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Friday November 17th 2017

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Young Leaders Leading Phillips

The Young Leaders Program at St. Paul’s Lutheran had a very busy summer, working with organizations and people from throughout the community. You can see their work in many parts of the community: New murals at Shalom Garden, at the church and on garages; flower planters throughout the community, relationships with the neighborhood strengthened. One of the Young Leaders, Reyna Urbano submitted a winning photo for the Picturing Peace photo contest: www.picturingpeacempls.com.

Angela Barrera has been in the program for five years, and this summer worked with Kayla Kelsey and the Community Arts Team. She talked about her experiences at the Multiple Sclerosis Achievement Center in St. Paul: “MS is a genetic disease that takes over your body and eventually limits your ability to move or hold things. The Young Leaders are making mosaics with the people over at the MS center as well as getting to know them. We have seen how delighted both the young people and the clients are to be working together to create something beautiful.”

The Green Team, led by Yasmin Ventura, cared for two community gardens, including growing produce at Shalom Garden for the Waite House food shelf. They learned how to make salsa and other dishes from home grown vegetables, as well as learned about air and water pollution and what people can do to stop it. A highlight of their summer was a trip to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to learn about air quality.

Azania Tripp, who coordinated the Hospitality and Community Team, talked about her experiences: “One of the people I saw transformed was Fatima Castro. At first, she was very quiet and took on a mothering role to her younger brother. As time went on, she opened up in the special afternoon group where she took on a leadership role with a photography project, poetry, and learning mehndi. Later on, when she joined the morning Green Group, I saw her always listening to Yasmin and taking on the responsibilities of the younger youth in the group. Whenever I talked to her, she always spoke up and allowed me to listen to her point of view. Fatima’s striving to be more involved in the artist work the church was doing I feel make her a confident woman.”

The program also gave opportunities for growth for the young adults who served as mentors for the youth. Rebecca Germanetti shared this: “My position was a volunteer staff member, but I often took on equal responsibilities when it came to program development and management. I now would feel more comfortable teaching young people about any of the areas of work. Over all, this volunteer position taught me how to be more flexible and adaptable in youth work, and to effectively coordinate youth programs in short amounts of time.”

The Young Leaders will be showing off their skills at a “Green and Good” Banquet on Saturday, September 29 at 6:00 pm. The Young Leaders Program is a project of St. Paul’s Lutheran, at 2742 15th Ave S. Its goal is to build job and leadership skills in youth ages 11-15. For more information, or to volunteer, contact Chris Leehey at stpaulscreate@gmail.com or 612-724-3862.

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