Dennis Spears, successful local entertainer and beloved mentor to youth on the North Side, attributes much of his life success to a man who loved him unconditionally, taught him patiently, and provided steady examples of good citizenship and integrity in the way he lived his everyday life. This man was Spears’ grandfather, known to most in his Mangham, Louisiana community as Mr. George. Spears was born in Toledo, Ohio to a single mother he adores and describes as his “biggest fan.” Early on in his life, Spears’ grandparents stepped in to help their daughter and grandson, raising Spears on their farm and teaching him the values of hard work, community service and loving God.
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Harlem Children’s Zone founder gives feedback on Northside Achievement Zone
By James L. Stroud, Jr.
If a revolutionary is a person dedicated to change in any establishment, like a school system, business, or a government agency, then one might consider the appointment of Geoffrey Canada as the commander and chief of an education reform revolution. On October 2, Canada, who is nationally recognized as an educator, mentor, children’s education advocate, poet and the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York, accompanied by U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), made a visit to the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) in North Minneapolis. NAZ is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education project that was formerly the Peace Foundation, which had a focus of stopping violence in North Minneapolis. Since changing to NAZ, their goal is to replicate the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone. Lead by President/CEO Sondra Samuels, the mission of the NAZ is to build a culture of achievement in a geographic zone in North Minneapolis to ensure that all youth graduate from high school college ready. Continue Reading →
The Ripley Memorial Foundation, a donor-advised fund of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, has awarded $59,500 in grants to nine organizations. The grant period is January 1 — December 31, 2012. The grantees are:
Centro ($7,000): To pilot a new Latino youth leadership and service-learning curriculum to reduce the likelihood of pregnancy among low-income Latino teens in Minneapolis. Employment Action Center ($8,000): To support Bright Futures, a comprehensive school- and community-based program for pregnant and parenting teen mothers. Face to Face ($4,500): To support ”B Free,” a program that provides a year’s worth of birth control to approximately 55 uninsured adolescent clients at high risk for teen pregnancy. Continue Reading →