Shaadia | NAZ Scholar, Patrick Henry High School (Minneapolis) Graduate, Rising Freshman Going to Augsburg University this Fall! "I’m the youngest girl of 7 children, my parents immigrated here from Somalia almost 20 years ago, I am among the first generation of my family to even attend kindergarten, let alone college ... In pushing boundaries, I’ve learned to value education and going to college. Not just because I wanted to break a couple rules, but because my parents didn’t have that opportunity. They fleed their country to provide the best life for my siblings and I — and college is apart of that best life. In addition, I want to set myself up for success, I know going to college and pursuing a career is the best way to do that.
With NAZ’s help, the stress of doing it alone is lifted. They provide you with an in-school mentor and resources that really should be available to all students. NAZ mentors are there to run through the obstacles with you ... With NAZ’s help, I’ve learned to set goals and to work my absolute hardest to make my dreams come true. My dreams for the future are to are to attend college and double major in nursing and social work. Once I graduate and reach those dreams, I hope to work for an organization that helps youth that aren’t exposed to many opportunities for success accomplish their own dreams.
I think it’s important to share my story and tell why I value education because there are students that have the same story and face the same obstacles that have allowed those obstacles to stop them.
I’m here to tell you, there is no obstacle big enough to stop you from reaching the finish line that is life and your happiness." #NorthFaceFriday#PathtoCollegeWalk#PTCW2018
#Repost @nazmpls with @get_repost
Enthrophic | Equity Engagement Manager for NAZ partner, Urban Homeworks; NAZ parent ensuring her kids go to college
I am a single parent looking after eight kids and no one talked to me about college. No one told me to save money for your kids' education, to apply for scholarships, or helped me understand what that process looked like. My oldest daughter was a freshman in high school and I remember attending a college seminar - I left out crying. I was the only person of color and everyone else was talking about investments and how they were going to leverage their homes. And here I was experiencing displacement and living in a public housing unit. I was overwhelmed.
I'll never forget the first time I heard about NAZ. I had just moved to North Minneapolis and I was at a North high open house. Two people in the gallery asked, "do you want your kids to go to college?" I screamed, "yes!" The support I have gotten has been tremendous and just knowing there is a village standing behind my family's success means everything to me.
Dennis | New NAZ Family Achievement Coach at KIPP "I have the chance to work with families who remind me of myself and how I grew up. I was able to have close mentors who supported me through my journey as I became successful in my own right. I can now be that mentor for someone else. "
Deirdre Elem | Representing our youngest scholars at Advocacy for Children Day at the Capitol "NAZ is an organization that helps with the kids, helps them in school, tutoring, etc. I’ve been a part of it for six years.
It’s hard to let a person or a coach know your everything. But me, Percy, Sherman ... I make them smile and they make me smile.
Cameron, one of my scholar's, is doing really well. He’s getting all A’s. I have 14 grandchildren and I took on custody of him and his siblings. He wants to be an architect. He loves being called a scholar by the coaches. I say it every day “good afternoon Scholar, and how was your day?” #northfacefriday
Dominique | NAZ parent, stopping by with her two scholars to pick up a NORTH Product bag (by @askovfinlayson) that was donated to NAZ by @target "I only have one thing to say about NAZ: it works." #NorthFaceFriday
Shatika | NAZ Family Achievement Coach located at La Crèche "If I had a NAZ Family Achievement Coach, I probably would’ve gone straight to university. My mom would’ve had extra support when it came to helping me fill out college applications, and I probably would’ve been pushed a little bit more instead of breezing through high school just to pass.
I was talking to a co-worker a while ago about what it would look like to have a college fair for NAZ families. I’ll find myself printing out scholarship applications for my families because they’re looking for them. They want to know more. They should physically see and know the endless possibilities.
One day, I want to hear about the 300 NAZ scholars who got accepted into college." #NorthFaceFriday
Rashwan Delphie | NAZ Scholar at Nellie Stone Johnson
"Without my NAZ coach, I wouldn't have accomplished all of my goals. I wanted to start going to all of my classes and turning in all of my assignments. [Anthony] gave me the push I needed and now I'm a great student." #NorthFaceFriday
Delilah | NAZ Family Academy Strategist “I’ve worked at NAZ for almost a decade now and one thing I learned is that I am not a ‘Fixer.' I was that person who wanted to make everything ‘bad’ go away for the families I worked with; to make everything feel okay.
But I had to step back. Every time I came and fixed a problem, I was taking away a learning moment. We [Family Achievement Coaches] are not fixers. We are meant to create ‘ah-ha’ moments — defining moments that one doesn’t see coming, that deep-down, one knows is right, and in a split second, can change the way one sees the world.
We’re there to support them by any means necessary and the best part is, we get to watch them be resilient because we know they are just that — resilient.” #NorthFaceFriday
Imel | NAZ Scholar at 21st Century Kwanzaa Academy, working diligently on his homework with after-school academic support
Thinking about the future, Imel said: "I want to play varsity basketball, go to Cristo Ray, and then go to Clark Atlanta," he said. "I want my neighborhood to be a place where kids can just be and play. That's what I think about." #northfacefriday
Dashiya | NAZ Scholar at KIPP Minnesota and 21st Century Kwanzaa "I'm really excited about science right now. I'm doing this project; it's about body parts and I'm interested in that. I want to be a doctor." #northfacefriday#minnespolis#education
Devon | NAZ Scholar at Henry, committed to Mesabi Range College last week and will be playing football "I'm the first black male in my family to go to college, for a sport, and will be the second to graduate. Committing, I was nervous but excited; I felt that I was important and loved by my coaches, teammates, and classmates. Working with [my family achievement coach] Kani was the right fit. I'm the type of person that needs people on me about school and I already had a relationship with him from sports and coaching." Congratulations Von Von! #NorthFaceFriday
Smariah | NAZ scholar at Northside Child Development Center, dancing with the 1-2 year-old class to "What I am" "Oh! I'm gonna keep my head up high (high)
Keep on reaching high high
Never gonna quit
I'll be getting stronger
And nothing's gonna bring me down (no!)
Never gonna stop
Because I know
I'll keep getting stronger"
Ty, Patience, Stephanie | School Counselors at NAZ Anchor School North Community High School, each works closely with co-located NAZ Family Achievement Coach Andrew (Bloom)
Patience: "I can't imagine working without [Family Achievement Coach] Andrew here — knowing that we can create plans for students together, that we can bounce ideas off of each other, we can contact parents together, having some additional background I that I don't know about with the family. A lot of people know about NAZ and, through work with Andrew, they get to know about the other supports NAZ provides." Ty: "When I think of the Northside, particularly North High School, I like to think of us as a family. I think for North that means the consistency of being there at everyone's highs and everyone's lows. A lot of our students are coming from so much trauma and lack of structure — whether it's housing, income-based, food, or basic needs aren't being met outside of school — so we see a lot of lows. But we also see each other's high highs, and with that, you really get to experience everyone's true self. There is a sense of family and that creates a sense of vulnerability. I think it becomes easier to support one another when you know what each other is going through.
Patience: "We hear the students say a lot that loyalty is very important to them. Using the concept of family, it's really important that students know that if they're having a bad day, or if they make a mistake, or they mess up, that they can still come back the next day and know that someone is going to have their back. Because outside of this school, there are a lot of people who don't have their backs, and when they come to school, they know that they can feel safe here. That's really important!
There are a lot of caring adults that are here and when people think about the Northside they think about all of the negative things ('everything's crazy, you don't want to go over there, stay away from there ...'). The community at large has a lot of different aspects, but there are so many different people that stand up for the community and really work hard to make it what it is.”
Kanke | NAZ Academic Specialist located at PCYC "At first, all of the scholars were trying to see who I was ... One scholar was very resistant toward me, and toward a lot of things. Challenging behavior often shows up because the coursework is too difficult and the child tends to act out. It's not that they're a bad kid, but no one has had the time to stop and see what a kid needs.
One day, he brought his football, and I said: 'let's go to the gym' — knowing he was struggling with sight words. So we threw the ball back and for and spelled 'all' — A-L-L. That became our rhythm.
Now, he has a new way to learn. The classroom doesn't always work for everybody; sometimes we have to switch it up. And I really appreciate the opportunity to bring my creativity.
He's able to do both now — work in the gym and in the classroom space. What I'm able to do is build up his confidence in himself and in his reading. And he's doing it!
A lot of the staff a PCYC work in the field of social work, and they use the term 'hire.' And this scholar we're talking about hired me. It's a trust, someone he can trust and go to.
What I walk forward with is that connection with him. He knows we're on it — both of us. It's like 'Hey Ms. Kanke, we haven't met this week' and I'm like 'I'm coming for you; I got you.' That's my guy. There was a lot of kicking and screaming at the beginning ... but he's the funniest and he's so loving and I wish everyone could see that." #NorthFaceFriday
Chrishaya | NAZ Scholar at Henry "One of my goals this year is to stay focused — even if it's challenging — because that's been a struggle of mine for a long time. I've noticed that when I'm on time, I'm awake more in the day. When I'm on time, I'm ready to go.
NAZ is a group of people that will help you get to where you want to be — to go to college. I want to be a doctor or in the medical field. And Kani [my coach] has helped me find something to work toward. Something that makes me want to come to school and keep my grades up." #NorthFaceFriday
Avery | NAZ Scholar at Henry, Class of 2020 "Last quarter I had like three F's, I wasn't doing very good. I was goofing off, just didn't want to do the work. And then my mom came and made me start doing it. [My coach] Kani helped me a lot.
He helped me strategize a way to get the work done. After we strategized and got the work organized, I did it — because I actually put the effort into it. Those F's turned into B's.
I don't know everything about NAZ, but I know that Kani is always on my butt about getting my grades up and doing well.
I just got a new job. I want to make sure that I've got school stuff right, personal stuff right, and that my life is in order." #NorthFaceFriday
April | NAZ Early Childhood Strategy Manager "I chose NAZ because I want to be a living ROI! Return on the investment!
I grew up in the zone and have been impacted by most, if not all, of the same issues our families are still facing 20 years later. Having attended elementary, middle, and high school here (two of which are NAZ anchor schools), receiving support from people in my community to get through school, and graduating high school college-ready despite all of the chaos that was going on in my life, I'm honored to give back.
I’m honored to work at an organization that focuses on the ONE thing that would have made my transition to college easier. It also shows that if we invest in our community, it comes back around.
I agree wholeheartedly with the Nigerian parable that 'it takes a village to raise a child.' I've learned that when that child grows up, they can become a part of the village or leave — either way, the village members also sustain the village itself.
NAZ is a collaborative of partners in North Minneapolis — our 'village' of sorts. We hold each other accountable, we support each other, we problem solve, and we remove or help restructure the barriers families have to navigate. Without the collaboration of our village, we are less effective. Alone we are strong — but together, as a village, we are most powerful." #NorthFaceFriday
Shayne | NAZ parent, enrolling in empowerment classes allowed her to take a different approach to raising her adopted daughter "I'm proud that I took the classes and what I used from them actually made life better for my daughter. Foundations helped me understand that I didn't know what was going on — and something was going on. I don't know if I would have seen that if I wouldn't have taken the class.
And I took Foundations a second time because I loved it. (The first time I understood it, but the second time I got it!) I learned to stop and ask "am I seeing the full picture or am I just relying on what I know from raising my other children?" I've never raised a kid that was adopted; their mindset is so different. You have a circle of love and you're standing in the middle, but of all the people that are giving you that love, no one is from your family. It taught me to help her understand that it doesn't matter who your parents are, that you have to develop who you are.
Andre taught me to look a little bit deeper and that it was ok that if I could not correct the problem on my own, that it was ok to get some help and how to find the right person to bring in.
It takes a village to raise a child.
What my daughter knows is that she's in love with everyone at NAZ, and she sees them almost every day. She's more positive and focused on her academics now. I think she cared more about trying to figure out this other part of her life than she did anything else; so now she's been able to let things go and understand that this is her world. She more herself and it did change her. "
Andre "Debonaire" | Family Achievement Coach, featured this week in North News — father of four, mentor to 50+ scholars, and founder of the Doorstep Foundation “As much of some of you get on my nerves, I’m going to fight tooth and nail for each and every one of you, to keep you straight,” Andre recently told his Den Brothers North group. For nearly three years he has held this group in the NAZ "Gathering Space." His 35 program participants, all young, African American boys, gather to learn from successful adults and connect with each other.
That combination of communal support and
individual accountability is central to the groups
teachings. "My hope for these boys is that all of them become high-character young men – high-character, working, business owners, fathers, and husbands." Read more about Andre's work beyond NAZ: http://bit.ly/2AkcHPX #NorthFaceFriday
Resheda | New NAZ Early Childhood Scholarship Recipient "We were paying over $300 a week for daycare. It was accessible, but a lot. Then, my husband got laid off and it was like -- ok does my son stay home and lose his spot at the daycare? Or does he go and we just figure it out?
Then Lucretia called as said, 'You're up for the scholarship!' And I was like, 'Oh my god! Thank you, Jesus!' To have to juggle your kids' education (and he's learning a lot) with paying bills, you just shouldn't have to choose. And you want quality care.
We have four kids, there's a lot of financial things that come up. This scholarship means having choices, not having to tell one kid no and the other kid yes.
We pay for medical through our job. For me, I want to get an operation. My son is allergic to tree nuts and also fish and he doesn't have an epi-pen right now; to have an epi-pen is like $400. So the questions become: does he have to die because he's allergic to fish or do we not pay our mortgage because he needs an epi-pen? Just knowing that we can save a year's worth of daycare is immense. It's life or death and it shouldn't be. You shouldn't have to choose.
I was like light a light came on and a band was playing! It was so wonderful, it really was. It couldn't have come at a better time -- this scholarship came the weight was lifted." #NorthFaceFriday
Arriel | NAZ Scholar “I want to see how NAZ can help me become a doctor and go to college.” Arriel’s NAZ team has allowed her to leave the “big stuff” to mom and dad while she charts her own path as a young scholar. Arriel entered school ready to learn. She’s worked hard with her team to stay focused on her goals and avoid distractions. And Arriel has had substantial growth in both reading and math since the beginning of last year.
Damon | NAZ Scholar and 2017 One Future Luncheon Speakers "Working with NAZ, I've had a consistent team that's always looking out for me," Damon said Tuesday. "The Biggest help I got from my NAZ coach, who I call Bloom, was realizing that school was no joke. I was so far behind after my freshman year, but with help, I was able to get back on track with my credits. I built study habits and focused on my grades ... and now, I'm back on track to graduate in June!" #NorthFaceFriday#NAZOneFuture
Alonzo | NAZ Parent, Family Academy graduate and speaker "Me and my wife, we have a total of 16 kids. I had a college graduate from the University of Missouri this past May. I've got a grandson going to Missouri Valley this fall, another down in Rochester playing ball. I have a son who will be graduating from the Police Academy next May. And James is going into high school as a straight-A student. My daughter just made cheerleader last week — straight "A" student.
I'm a neighborhood guy, I like to get out a see what's going on down the block. In the community, we've got a bunch of kids around (and I've got my own to focus on) -- but they'll be out getting in fights or arguing with one another and I'll be out there to stop 'em. Instead, show them how to clean, cut grass. I got that power moment — that core — from NAZ.
I couldn't wait to go to classes on Wednesdays; me and my wife we went together. And I encourage everyone to go who wants to be something to someone." #NorthFaceFriday
Anissa | NAZ Mom, investing in a home on the Northside "I am here as a remnant of this community, having been hurt and healed by North Minneapolis, creating more opportunity for the community, taking what little money I have and reinvesting it. It’s so much greater than just having a
new home." Anissa is the first individual to make use of the Minneapolis housing infill program, which offers homebuyers and developers incentives to build or buy city-owned vacant lots and homes on the Northside.
Shakira | NAZ Mom, recently hired as Civilian Liaison with the Community Engagement Team for the Sheriff's Office "I was nervous the whole time. I kept saying 'I can't do this, I don't have the background, I don't deserve it.' And Jaton said 'you do ... you do, you do deserve it.' Every time, I went to [Foundations] class, she helped me with what I needed. When I was stressed out, I could call my coach or call her. I had five days to apply and every second of the day they were there for me - 100% of the time.
And when I got it, we were able to celebrate that together!
My job is to educate the community about what the Sheriff's office does and build trust with the African American community across Hennepin County. Sometimes I don't get sleep or work up to 16 hours, But you have to put in work in order to see results. You can't do anything behind the desk.
Now that I'm in this position, I'm able to go actually sit and talk to people about what the Sheriff's Office wants to do, or ask them to let me know what they think think. 'Don't act like you know me, pretend like you're talking to an officer. Tell me, because change can't happen if we don't know the issues.' Is change eventually going to happen? Absolutely! Because I'm determined for it to happen." In the process of working with NAZ, they've made me comfortable; because - fundamentally - it isn't about the program it's about me." Congratulations Shakira!
Jaton | Health Access Specialist at NAZ, featured in @mydailyshe this week
"Sometimes your beliefs have been embedded in you for so long from childhood or personal experiences, it can be hard to change them. But if you can just see yourself in that belief and own your part in whatever the situation is then it can help you move forward." #NorthFaceFriday
Navier | NAZ scholar at NCDC, "It felt good being in the play because I was one of the main characters. We practiced for a long time. At first, I didn't want to do it. But at the end of everything, I felt good about being a part of something special." #NorthFaceFriday
Shalayah | NAZ Scholar, eager to give a full tour of the PYC garden and its full contents from vegetables to flowers. "You have to be gentle with butterflies and plants or else they'll break." #NorthFaceFriday#urbangarden
Kenneth | NAZ Family Achievement Coach, starting a new management position in Development "This work is not just about goals. It's heart work. It's like we're heart surgeons and we're working on each other. You know, families really touched my life. And that says to me that it's ok to move forward, because everything I've experienced with these families is something I'll take to the next level. Even speaking with funders and potential donors, I'm bringing their stories with me. 'This is what your donations do. Your donations are able to continue to encourage a family to push forward on their goals and make sure they're successful.'"
Twins Aleiya and Kenneth | NAZ Scholars, just celebrated their 13 birthdays "Being a part of NAZ is like a safe space; it's like a family that my family can count on. It's helped me a lot with my comprehension. When I read, I like to pay attention to words I don't know. I say them in my head and write them down. Then, I say it out loud and if I don't know what they mean I ask a teacher. I can understanding more," said Aleyia. "This school year, I'm working on my hand writing, because it looks like a third graders and I want it to be clearer. And I'm working on my anger. I'm excited!" said Kenneth. #NorthFaceFriday
Charlie | NAZ Scholar at Plymouth Christian Youth Center, Releasing Butterflies in the Garden "I don't like science (not at all), but this was fun! The caterpillars hatch out of an egg; they turn into larva. They make their chrysalis and they hatch ... well you have to wait 5 to 15 days. I can't wait to get to high school science and do some of that mad scientist stuff!" #NorthFaceFriday
Mi'Ahna and Dontayeah | NAZ Scholars, Cookie Cart Youth Employees
In a twist on Take Our Kids to Work Day, Cookie Cart and NAZ scholars hosted a "Bring Your Families to Work Night," this week. "It's fun to have my family here, maybe a little irritating, but fun. At first, we weren't really into the idea. We were like 'no, we don't want to bring our families!' But look ... every one of us brought somebody! It's funny." said Donteyah "Having my mom here made my heart smile. It assures me that she will always support me," Mi'Ahna said, "I got to show that I'm learning how to work with others well; and I'm learning about financial literacy and saving money." #NorthFaceFriday
LaVon | Family Achievement Coach, “A lot of making a difference has to do with building relationships. Sometimes, all a kid needs to see is that there is someone who cares, who is there to support him. They really respond to that, and that’s the importance of NAZ.” #NorthFaceFriday
Antiquita | NAZ Scholar at Cookie Cart, Cookie Cart Youth Employee "I'll be going to Normandale College for PSEO. I'll be able to use any of their stuff on campus; I'll be able to use the weight room, the swimming pool, the computer lab, the library -- so basically it's like I'm going to be an official student at Normandale and also be a student at South. I have a lot I can say I'm proud of, but that's something that I really had to push for." #NorthFaceFriday
Taejon | NAZ Family Coach "NAZ is more than a new position for me; it's a new way of life. It gave me a sense that there are people who are still willing to stand in the line of fire and put their careers on the line for a neighborhood.
It's a struggle. You have to stand in it, and here I am! All ten toes embedded in the mission. It's part of the deal to make something better of yourself and make a difference in your community."
Saeed | NAZ Scholar at Cookie Cart, Cookie Cart Youth Employee
After I finish school, I will try my best to get an associate degree and then I'll get a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. After that, I'll try to be involved with the schools and be a teacher, or I could be a manager at Cookie Cart. I just want to be involved with teenagers and help them the way Cookie Cart is helping me right now.
As I grow older (24, 25, 26), I want to get my master's degree. I want to make this world a better place and help people who can't afford medicines for diseases.