• Maryam

    Maryam began attending YWCA St. Paul Youth programs at age 14, and committed to regular attendance for four years. Now as a high school senior, she has gained the skills and experience to be the first in her family to attend college. Watch Video
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  • Shay

    At just 18, Shay has faced both adversity and trauma. Her experiences have transformed her into a passionate advocate for youth and someone determined to make a difference in the lives of others. Watch Video
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  • Rakeem

    Lacking a stable support system throughout his childhood, Rakeem came to the YWCA looking to build new relationships and stay on the right path. Today, thanks to the network of support he found through IMPACT, he is focused on earning his high school diploma. Watch Video
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  • Khalique

    At the YWCA, Khalique not only found a job but a positive path. Watch Video
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  • Quintin

    Quintin has made great academic strides with help from the Youth Achievers Program and Project Able. Watch Video
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  • Nena

    Nena quickly became involved in the YWCA’s opportunities to connect with other young people and to make a difference in her community. She also flourished when it came to defining her educational goals and took advantage of exposure to employment and career opportunities for the future. Watch Video
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Rakeem

Staying on the Right Track

At 15, Rakeem was in crisis. Battling the effects of early childhood trauma, years in foster care and a dissolved adoption, he faced a return to the foster care system. His life changed when he was reunited with his biological brother and welcomed into his home.

Together, they began the work of helping Rakeem to stabilize his life and chart a course for the future. At the YWCA St. Paul, they found a community who not only believed in Rakeem’s potential, but was ready to help him meet his goals.

Participating in the IMPACT program has helped Rakeem to create new friendships, learn new skills, and explore options for his future. Looking back, he’s proud of the changes he’s made and thankful IMPACT has helped him to stay in school and on a positive path. “I swear, I was a hot mess,” he explains. “The young man [I am] now is less vulnerable and less angry, and more in control.”

Currently a senior in high school, Rakeem is looking forward to graduation. As he transitions to adulthood, he knows the YWCA will be there to help him navigate. “You know me,” he says. “I’m not perfect at anything yet but I’m working towards it.”

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“I’m not perfect at anything yet but I'm working towards it.”