by Anne Long, Executive Director of PCYC and Karen Polzin, PCYC Board President
To all the friends of PCYC:
We are most grateful for your care and support as we navigate through twin pandemics toward the light of hope and new opportunities. We join in solidarity in decrying the violence in our communities and mourn the loss of lives, livelihoods and vital social connections.
In response, we commit to working faithfully and creatively toward a new and better future that ensures freedom and justice for all, and especially the children, youth and families of North Minneapolis.
In that light, this brief letter will address two key questions.
What is PCYC doing now and in the near future to address inequities, fight systemic racism, and ensure our programs are the most effective possible to prepare our young people for a better future?
We will build on our 66-year history of successfully addressing educational and economic inequities experienced by our primary population of black and brown children and families in North Minneapolis. And we will take thoughtful, persistent action, including these three steps already underway:
- The staff of all three major program areas (PYC Arts & Technology High School, Bright Futures K-5 program, and the Capri) have begun to assess program strategies and data to identify changes that promise to achieve even better outcomes in the lives of our children, youth and families.
- PCYC board members and leadership staff will hold a series of reflective conversations and educational sessions to assess, understand, and plan action steps to eliminate racism, discrimination, and disparities in the organization.
- The PCYC Board of Directors has declared Juneteenth as an additional paid holiday for the agency.
How are the children, and how has PCYC fared since our world
turned upside down?
Look at the faces of our high school graduates. These remarkable young people overcame the total disruption of their learning environment and the ravages of the pandemic to earn their high school diplomas. Because of their resilience and
the expertise and commitment of our school staff, our graduation rate rose to 95% this June!
The young children in our Bright Futures program are just beginning a fun and learning-packed summer through individually-focused distance learning activities. The talented Bright Futures staff, in concert with families, will maintain daily contact with the children to ensure their minds are engaged and their spirits high.
Construction on the Capri continues with tentative plans for its use by our high school and Bright Futures scholars when school starts, and a soft opening to the public sometime this fall, all depending, of course, on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, PCYC as an organization is surviving – so far. We were fortunate to receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan, which kept staff employed for eight weeks, and we’re now applying for forgiveness for much of it. However, as with the children and their families, the shape of the future is uncertain. Continued prayers and financial support from you, our PCYC family, will make a big difference over the next year. We also thank all of you who have contacted us and contributed to PCYC during these challenging times.
The mission of PCYC is to enrich the skills, prospects and spirit of North Minneapolis youth and adults, in partnership with families and communities. The staff and board are committed to renewed efforts to carry out this mission with even more vigor, and to achieve better life outcomes for all, ever in partnership with families and other community members.
We dedicate these efforts to the memory of those whose lives have been lost to racism and violence, including some of our own students over the years, and to
Mr. George Floyd and others recently killed in Minneapolis.
Anne Long and Karen Polzin