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An admissions representative from the University of Minnesota talks with students from the Freedom School.

Juan Vergara from the University's Office of Admissions talks to Freedom School students about programs at the U.

Freedom School students visit Twin Cities campus

Summer program connects North Minneapolis students with higher education experience

By Mark Mahon

July 23, 2008

For a second year, the University of Minnesota's Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health has partnered with Kwanzaa Church and the Nia Imani Youth Development Center in north Minneapolis to bring students from the Kwanzaa Freedom School to the University of Minnesota campus.

The Kwanzaa Freedom School is a six-week, literacy-rich summer and after-school program designed to create positive learning environments for youth. Fifteen children, primarily from the Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhoods, recently experienced the academic and learning resources of the Twin Cities campus--both in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

"We are proud to partner with Kwanzaa Church and the Nia Imani Youth Development Center to connect the University of Minnesota campus with high school-aged youth to promote higher education, as well as the numerous opportunities at the U to discover personal passions which support continued learning," said Paul Snyder, director of the Minnesota Youth Community Learning (MYCL) Initiative in the University's Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health (Department of Pediatrics).

Kwanzaa Freedom School students heard from Trent Tucker, U community relations and youth development coordinator, as well as staff from the admissions office. Tucker talked about the importance of planning for one's future and the value of higher education in a changing world.

The students heard a lecture on classroom note-taking strategies and also had some fun, too, with a bowling outing in Goldy's Game Room.

The Freedom School movement has its roots in the modern civil rights movement, and is administered by the Children's Defense Fund.