Posted by Peggy Strom on Oct 20, 2020
Our speaker today was Mary Stewart from Community Partners with Youth (CPY).  She was joined by Geoff Hollmon from the New Brighton Rotary Club.  CPY recently received a grant from the Community Covid-19 Relief Fund which our club helped form last spring.  This organization was established 23 years ago.  There was a rising crime rate in New Brighton in 1997 and it was determined that much of the increase was a result of youth activity in after-school hours.  Christ The King Church in New Brighton had just finished a major addition to its facility, including a gym.  CPY formed and was able to take advantage of this open gym during the week, providing a place for disadvantaged youth to gather after school, get something to eat and stay occupied in positive ways.  The city's crime rate dropped by 50% in the first year.  In addition to a place for sports, CPY focuses on teaching life skills such as cooking, communication and problem solving.  The kids also give back to the community by participating in service projects.  But Covid-19 brought a halt to all these activities.  CPY had to re-think their approach.  They used the recent grant money to make activity kits and deliver them to kids' homes.  They served 350 kids a week for 11 weeks this summer.  Now that school is back in session they have shifted again.  They have launched a distance learning center at Christ The King Church, providing a place for kids who need help with school work.  This organization is clearly in touch with the community and has been impressive in its ability to meet the changing needs.