Weather Forecast


Youth development project under way

A new initiative to help support Hastings youth is under way. Helping Kids Succeed - The Hastings Way is a project aimed at creating a web of support for youth, helping them be more successful in their lives and education. It provides a framework and tools for families, community leaders, professionals, civic organizations, the faith community, schools and local government to help youth thrive in the community.

The United Way of Hastings, Hastings Public Schools and the Hastings Police Department are the primary sponsors, although several others in the health, faith and social community are also involved. Organizers held a series of meetings in the past two weeks to get the first steps in order. Those first steps are scheduling a youth lock-in and a leadership academy for youth and adults. Both are expected to occur this spring.

The youth lock-in will focus on youth and communicating the mission of Helping Kids Succeed to youth in Hastings so that adults aren't the only ones who understand the measures being taken.

"It begins to have them establish and develop an understanding of the language of the project," said Chief of Police Paul Schnell.

He estimated the lock-in would include about 40 to 80 people. Youth will be invited directly, or they can be nominated or apply themselves. The idea is to see a variety of youth involved.

"We want to get the full spectrum of young people participating," Schnell said.

About two to three weeks following the lock-in will be the leadership academy. This event, designed for a mix of adults and youth, will be a two-day workshop to help key opinion leaders become local trainers for the program.

"This is the way that we move the project," Schnell said. "We develop local expertise."

Here, again, organizers are looking for an array of leaders from diverse spheres of influence. Those who are interested in participating should contact the United Way of Hastings.

The Helping Kids Succeed initiative is being headed by Derek Peterson, founder of Integrative Youth Development. His work locally over the next year and a half will set the groundwork for creating networks of support for youth into the future.