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."

#NorthFaceFriday
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3 days ago  ·  

NAZ History

NAZ began in 2003 as the PEACE Foundation, which built a grassroots movement across race, class and geography toward the common goal of significantly reducing violence in North Minneapolis. Desperate for real change and inspired by the results of the Harlem Children’s Zone, North Minneapolis community organizations and residents pulled together in 2008 to explore solutions to seemingly intractable issues that plagued the neighborhood. Together we developed an achievement-focused model that creates a permanent solution to the “cradle to prison/grave pipeline”—and builds a roadmap for sustainable community transformation.

Today, NAZ leads a collaboration of schools and nonprofit partners that work together on the single goal to end multigenerational poverty through education.

NAZ was awarded a five-year Promise Neighborhood Implementation grant by the U.S. Department of Education in 2012. This seed money is supporting the scale up of our programs and exponentially increasing family enrollment.