This month, Redeemer celebrates the kickoff of the Northside Leadership Project. With 24 housing units, Redeemer is moving beyond simply providing affordable housing for those in need. Beginning in August, Redeemer welcomed a dozen new young adults to the Harrison neighborhood to serve as leaders in the community. The Northside Leadership Project's mission is to unleash young people to share their unique gifts and passions, to organize for change in their communities, and to live out a strong commitment to racial equity. We so strongly believe in the importance of living in community with those we work with, that these young folks uprooted themselves and moved into the neighborhood. That is a passionate kind of committment. But these young adults aren't here to simply live in the neighborhood; they each serve in a range of projects hosted by Redeemer. Here are just some of the ways that these young folks are engaging in the community:
- Redeemer After School Program: Held each Monday and Wednesday from 3:00 - 6:30 pm, the Redeemer After School Program provides tutoring, meals, and enrichment classes for 30 first through eigth graders. Young adults share talents with participants that include how to rap, cook, community organizing skills, piano lessons, and a whole host of other activities. Through all of this, kids are encouraged to become leaders in their communities while pursuing their interests and passions.
- Venture North Bike Shop: Redeemer's bike shop, Venture North, provides job skill training through the vehicle of bicycle repair. Teenagers from the neighborhood work as paid apprentices, learning to repair bikes while developing lasting work skills that will transfer to other opportunities. Through the Earn-A-Bike program, youth are able to earn their own bike in exchange for learning basic safety and repair skills.
- Young Adult Worship: To contribute to Redeemer's already vibrant faith community, young adults involved in the Northside Leadership Program have organized a monthly young adult worship service that caters to the tastes and interests of young adults of faith.
- Urban Gardening: Members of the Northside Leadership Program work in Redeemer's garden to grow incredible amounts of produce and then cook them in tasty ways to serve at the afterschool program. (You wouldn't believe how much 11-year-olds could love kale chips.) Participants in the afterschool program are guided by these young adults to learn the skills of gardening and healthy food preparation.
The Northside Leadership Project is not about one-sided service; as our young leaders live and work in the neighborhood, they are supported by the reciprocal relationships that this community provides. An inspiring testament to the impact of the project is Trevon Thomson, a recent graduate from North Community High School in North Minneapolis. Three years ago, after his previous church closed, he became involved with Redeemer through the Redeemer After School Program and the Redeemer JUMP Crew, a hip-hop performing arts ensemble. This year he started working at Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee as an apprentice barista and bike mechanic. While helping construct Redeemer's affordable housing duplex, Trevon became interested in pursuing college and work in mechanical engineering or construction. The Northside Leadership Project is an important first stepping-stone for Trevon to achieve those goals. “It’s gonna be a lot of responsibility, living on my own,” he said. But he also recognizes that he will be supported in taking on this challenge through the Northside Leadership Project, explaining, “I’m looking forward to meeting all the new people who will live here this year.” Trevon is ready to develop the next generation of young leaders in the neighborhood through the apprentice program at Venture North and the Redeemer JUMP Crew, “so that it continues for a long time.”
To help continue Redeemer's work with the Northside Leadership Project, consider giving a donation. Your money will go towards the after school program's operational costs as well as subsidizing housing so that these young adults can pour themselves into the community with a smaller finicial burden.
As always, peace to you from the Redeemer community!
Young adults help out at annual block party
Youth learn all about bike repair