethnic group. And less than half of the American Indian students in Saint Paul's class of 2000 graduated from high school on time.
Fortunately, the collaborative work of five Saint Paul agencies serving American Indian youth is making a difference. Over the past two decades, they've worked to offer a comprehensive set of services to tribal youth. Displaced young people can find shelter at the Ain Dah Yung Center. Struggling students receive after-school tutoring through the Department of Indian Work. The First Nation Sports Initiative at the American Indian Family Center and the community powwows at the American Indian Magnet School provide children with recreation and fellowship. And the Saint Paul Public Schools offer college planning through their Indian Education Program.
This partnership shows how all sectors of the community—schools, religious groups, governments, and service organizations—can come together to improve the lives of young people. They make teamwork a priority by sharing resources, coordinating programming and providing cross-referrals.
Leaders say that school attendance is improving, and test scores are rising. The coalition is also helping Native elders pass on their tribes' rich languages, histories, and cultures to their children. As Elona Street-Stewart, Chair of the Saint Paul Public School Board will tell you: “We're keeping the circle unbroken.”
Communities can learn how to form strong partnerships like Saint Paul's by visiting the Community Guide to Helping America's Youth. Tell us how your community is collaborating to serve youth by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org