Completed Projects

African Family Health / Child Success

This project emerged from concerns of African immigrant community leaders in northwest Hennepin County about their children’s mental health. The citizen action group identified the goal of breaking the silence in the community about the ongoing impact of war and trauma on children and families. The group developed a public performance with youth acting out their stories and those they had heard about, with big picture commentary from an elder. This was followed by a community conversation about challenges and resilience in the face of war and trauma. Evaluation underway.

A.N.G.E.L.S. / A Neighbor Giving Encouragement, Love, & Support

This initiative, started in 2002, encompasses providers working in partnership with teens who have diabetes and their parents to connect with families who are struggling with diabetes to others who have lived experiences with the disease. Its mission is to empower and support adolescents and their families as they traverse the crisis of diagnosis and adjust well in early phases of diabetes management. These efforts begin at the time of diagnosis – generally in the context(s) of emergency hospitalization – and continue across a variety of patient/family combinations (adolescents with adolescents, parents with parents, families with families) on and off hospital grounds.


This initiative (started in 2005) involves parents in Apple Valley and nearby suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul organizing with a mission to liberate their kids from out of control sports schedules and to change the culture of hyper-competitive childhood by replacing busyness with balance.

Birthdays without Pressure

This initiative, started in 2006, involves parents in St. Paul, MN organizing against out-of-control birthday parties. Its mission is to raise awareness of the problem of out-of-control birthday parties, to offer alternative, and to launch a local and national conversation about the problem. Visit the Birthdays without Pressure website

Citizen Father Project

In the summer of 2007, a group of high achieving fathers involved in the FATHER Project and several fatherhood professionals came together to start a citizen engagement and leadership development project with the goal of creating a community action project to impact the problem of too many fathers not being positively involved in the lives of children. View the Citizen Father Project brochure (PDF) for more information.

Community Engaged Parent Education

This initiative, begun in 2004 and supported by the McKnight and Bremer Foundations, engaged parent educators in developing citizen awareness and civic action in parents across Minnesota. Its mission was to encourage citizen deliberation on public issues relating to children’s well being. Visit the Community Engaged Parent Education project page.

HWUAD / Hmong Women United Against Depression

This initiative, begun in 2005, engages local providers and representatives of the St. Paul Hmong community in a collaborative partnership oriented to investigating, understanding and improving the lives of patients and refugees who are struggling with a variety of life stressors related to depression, chronic physical health problems, and psychosocial difficulties associated with relocation. Its mission is to tap the wisdom and resources of the St. Paul Hmong community to empower, support, encourage, and offer hope to Hmong women and their families who live with depression. Learn more HWUAD/ Hmong Women United Against Depression project.

Paha Sapa / Play it Forward

Community members in the Paha Sapa neighborhood meet bi-weekly to engage in active play together. They participate in “pick-up” games, yoga, kite flying, snow soccer, dodge ball, kickball, dancing bonfires and night games such as kick-the-can. You name it, they have done it! Desired outcomes/goals of the initiative include: more spontaneous physical activity and play; more positive child behaviors; more community support for parenting, and a stronger sense of community (which includes more trust and support between neighbors, a sense of pride in being a leader for healthy lifestyles for kids, and active use of local resources).

Parenting Partnerships

First begun in 2007, this initiative targets urban parents of teenagers in North Minneapolis. Its mission is to promote healthy behaviors in at-risk teenagers. This initiative uses multi-family mentoring with parent/teenager groups within the community to address violence and high-risk behaviors in youth.

Putting Family First

Parents in Wayzata, a suburb of Minneapolis, began organizing this initiative around the problem of overscheduled kids in 1999. Their mission is: “Putting Family First works to raise awareness about the crucial connections between parents and children, and helps families find balance in their lives.

S.A.N.T.A.A. / Students Against Nicotine and Tobacco & Alcohol Abuse

This initiative, started in 2006 and funded by ClearWay-Minnesota, engages local providers in partnership with students, teachers, and administrators in the HHH St. Paul Job Corps community to address on-campus smoking and alcohol abuse (and the concomitant reduction of students’ stressors and the adoption of healthier lifestyles). Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of students at Job Corps through smoking cessation, education, stress reduction, and support. Learn more about S.A.N.T.A.A/ Students Against Nicotine and Tobacco & Alcohol Abuse project.

S.M.A.R.T. / Sexually Mature and Responsible Teens (Citizen Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project);

Based at South High in Minneapolis, this group has developed messages and peer outreach strategies to address teen pregnancy as a community problem. Starting with a boys group and girls group separately, the two groups combined to develop their action steps. Supported by the Minneapolis Department of Health.

STORKS / Sisters Together Overachieving in Raising Kids

This initiative targets at-risk urban single pregnant teens in North Minneapolis. Its mission is to promote healthy child development in children with teenage mothers and to provide community support for young single mothers. It began in 2004 and ended 2006.