Minneapolis teens take part in Youth in Government at the Minnesota State House
  • According to the National Mentoring Partnership, youth at risk for falling off track are 55 percent more likely to enroll in college and 130 percent more likely to hold leadership positions when they had a mentor in their lives. 
  • According to Youth.Gov, studies show that youth who form supportive, healthy relationships with mentors are less likely to initiate alcohol and drug use
  • The National Mentoring Partnership reports that studies show every dollar invested in quality youth mentoring programs yields a three-dollar return in benefits to society at a minimum. 

The YMCA of the North, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, offers educational and enrichment programs for youth that encourage supportive relationships with mentors and positive adult role models. 

Studies show that young people who have mentors in their lives are less likely to engage in risky behaviors and more likely to pursue post-secondary education or hold leadership positions. The YMCA provides programs that connect young people of all ages and backgrounds to caring adult mentors and role models and works to identify and eliminate barriers to participation. 

"Youth development is a key tenet of the YMCA's mission," said Glen Gunderson, president, and CEO for the Y. "Our programs create safe spaces for young people to learn, grow, and be themselves, and to receive support and guidance from positive adult role models." 

Gunderson added that the YMCA offers an array of youth-oriented programs for all ages and backgrounds, including: 

  • Child care programs for kids ages six weeks to five years to learn and grow from trained teachers and early childhood experts
  • School Age Care programs, including Beacons in Minneapolis and Richfield, and School Success in St. Paul, that provide engaging enrichment programs before and after school and allow young people to learn from positive adults role models outside the classroom
  • Camps that allow young people to develop relationships with caring counselors while experiencing the great outdoors
  • Youth sports programs that provide opportunities to build confidence and gain new skills while receiving encouragement and support from Y coaches
  • Teen Thrive Programs that allow older youth to experience leadership opportunities and learn from Y team members
  • Youth Intervention Services which connects young people facing barriers with Y life coaches who provide resources and support to encourage future success
  • University YMCA, where college students serve as near-peer mentors to youth in schools and community centers near campus, inspiring youth to explore their dreams for college and career in their future. The University YMCA also provides peer-to-peer support for students from underrepresented communities on campus, including first-generation college students.
  • YMCA Center for Youth Voice encourages students from across the state to participate in experiential learning opportunities where they can discover their voice, identify issues that matter to them and learn to take action. 

Discover how Gio explores his strengths with the support of his YMCA mentors: Gio's Story.

Learn how YMCA Youth in Government creates generations of mentors helping youth prepare for their future: Generations of Mentors

Because the Y is a leading nonprofit committed to helping all young people thrive, financial assistance is available to those in need. With the generous support of community members, the Y ensures that all have the opportunity to participate. To learn more about the Y's programs, please visit ymcamn.org.