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Girls and Youth Programs

Elevating Youth Leadership

Preparing Youth for the Future

We equip youth with the skills and experience to nurture their confidence, relationships and power to be leaders in their lives and communities. Our programs advance systemic change in schools and communities by promoting the value of youths’ lived experiences, ethnic and racial identities and diverse perspectives. Making a Difference. That’s the Difference.™

Our high-quality afterschool and summer programs use culturally responsive, research-based curriculum focused on safety, community and leadership, future-orientation, enrichment and health.

YWCA Minneapolis is one of the largest providers of out-of-school-time programs in the city. Afterschool programs take place at 20+ Minneapolis public and charter schools, community centers and YWCA locations across the Twin Cities.

We inspire and challenge 1,250+ young people each year, resulting in:

  • Youth leading and advocating to positively affect their communities.
  • Youth who are supported by adults and connected to resources that support their goals and values.
  • Youth obtaining the skills, education and value of lifelong learning needed to achieve their desired future.
  • Youth leading healthy lifestyles that nurture their minds, bodies and spirits.

Programs for Girls and Youth

Beacon Learning Centers

YWCA Minneapolis is a member of the Minneapolis Beacons Network, which engages youth as leaders and learners by transforming schools into active youth centers afterschool and in the summer. Our Beacon Learning Centers offer afterschool programs in two north Minneapolis schools. With a strategic combination of academic and enrichment activities, we help girls and youth develop into confident individuals who succeed in academic environments and beyond.

By providing comprehensive academic support and youth development four days a week, Beacon Learning Centers foster learning, communication and leadership skills in Minneapolis girls and youth — connecting children with the tools they need to thrive both in and out of the classroom.

Contact Plus

Contact Plus helps middle school and high school youth across Minneapolis understand and respect sexual health. The purpose of this program is to connect Minneapolis girls and youth with a comprehensive sexual health education to ensure they make more responsible, well-informed decisions throughout school and life.

Throughout the Contact Plus program, participants will gather in gender-specific or coed groups and engage in productive conversations and engaging exercises to help them understand themselves in relation to others. Along with lessons on assertive communication and developing strong decision-making skills, the program also covers the impact of early pregnancy and other sexual outcomes to help youth appreciate the gravity and overall effects of their choices.

Girls Inc.

Girls Incorporated is a network of programs across the nation that inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold. Through Girls Inc., girls take risks, discover their inherent strengths, learn to value themselves and create long-lasting mentorship relationships in a pro-girl environment. This data-driven programming helps girls traverse complex gender, economic and social barriers to find success.
As a proud member organization of Girls Inc., we provide research-based curriculum led by trained professionals to help Minneapolis girls thrive academically, make smart life choices, manage money, navigate media messages and more. Our Girls. Inc. program also focuses on encouraging young women to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and build stronger connections with other members of their community to help them envision and achieve their ideal future.

Strong Fast Fit

Strong Fast Fit is a culturally-specific afterschool program for Latino, Hmong, Native American and East African youth designed to help participants and their families achieve optimal health. In this one-year program, youth ages 7 to 14 meet twice a week to learn important facts on nutrition and exercise, discover healthy foods and sports they love — as well as develop practical skills to help implement good habits into their daily routines. Strong Fast Fit works to address health disparities by empowering youth to understand the root causes, celebrate culturally meaningful food and fitness, and take charge of their health.

Strong Fast Fit arranges multiple field trips and athletic events throughout the program to encourage participation of positive exercise habits. We also schedule regular fitness assessments to help participating youth visualize and achieve their fitness goals. Strong Fast Fit acts as a combination of health education and fitness classes — empowering youth with the insights and skills they need to improve and maintain their health. Youth who participate receive free fitness memberships from YWCA Minneapolis for themselves and their families.

Words from YWCA Youth

Each Year In Our High-Quality Girls & Youth Programs:

1,250+ girls and youth become learners, leaders and creators of change

  • 66% are female
  • 93% are youth of color
  • 92% receive free or reduced-price school lunch
  • 76% are in middle school (ages 10-14)
  • 92% demonstrate social/emotional skills in positive peer relationships and 91% in self-management
  • 91% express/feel a sense of belonging in their program group and also state they had a trusted adult they could go to for support
  • 87% demonstrate connection to learning/school
  • 100% intend to graduate high school and 97% intend to pursue post-secondary education
  • 90% of program alumni believe they can create change