Next Step Youth Violence Intervention

The Minneapolis Health Department’s VISTAs helped develop a new hospital-based youth violence prevention program at Hennepin County Medical Center called Next Step. The program provides months of support for youth who have been victims of violent injury and works to prevent the escalation of violence. It has been made possible in large part because of grants totaling $75,000 developed with VISTA support. The program is based on a model with documented success and is staffed by advocates with lived experiences similar to participants’. In the program’s first year, 153 youth were referred to the program, and 88 partook. Evaluation is ongoing.

Brightside Produce

BrightSide Produce, at the University of St. Thomas, is an economically sustainable venture for distributing fresh fruits and vegetables to urban corner stores. BrightSide involves a delivery team consisting of neighborhood youth and university students that buys wholesale produce from a distributor and delivers it to corner stores. Since the first VISTA came on board, the program increased the volume of produce moving through corner stores by 26%. The VISTA has created higher volunteer staffing capacity and better, streamlined systems and communications, helping eliminate food insecurity in one of the worst urban food deserts in the country.

Minneapolis Community & Technical College

MCTC’s VISTA helped secure a $75,000 grant to expand the capacity of MCTC’s innovative Student Parent Center, Counseling Services, and the Resources and Referral Center. Grant funds help the center provide low-income students with emergency food, personal hygiene products, and emergency transportation and housing. Expanding the services provided at the Student Support Center assists students with their basic needs and allows them to focus on their education.


CARE Clinic

The CARE Clinic of Red Wing is a free, non-profit clinic serving low-income, uninsured or underinsured patients. The clinic operates through more than 200 skilled volunteers who provide clinical services to those who cannot access care elsewhere. Thanks to the VISTA’s fundraising and partnership development, in May of 2015, the clinic started the only Spanish-language bilingual psychotherapy program south of the Twin Cities. Follow-up data show 88% of the first patients agreed they were more capable of functioning and caring for their daily responsibilities as a result of services received.