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Members of the Northfield PRIMEtime Collaborative, which includes after school enrichment programs from the Northfield Middle School Youth Center, the high school, elementary schools, and The Key, attended the Rally for Minnesota Youth Day at the Capitol on Thursday March 5th. This was an all-day event created so that hundreds of participants from dozens of youth service organizations throughout MN could come together to rally behind common issues, including homelessness, mentoring, out-of-school time programming, workforce development, and youth intervention.

Members of the PRIMEtime Collaborative took an early bus up to St. Paul and all members participated in a kick-off at the Kelly Inn, a march to the Capitol, meetings with State Senator Kevin Dahle and State House Representative David Bly, and a giant youth rally in the rotunda of the Capitol. Three members of the PRIMEtime Collaborative gave testimony to a committee debating a bill for after school funding. After the testimonies, the weary warriors for youth funding headed home to Northfield.

The testimonies given by Northfield High School Assistant Principal Marnie Thompson, Northfield High School senior and NUY Youth Board President Ruth Amerman, and Middle School Youth Center participant and leader Champange Eiklenborg were powerful presentations given during deliberation of an upcoming early education bill (HF203) by the Early Childhood Finance and Policy Division Committee. A big shout out to The Key’s Ruth Amerman for her especially gut-wrenching testimony.

The PRIMEtime Collaborative was given an “After School Community Learning Program” grant of $299,295.31 for a two-year period through the Minnesota Department of Education in the Fall of 2007. The Collaborative was at the Capitol to advocate for future funding of this kind. The Northfield Union of Youth (The Key) is also funded by, and advocated for future funding for, the Office of Justice “Youth Intervention Program.” YIPA (Minnesota Youth Intervention Programs Association), a youth advocacy group of which the NUY is a member, has a future bill (HF972 & SF741) that is trying to keep the Youth Intervention Program from having its funding cut. These bills should be heard in the Public Safety Finance/Budget Committees of both the House and Senate later this month.

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