WellShare International, a public health non-profit organization headquartered in Minneapolis, MN with a community health worker hub in Mankato, MN, announced that they will commence a new partnership with the Mayo Clinic Health System. The Mayo Clinic Health System is providing funding for WellShare’s new Mankato Somali Youth Group, the first Somali youth group in Mankato.
WellShare’s Mankato Somali Youth Group serves children ages 7-12, one day per week, with a focus on positive health messaging, academic and social support, and community integration. Supported by positive intergenerational relationships, participants develop healthy lifestyles, leadership skills, and social-emotional wellbeing as they work to help transform the community around them.
“We are very proud to support such a worthy pilot program that will reach so many Somali youth and their families in our area,” says Jacqueline Corona, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Health System physician leader for the Southwest Minnesota Equity, Inclusion and Diversity committee. “Quality, culturally sensitive programming like this makes a big difference in the academic growth, health education, and social development of our youth. This program aims to target inequity and the feeling of exclusion that many Somali families experience in our community.”
Since 2002, WellShare’s award-winning youth program has used arts, health science, and personal development practices to engage East African immigrant youth in Mpls, MN. Seeing the need for this type of program in Mankato, Evan Curtin, Director of WellShare’s CHW Hub in Mankato, incorporated the successful model into a first of its kind program in Mankato. Program Coordinator, Mohamed Ibrahim said, “our kids have educational aspirations that are ultimately unmet because of the structural inequalities that prevent them from accessing resources needed to achieve the lives they aspire for themselves and their families. Our program will provide a culturally responsive learning environment in which our youth feel safe, valued and empowered, as their cultural experiences and perspectives are represented and included in program structure and staffing.”
WellShare plans to expand this program to older children and to increase our sessions to three days a week. For more information, please contact WellShare’s Director of Mankato CHW Hub, [email protected].