Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Urban Research and Outreach/ Engagement Center

Being a child at home alone in the summer is a high-risk occupation. If you call your mother at work thirteen times an hour, she can hurt you.” – Erma Bombeck


This month Cathy and I helped to plan two events, one being the….


University of Minnesota UROC 2nd Annual Summer Resource Fair


The Summer Resource Fair was planned by us, our supervisor – the marvelous Makeda Zulu-Gillespie, Minneapolis Public Schools Area staff, and residents of North Minneapolis. This event was created from a need to share information about summer programs and scholarships for these programs with Northside parents and youth.


On April 7, 2012 over 40 families attended the event which included door prizes, live entertainment, and lots of information about a variety of programs that are available for this upcoming summer. This was a free event open to the public. Some of the programs showcased were Venture North, Juxtaposition Arts, Junior Entrepreneurs of Minnesota (JEM), The Youth and Farm and Market Project, and PCYC. The fair opened its doors at noon and closed at 3:00 pm with local and well known rap artist Jasir “Ja Boogie” Johnson, who introduced The Ja Boogie a new dance sensation!


Parents were able to browse opportunities while children enjoyed getting their faces painted and double –dutch with Coach Jonny of Coach Jonny’s Pros of the Rope.  Another favorite of mine was the University of Minnesota’s Extension’s Simply Good Eating program which had a fantastic display table which had great information about increasing parents’ buying power through cost effective and healthy grocery shopping.


More times often than not, parents are so busy keeping up with life, they can sometimes forget that summer is near and kids need to something to get into over the summer. Parents have to take the first step to make sure their children are in a program that will keep them stimulated throughout the summer until school starts up again. This fair has provided an opportunity for parents to become aware and take control over what their children are involved in over the summer.


Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” – Sarah Caldwell


This month we helped to plan and attended the….


Community Engaged Scholars Spring Introduction to North Minneapolis


On April 6th the Spring Community Engaged Scholars Introduction to North Minneapolis was held at UROC in conjunction with MCTC’s Service Learning Office and the University of Minnesota’s Community Service-Learning Center. We began the event with an introduction to UROC by UROC’s Executive Director, Heidi Barajas, followed by a rousing speech by Minneapolis’s City Council Member for the Fifth Ward, Don Samuels. The students who attended the tour – who are part of the University of Minnesota’s Community Engaged Scholars Program – then visited three different community based organizations to get a feel for the kind of work happening on the Northside. The students were divided into two groups with one group visiting Sumner Library, Harrison Neighborhood Association and Venture North, and the other group visiting Cookie Cart, Juxtaposition and Urban Homeworks. Both groups were exposed to exciting work the organizations are doing as well as getting an introduction to the history and culture of North Minneapolis and learning about the different models of community based organizations. The groups then reconvened at UROC for a discussion and reflection session where the students discussed their expectations of the Northside prior to that day and whether their experience matched these expectations. The Introduction to North Minneapolis happens twice a year and is designed to introduce students to the important work happening in North Minneapolis and inspire them to become involved in the community.








-Brittany M. Lane, TNVNET AmeriCorps VISTA, Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center, University of Minnesota


About Tulane VISTA

Notes from the field from the AmeriCorps VISTA team at Tulane University.



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