About the Program
Connection (KC) Program operates 5 days a week and serves 50 - 55 children
each day. To qualify for the program, the child must be on the free or
reduced lunch program, live in our supportive housing program, and/or be
referred by the school district. There are several components to this
innovative, comprehensive and successful model. Kids Connection combines
the best practices of programming for children and has had recognition
from several funders, volunteers and the families we serve.
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Kids Cafe is a nutrition
and self-esteem program for high risk and homeless youth living in St.
Louis Park. Program operates 5 days a week and serves over 55 elementary
aged children each day. The program provides mentoring and education
around nutrition, as well as teaching the children key team building,
leadership and hygiene skills. Kids Cafe served approximately 10,600 meals
This exciting program has
a full time chef that works with the children and guides and teaches them
as they prepare, serve, and clean up a nightly dinner.
Kids Cafe kitchen, designed as a child-friendly space, was completed in
September 1998. The program targets St. Louis Park children, including our
Transitional Housing Program kids whose parents are struggling to make
ends meet. Kids come to this daily after-school program throughout the
school year. The program provides academic enrichment as well as the
kitchen experience, utilizing volunteers as mentors to the children.
The Kids Cafe program
serves children a well-balanced home-style evening meal. The program seeks
to mentor basic socialization skills, responsibility, contribution,
sharing, positive companionship, and healthy decision-making. A uniqueness
to the program is that children work together to prepare the meal, set the
table and then help clean up afterwards.
Second Harvest, a
national network of food banks, started Kids Cafe in 1993 and now feed
children in many of the major metropolitan areas all over the country.
Kids Cafe is primarily funded through donations from Foundations and
Corporations. SuperTarget is the major corporate sponsor of this program.
Perspectives' Kids Cafe
is one of three in the Twin Cities metro area.
The Early Risers Prevention program for at-risk children was added to the KC
program during the 2005 summer program. Early Risers is a three-year research
project with the University of Minnesota. The program is administered in the
classrooms for students in grades kindergarten-third grade. All of our K-3
students are participating in the overall Early Risers program; however, 15 of
those students have been selected to be part of a special research project to
determine how the curriculum positively impacts their academic skills.
Reach for the Stars is a
program that works in conjunction with Kids Cafe, Perspectives another
after-school children's program and is a collaborative effort with the St. Louis
Park Public Schools. Reach for the Stars provides tutoring and mentoring to the
children who live in the Transitional Housing program.
Five licensed teachers,
with the assistance of teacher's aides and volunteers, are on-hand to help with
homework issues as well as guide them with basic reading, math, and computer
skills through additional coursework. Reach for the Stars also provides parents
the opportunity to learn techniques that will enhance their children's learning
and subsequently improve their academic performance.
Another goal of Reach for the
Stars is to spark an interest in learning by allowing children to experience
successes academically. Through offering students remedial education, nurturing
and positive, adult role models who motivate, encourage and mentor the kids, it
is expected to make a positive impact on the progress of the child. This
progress is encouraged and rewarded at every opportunity in order to foster
Reach for the Stars also
addresses the comprehensive goals included in the Minnesota Graduation
Summer Explorers educational/recreational program runs throughout the summer and
provides extended learning to homeless and at risk children who lack the
academic skills to maintain grade level, and the resources to participate in
summer recreation. Over 70 children enrolled and participated on a daily basis
in our Summer Explorers Program last summer. The students participated in an
in-class academic regimen in the mornings and enjoyed scheduled recreational and
field trip activities in the afternoons.