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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Wednesday June 12th 2024

Young Leaders”' Program

Young Leaders Carmen Salviidar (left) and Sami Pineda (right) painting a mural in the 2800 alley between 14th and 15th Avenues during Summer of 2010”'s Young Leaders”' program.

The Young Leaders program was begun in 2006 by St. Paul”'s Lutheran on 15th Ave and 28th Street. After talking with hundreds of people in the area, one of the issues that rose to the top was the lack of programs for youth in the critical ages of 11 to 15. Based on successful programs in Milwaukee and Philadelphia, St. Paul”'s designed the program as a way to build job and leadership skills in youth. Each youth goes through an application, interview and probation process that is similar to the real world of work. If accepted, they are placed in a career team that does work to benefit the community, for which youth receive a stipend. They also receive training in such skills as interview techniques, oral and written reports and workplace safety, and make career day visits to workers in different fields. This summer”'s career days included discussions with Becky George of Mercado Central and Inspector Lucy Gerold of the 3rd Precinct of the Minneapolis Police Department.

The Young Leaders”' work will be on display at the third annual “A Taste of Phillips” at St. Paul”'s, October 1-10. For more information on Young Leaders, contact Pr. Patrick Cabello Hansel at 612-724-3862 or

Young Leaders”' Questions and Answers

by Sami Pineda

Do you like helping or seeing others help the community? Young Leaders is a program that teaches young people how to love and care for their community while acquiring job skills.

My name is Sami Pineda, and I have been a part of Young Leaders since it started 5 years ago. Based out of St. Paul”'s Lutheran Church, ELCA, on 15th Avenue and 28th Street, the Young Leaders program has helped me develop many skills that will be useful, not only in my future work place but in my everyday life. One of our main goals is to build a relationship with the community by doing projects that community members would like to see happen, like painting murals and maintaining gardens. Some of the other projects we did this summer were a documentary about the Young Leaders program and a survey of people and businesses in Phillips. All of these projects were focused on the 6 block area around St. Paul”'s Church, which we called “our turf”.

The survey project aimed to voice opinions and attitudes of residents, business owners, and youth in the neighborhood. We asked questions like, “What are the best things and the biggest challenges in our community?” In addition, the survey asked participants to rank a list of things that affect Phillips as being “very important”, “somewhat important”, or “not important”. In the survey, we also asked, “Of the issues we listed, which are the most important and which are you willing to work on?” Responses included “garbage and recycling,” “more youth programs”, “more police presence”, and “racial and cultural misunderstandings”.

We received 55 surveys from Phillips community members, business owners, church members and youth. Many of the answers were divergent, making it difficult to spot specific trends or topics of importance. In general, however, many people wrote that the best things about Phillips are the diversity of cultures, flowers and greenery, and the way people help each other out. On the other hand, the people surveyed answered that the amount of violence, graffiti, drugs, and gangs are the biggest challenges in the neighborhood. Many people indicated they were willing to work on these challenges, but the most common comment was by people who said they were willing to contribute by supporting recycling, youth programs, and planting more trees.

We also asked, “In what way do you see people working to make changes in the community” and “What do you think keeps people from making changes in the community?” Many respondents thought that ending violence, greenery, and planning events like National Night Out were ways people work to make changes in Phillips. Participants also ranked laziness as one of the most important reason why people are not involved in helping to change the Phillips neighborhood.

Although we collected 55 surveys, we plan to continue to pass out surveys and to gain insight into the attitudes and opinions of more residents and business owners. Young Leaders has been developing into a better and better program each year. Each year that I have participated, I have learned valuable skills that many people don”'t have the chance to acquire. Because of Young Leaders, I am able to be a leader in my church, in my home, and at school with my friends.

Sami Pineda is a resident of Phillips and will be a sophomore at Washburn this fall

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Reader Feedback

One Response to “Young Leaders”' Program”

  1. Sandy Larson says:

    Good job Sami & Carmen. You girls are doing great and making such a difference in your community. Your pride in taking part of this program really shows. Glad to see our future leaders are already exceeding expectations!

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