Kanke | NAZ Academic Specialist located at PCYC

"At first, all of the scholars were trying to see who I was ...

One scholar was very resistant toward me, and toward a lot of things. Challenging behavior often shows up because the coursework is too difficult and the child tends to act out. It's not that they're a bad kid, but no one has had the time to stop and see what a kid needs.

One day, he brought his football, and I said: 'let's go to the gym' — knowing he was struggling with sight words. So we threw the ball back and for and spelled 'all' — A-L-L. That became our rhythm.

Now, he has a new way to learn. The classroom doesn't always work for everybody; sometimes we have to switch it up. And I really appreciate the opportunity to bring my creativity.

He's able to do both now — work in the gym and in the classroom space. What I'm able to do is build up his confidence in himself and in his reading. And he's doing it!

A lot of the staff a PCYC work in the field of social work, and they use the term 'hire.' And this scholar we're talking about hired me. It's a trust, someone he can trust and go to.

What I walk forward with is that connection with him. He knows we're on it — both of us. It's like 'Hey Ms. Kanke, we haven't met this week' and I'm like 'I'm coming for you; I got you.'

That's my guy. There was a lot of kicking and screaming at the beginning ... but he's the funniest and he's so loving and I wish everyone could see that."

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3 days ago  ·  


A Path to College Starts Here

NAZ is currently not accepting walk-in or call-in referrals.

To enroll in NAZ, you must live within North Minneapolis, have at least one child pre-birth to age 18, and be actively enrolled/engaged with one of our referral partners. Families are referred for enrollment into NAZ by our partners, including schools and early childhood centers, as well as some housing and career/finance partners. Our ability to accept referrals is dependent on roster sizes.

Once you enroll, you’ll receive one-on-one support, guidance, and inspiration from a NAZ Family Achievement Coach who will help you create goals for your family, find resources to reach your goals, and then stick with it.

Through NAZ, you and your family can access cradle to career supports:

  • Early childhood support and knowledge to help your child start kindergarten ready to learn.
  • Mentoring programs to give your child the added benefit of another trusted adult in their life.
  • After-school and summer educational support to give your child more time to learn.
  • Support the stability of the household so that children come to school ready to learn.
  • Family support for social and emotional concerns.
  • Career, finance & adult education support for adults seeking to improve their education and career path.
  • Connections to other families just like you who are working on goals for their whole family.