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Promise Fellow supports local youth
by Rachel Knoop

While Fall activities are in full swing, Kayla Schubert continues to settle in at Greenway School District. Kayla is serving as the AmeriCorps Promise Fellow for the duration of the 2016-2017 school year, working with students who have fallen behind on the path to graduation. By working with students individually, Kayla is able to identify specific needs and create individualized plans to help students get back on track to meet graduation requirements.

 “My goal for the year is to create meaningful relationships with the students and to help them develop the self-confidence to believe that they are capable of achieving whatever they put their mind to,” said Schubert. “I want them to know that there is another adult around who wants to hear what’s going on in their lives and to be a listening ear.”

Schubert joined the school in a joint collaboration between Minnesota Youth Alliance, Independent School District 316, and United Way of 1000 Lakes. According to United Way Executive Director, Kim Brink Smith, the Promise Fellow program aligns with the goals to help area youth thrive. As a community-centered nonprofit, United Way of 1000 Lakes is continuously looking for opportunities to assist the next generation of citizens during their formative years. Smith worked with Greenway during the Spring semester of the 2015-2016 academic year to bring in a Promise Fellow. The program experienced such positive results that it was awarded its second consecutive host agreement to expand in the Greenway school district and beyond.

“Working at Greenway has been an awesome experience,” Schubert said. “The faculty and staff at Greenway have been so welcoming. They have helped me get acclimated to the culture of the school and made me feel very comfortable. I can’t imagine working with a better group of people.”

A native of St. Cloud, Schubert has extensive experience in cultural studies, working in museums, historical centers, and libraries around the country. Using her experiences, she is excited about the opportunity to transition into a classroom setting.

“I know that I want my career to be centered on education, but I don’t know exactly what capacity that will be,” she said. “It is exciting to explore education in a high school setting, and to build more personal relationships with the staff and students.”

According to Schubert, some of the challenges that she faces include adapting to the culture of a new school, adjusting to living in a small town, and learning the rules of hockey.

“Going into a new community is definitely a lot of work, but it’s worth it. I want to learn about the things that are important to these kids so that I can understand and relate to them better. If it’s a big part of their lives, I want to be able to meet them where they are not only in their academics, but also in their extracurricular activities and hobbies.” 

Schubert began the year working with 7 students, but is anticipating working with more than 30 by the end of the academic year.

For more information regarding the AmeriCorps Promise Fellow program, call United Way at 218-999-7570.