This fall, the Phillips and Central neighborhoods in Minneapolis welcomed the new Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center at East Lake Street and 4th Avenue, along with its promise to revitalize the urban community by getting kids off the streets and into afterschool programs.
Created by the faith-based nonprofit Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation, the center opened in September and hopes to serve 25,000 1st- through 8th-graders annually through educational, career, and character-building programs, as well as through their participation on sports teams. “This will be a place in the community where parents will feel comfortable sending their kids for education and for sports because it’s close to home and it’s safe,” explains Jill Osborn, president of Urban Ventures.
The building will also house Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, one of a network of high schools that offer college preparatory education and together boast a 98 percent graduation rate. The school opened its doors this fall to 107 poverty-level students looking for a better education and a better chance at graduating.
Urban Ventures chose Colin Powell’s name for the building thanks to the former secretary of state’s reputation for positive leadership.
“We were looking for someone whom students could aspire to be like and be inspired by,” says Osborn.
“I have to admit we’ve had to take a few nine- and 10-year-olds aside and say ‘do you know who he is?’ But it’s a recognizable name for parents, a name that stands strong.”