Impact and Programs
In 2018, SPYS followed our strategic plan as we continued to be proactive and move upstream, all the way to policy advocacy, while retaining a holistic and full spectrum of services to meet kids where they are. We leveraged our expertise, understanding our unique multi-issue, multi-sector breadth, proven practices, groundbreaking tools, and understanding the intersection between systems. We continued to focus on adults, first through training and also by creating conditions for youth to thrive. We engaged youth and amplified their voices, power, and access to meaningful opportunities, and committed as a board to racial equity, sustainable resource development, staff support, and stewardship vs. management. We ended 2018 with support from a growing base and wide variety of funders. These include long-term investors as well as a continuation of our ongoing support from our core funders. The model of KIDS CHANGING SYSTEMS vs. SYSTEMS CHANGING KIDS is proving to be attractive to foundations. Our innovative Youth Program continues to be an exciting instigator of new relationships with foundations. This is the result of 2017’s fund development approach which launched Youth Power to advance its mission as well as stay relevant and become eligible for more sustainable funding for all of SPYS' essential work. The Black youth in SPYS' YouthPower Leadership Institute have shown their remarkable talents, abilities, and leadership potential, and the funding community is taking notice.
1. YOUTH PARTNERSHIPS: Engage directly with youth and their families to meet their needs, practice restorative justice, and support their goals.
2. INSTITUTIONAL PRACTICES: Train institutions on adopting proven practices for equitable youth outcomes.
3. PUBLIC POLICIES: Amplify youth influence and hold public agencies accountable for securing positive outcomes for all youth.
4. ORGANIZATIONAL VITALITY: Use of inclusive leadership, best practices, continuous improvement, and growing our network and resources.
Community or Constituency Served
St. Paul Youth Services is a leader in reimagining how our community engages with and holds itself accountable for youth.
We partner directly with young people to build skills and resources to achieve their goals; deliver tools, training, and partnerships to guide nonprofits, schools, and public agencies in transforming their practices and cultures to be more youthcentric; and amplify youth voice and agency in public policy - all to achieve measurably more positive and equitable outcomes for our youth.
Behavior Intervention Program: SPYS’ behavioral intervention specialists first work with school staff to equip them with strategies for de-escalating conflicts, then work directly with disruptive students in Saint Paul High Schools, who are mostly Black youth, youth of color, and Indigenous youth, throughout the year to modify their behaviors while providing a supportive relationship. 91% of participating students improved their behavior. 81% improved their academic performance. Participating schools drastically decreased student suspensions. The 225-250 youth in SPYS’s BIP program are 81 percent African American, 9 percent Asian American, 8 Latinx, and 1 percent are white. In addition, we work with LGBTQIA youth many of the youth we work have experienced trauma and/or poverty. 100 percent of the youth qualify for free or reduced lunch. 20% of the youth we partner with have a mental health disability.
Pre-Charge Diversion: This program offers a restorative justice alternative to juvenile court for a range of first-time offenses to avoid the profound, lifelong consequences of a criminal record. It gives Ramsey County youth, age 11-18, a second chance by helping them understand how their choices affect their goals, families, and community, connecting them to resources, and restoring them to a more positive path. Our counselors go into the community to build trust and actively engage youth and parents who are eligible for the program.
46% of Diversion participants are Black, including 3% from East and West African families, for whom we provide translation and tailored services), 17% are Asian or Pacific Islander,7% are Latino, 11% are white, 1% are Native, and 18% are multiracial or chose not to disclose their race. 72% are male and 28% are female.
YouthPower Leadership Institute: SPYS’ culturally-affirming, paid YouthPower Leadership engages the intellectual capital of Black youth, age 13-18 from our Pre-Charge Diversion and Behavior Intervention Programs in powerful curriculum rooted in healing & identity, exploration & innovation and creating a blueprint for a sustainable youth-led approach to systemic change.
Our Youth Power program partners 100 percent with Black youth, because the data showed that Black youth continue to experience the worst disparities in areas of education, health, housing, and criminal justice in the Twin Cities metro area. We work with 100-110 youth per year in YouthPower.
In addition, SPYS partners with adults in our Workshops & Training and Consulting: SPYS' workshops and trainings for nonprofit organizations and other institutions give adults a better understanding of the systemic barriers youth face (especially Black youth, youth of color, and Indigenous youth), and practical skills and confidence to more effectively engage with youth. SPYS also partners with nonprofits and public agencies to assess their approach, identify barriers to youth engagement, and train staff how to transform the culture, and practices to be more youth-centric.
Geographic Area Served
For more than 45 years, St. Paul Youth Services has worked with youth (and their families) in the East Metro of Saint Paul. Most of the youth in our programs live in high-poverty neighborhoods on the East side of Saint Paul. We serve primarily Black youth, youth of color, Indigenous youth, and/or youth who have experienced trauma and/or poverty.