MINNEAPOLIS, April 10, 2023 – Minneapolis College and the YMCA of the North, a leading nonprofit dedicated to youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, celebrate Beacons Next Generation, the expanded Beacons initiative that grows the program from its current K-12 model to K-Career on April 12.

Beacons participants and partners will gather on the Minneapolis College campus Wednesday, April 12, 11 a.m. -1:30 p.m., for a light lunch, program space tours, and a brief presentation beginning at 12:15 p.m. The event is free, however, pre-registration is required.

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

“Minneapolis College is the most attended post-secondary institution for our Beacons grads and Beacons Next Generation seeks to impact levels of postsecondary access, retention, career preparation, and overall wellbeing for young people facing barriers in the transition to adulthood,” said Jenny Collins, Executive Director at the YMCA of the North. “We accomplish this by co-creating with students a space for joy, belonging, career exploration, connection to trusted adults and peers, and navigation of resources on and off campus to help ensure students reach their desired future.”

“College can be difficult to navigate and the new Beacons Next Generation K-Career model provides continuity of support throughout a student’s educational experience,” said Heidi Aldes, Dean of Enrollment Management at Minneapolis College. “The same trusted caring adults who have been there for students from K-12 continue to be there for students as they navigate the next step of their lives, providing guidance on college, career, and life choices.”

“Before Beacons, I didn’t know where most things were on campus or understand the resources available,” said Beacons Next Generation participant and student leader.  “It was hard to navigate college alone and it felt overwhelming. Once I came to Beacons, I found people who could help me find opportunities, I am doing much better in my classes and I get to lead and create the campus experience I want and know my peers also want.” 

​Beacons engages young people as leaders and learners by transforming schools into active youth centers afterschool and in the summer, providing free high quality educational, recreational, and leadership development activities opportunities to more than 3,000 kindergarten–12th grade young people and their families at our 16 Beacons Centers located in neighborhoods in North, Northeast, and South Minneapolis, and Richfield. Beacons youth attend schools a week more per year than their peers and graduate at higher rates.

This Beacons Next Generation innovation was made possible through private philanthropy and the support of the Y of the North, Minneapolis College, and the Beacons Network (including the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, Community Education, Minneapolis Public Schools, Richfield Public Schools, and the YWCA of Minneapolis) to empower young people beyond high school and eliminating barriers that limit their potential to learn, grow, and thrive.

For more information, visit www.BeaconsMn.org.

About Minneapolis College

Minneapolis College is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system and offers students more than 100 liberal arts, career and technical programs designed to prepare them for good jobs in high-demand professions or to transfer to a four-year college or university. Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, nearly 10,000 students enroll annually in credit and non-credit programs. To learn more about Minneapolis College, visit www.minneapolis.edu.

About the YMCA of the North

The YMCA of the North is a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Established 167 years ago, the Ys provide life-strengthening services across the greater Twin Cities metro region, southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin communities. The 29 locations and program sites, eight overnight camps, 10 day camps, and more than 90 child care sites engage more than 370,000 men, women, and children of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds. To learn more about the Y’s mission and work, visit www.ymcanorth.org.