Three Years of VISTA Work Becomes an Ongoing, Sustainable Program

80 percent of youth admitted to Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) for violent injuries choose to participate in a program that came about with the help of three dedicated VISTAs through the College Health Corps. Of those 80 percent, only 3 percent are readmitted for a violent injury whereas 40 percent of the youth not in the program are readmitted.

This program is called Next Step, and was piloted in 2016 with the help of VISTA, Tim Jurney at the Minneapolis Health Department (MHD).  The initiative was made possible with the hard work of two previous VISTAs, Paul Rebman and Ziz Raskin who laid the foundation and set the program up for success.

Fast forward a year and Next Step has seen about 139 patients and has proved to be such a valuable program that funding has been secured for another two years. Not only has the program seen success, but a story about it was also aired on a local television program, Kare 11’s Breaking the News. The momentum and positive impact Next Step displays has not been lost on the community or news outlets as they recognize the significance.

VISTA’s focus on sustainability and capacity building led to work on this program carried out over three years while each VISTA built on the previous one’s work, and also addressed upstream issues of social emotional learning through a k-12 curriculum development partnership with the University of Minnesota. This type of momentum and sustainability is what VISTA strives for and the volunteers who worked on Next Step should be very proud of their achievements.