Minnesota Youth Story Squad
Engagement. Mentorship. Empowerment.
Minnesota Youth Story Squad (MYSS) addresses educational opportunity gaps and amplifies voices through storytelling to engage school-aged youth in the Twin Cities. We grow and sustain partnerships with Twin Cities public schools where many will be the first in their families to attend college.
Developed in the College of Liberal Arts, MYSS offers a rich interdisciplinary, culturally relevant curriculum that uses digital media-making to engage youth academically, socially and emotionally, and to build in mentorship opportunities with UMN undergraduates. We recognize their achievements and showcase their stories at a celebration at the University of Minnesota for students and their families each year.
Impact to Date
After participating in our programming:
- 81% of middle school students imagine college in their future.
- 78% believe they can succeed in school.
- 68% better understand a path to college.
Over one thousand students at Parkway Montessori (St. Paul) and Northeast Middle School (Minneapolis) have created digital stories advocating for social change and a brighter future.
“The Minnesota Youth Story Squad is a compelling example of the impact that we in higher education can have in those challenging [middle school] years. And personally, it was an affirmation of the great creativity combined with seriousness combined with fun exhibited by young students...On the big screen at Northrop I saw powerful storytellers discussing vital social topics.”
Dean John Coleman, College of Liberal Arts, 2018
The Future Looks Bright
Acquiring new knowledge transforms lives; it opens up educational and career possibilities for youth who do not have access to digital media-making technology and curriculum in their schools and homes. For these reasons, we are expanding to high schools and eventually greater Minnesota. This will give us more opportunities to work with incredible K-12 students, UMN undergraduates, and public school teachers. Our plans include broadcasting youths’ videos, expanding our technology, sharing our curriculum, researching and evaluating the impact of our programming, and broadening our reach.