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Beacons is a collaborative community initiative providing after-school and summer care for young people in grades K–12.

Through Beacons, the YMCA of the North helps provide high-quality educational, recreational, and leadership development activities and eliminate barriers to participation for all youth.

Beacons logo


On any given day in the Beacons program, young people might enjoy a healthy meal, academic groups with licensed teachers, and enrichment groups like sports, music, breakdancing, or art.

The program is designed to help young people:

  • Establish connections with caring adults and peers in a safe space — 96% of Beacons participants say they know an adult in the program will help them if they have a problem.

  • Improve whole-person wellbeing — 96% of Beacons participants say the program has helped them identify interests and talents.

  • Stay on track academically through high school graduation — Beacons participants are 2.2 times more likely to graduate on time.

  • Develop skills to prepare for college, work, and life — More than 70% of Beacons participants who graduate high school enroll in college.

  • Foster connections with school and the community — Beacons participants attend school one week more than similar peers.

Busses are also provided to young people that qualify for school-day transportation.

Beacons Next Generation

Beacons has launched a project at Minneapolis College that provides wrap-around support through higher education toward their dreams for their lives and careers.

This program is guided by the voices of young people asking for more support into young adulthood (and guided by data that reinforced this need):

  • Beacons Next Generation seeks to move the needle for career and college success by bridging efforts between high school graduation to college and high-paying careers. 
  • This new partnership shifts Beacons from a K-12 model to a K-Career model.
  • Beacons Next Generation focuses on college navigation, career exploration, building connection, increasing belonging, and experiencing joy.
  • Students' voice is at the center of all we do.
  • Beacons Next Generation hosts weekly student-led events, provides a student-centered space on campus, and supports resource navigation.
  • It is a space for students to build genuine connections with their peers and the campus community.



Minneapolis | Grades K–8


Saint Paul | Grades K–5


Minneapolis | Post-Secondary


Minneapolis | Grades K–5


Richfield | Grades 9–12


Minneapolis | Grades 9–12


Minneapolis | Grades 9–12

In Collaboration

Part of the Beacons Network — a collaborative initiative between schools, community, and families with the mission to improve young people's academic, social, and lifework development in low-income communities.