Letter from SondraDear Friend,

Every day, I see the results of our critical work eliminating opportunity gaps in North Minneapolis. The so-called “Battle Zone” of North Minneapolis is not only my home, but it’s home to over 1,100 hard-working NAZ families with 2,300 high-potential children. With the support of a team, these families are setting their children on a path to success.

And with friends like you on our team, we cannot fail. Together, we can create real, lasting change on the Northside. On June 20th the Star Tribune published an op-ed that I wrote about the work of the NAZ collaborative. It highlights the positive change that is happening in our community.

And our partners believe in the power of our collaboration as well. For example, Reverend Dale Korogi of Church of the Ascension recently expressed the positive effects of our partnership in the Star Tribune:

Indeed, we see results from Northside Achievement Zone

In the battle of hope vs. hopelessness being waged in north Minneapolis, the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), under the deft leadership of Sondra Samuels, can claim more than a few victories (“Not all bad news in ‘the battle zone,’ ” June 20). Thanks to the NAZ and its support services, I witness daily miracles in the lives of our Ascension scholars and their families. The NAZ’s mission, vision and outcomes have raised the bar for all of us who love north Minneapolis and are trying to do some good here. Thank you, Sondra. Thank you, North Side partners.

I hope you will join me at our next Friends of the Future event at the Walker—Yes! To Success on the Northside! (See Upcoming Events for details.)

For our children!

Sondra Samuels
President & CEO
Northside Achievement Zone

New NAZ Data Shows Promising Ways to Close the Achievement Gap

New NAZ Data Shows Promising Ways to Close the Achievement Gap

NAZ recently released the 2015 Data Summary of the NAZ collaborative’s work. In a state with the highest racial disparities in the nation, we’re very proud of the progress we’re making. Though the achievement gap is far from closed, we are beginning to see areas of significant improvement.

Key results include:

  • 1,100 Northside families with 2,300 children are participating in NAZ.
  • NAZ children are 2.5x more ready for kindergarten than peers.
  • Reading proficiency is higher among NAZ students attending partner schools with deeply embedded and integrated NAZ supports.
  • 303 children were supported to stabilize housing.
  • 616 children participated in academic-focused after-school and summer programs.
  • Parents who graduated from NAZ classes completed education goals for their kids at 2x the rate of those who did not attend.
  • 71 parents secured employment and 300 are working on career goals.

When children have access to opportunities, they do amazing things. Together we’re getting better at creating the opportunities they need most!

NAZ College StudentNAZ College Student: “If I can do it, you can too!”

NAZ scholar Jackie Lucas moved to North Minneapolis when she was young. “My parents didn’t want me to struggle like them,” she says, so they enrolled in NAZ.

Jackie started working at age 13 at NAZ partner organization Cookie Cart. She worked through high school at Patrick Henry, all the while keeping her grades up. This earned her a scholarship from NAZ.

Today, she attends a historically Black college in Mississippi. “Everyone is different and every college is different,” Jackie says. “Look into different colleges and pick what fits you.” She found a great group of friends at school who encourage each other to succeed.

Jackie plans to become an OB/GYN. She tells other kids to find their dream and make it happen. “If I can make it to college, you can too,” she says.

400+ Celebrate N Mpls Kids and Families!400+ Celebrate N Mpls Kids and Families!

On Thursday, May 26, NAZ hosted our annual Community Celebration. Over 400 people from North Minneapolis and beyond came out to Patrick Henry High School to celebrate the amazing kids and parents who are transforming North Minneapolis into a college-going community!

There was food, face painting, Connect Four, giveaways, and a stage show featuring Abdul Wright, teacher at Harvest Prep and Minnesota Teacher of the Year; Destiny Fennell, NAZ scholar; Jackie Lucas, NAZ college student; Sondra Samuels, president and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone; KMOJ’s Q Bear and Prince of Darkness; and drummers from TKO and Riot Squad.

Check out photos from the event on the NAZ Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

NAZ in the News

Not all bad news in the so-called “battle zone” of north Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 17
Not all bad news in the so-called “battle zone” of north Minneapolis
A June 8 headline in the Star Tribune called an area in north Minneapolis “the battle zone.” I call it my home, as do more than 1,000 families and 2,300 children who are enrolled in the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ). Many families in the NAZ, especially children, face a complex web of challenges. North Minneapolis is ground zero for the racial disparities that have made Minnesota dead last in the nation for gaps in academic achievement, homeownership and household income.Read more
Why Dads Matter: The role of father in child development and what moms can do to help dads succeed Mom Enough, June 13
Why Dads Matter: The role of father in child development and what moms can do to help dads succeed
In the early months of a child’s life many dads struggle to find their role in caring for the baby and supporting mom through those exhausting days and nights. And sometimes we moms send messages, subtle and not-so-subtle, that dad just can’t measure up to our standards of care. But, in the long run, everyone will win (mom, dad, child) if dad is fully engaged as a caregiver.Read more

Upcoming Events

Yes! To Success on the Northside!
The Friends of the Future Leadership Team hopes that you will join Sondra Samuels and other influential leaders in support of a collaborative strategy leading transformation on the Northside. NAZ children are doing better. NAZ parents are leading the way. NAZ is drawing national attention. And your support is critical to long-term results.

July 26, 2016 from 6-7:30 p.m
Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
RSVP today!

Friends of the Future Newsletter
2123 W. Broadway #100 | Minneapolis, MN 55411 | 612-521-4405 | the-naz.org