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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Monday May 27th 2024

Youth Gather and Grow Solutions in Phillips

By Ruby Levine

In July 2010, the unemployment rate for people ages 16-24 reached 19.1% nationally – it”'s worse in low-income and minority communities. In response, young people here in the Twin Cities are working with the broader community to create solutions.

The Summer of Solutions (SoS) is a two-month summer program building capacity for projects that address social and environmental injustice in Phillips and the Twin Cities as a whole. Last summer, 25 full- and part-time SoS participants gathered in Phillips to work on energy efficiency, bike access, green manufacturing, and urban farming. The initial influx of capacity provided by SoS has led to sustained work throughout the year in the Phillips community and all around the Twin Cities and the program is gearing up for another jolt of energy this summer.

The program this summer will continue work on these four focus areas. The urban farming project will help develop the emerging Concrete Beet Farm on the vacant lot on 15th Avenue near 28th Street and will provide fresh produce for the neighborhood. Participants will learn bike skills and expand bike access in partnership with Sibley Bike Depot of St Paul and create green industry centers with the Alliance to ReIndustrialize for a Sustainable Economy (ARISE) all across the Twin Cities. SoS will work with the Our Power campaign to bring residents of South Minneapolis together to build an affordable, reliable energy system that is environmentally sustainable and creates local jobs. All are welcome to join in the community energy planning meetings held every other Friday (including 3/11 and 3/25) through May in the basement conference room of the US Bank Building on 10th and Lake.

In addition to launching and sustaining community transformation projects, SoS serves as a leadership development experience for its participants. The program begins with a weeklong training in skills such as facilitation and fundraising, and the models of social entrepreneurship and green economy development. Throughout the summer, participants build job skills in farming, bike maintenance, and weatherization.

Young people ages 14-30 who are interested building a just, sustainable economy right here in Phillips can now apply for the 2011 program. Applications for participants are available at The priority deadline is March 13; the final deadline is April 24. The Summer of Solutions is free to all participants and provides need-based financial support to allow young people from all backgrounds to participate. Please visit for more information, and call 651-300-4360 or email to get involved as a participant, community partner, or volunteer.

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