Our Mission

Minnesota Youth Story Squad addresses educational opportunity gaps and amplifies voices through storytelling to engage school-aged youth in the Twin Cities. We grow and sustain partnerships with Twin Cities public schools where many will be the first in their families to attend college. Developed in the College of Liberal Arts, MYSS offers a rich interdisciplinary, culturally relevant curriculum that uses digital media-making to engage youth academically, socially and emotionally, and to build in mentorship opportunities with UMN undergraduates. We recognize their achievements and showcase their stories at a celebration at the University of Minnesota for students and their families each year.

Image: Parkway students hugging at the State Capitol at our 2017 rally.

“The Minnesota Youth Story Squad is a compelling example of the impact that we in higher education can have in those challenging [middle school] years. And personally, it was an affirmation of the great creativity combined with seriousness combined with fun exhibited by young students…On the big screen at Northrop I saw powerful storytellers discussing vital social topics.”

– Dean John Coleman, College of Liberal Arts

Happening Now

MYSS has been diving into media-making with youth for the past two years. Currently, undergraduate students are working at Northeast Middle School in Minneapolis. NEMS students and University of Minnesota undergraduate students have been discussing personal and social issues as they reflect on their lives, schools, communities, and neighborhoods together. Using poetry, art, skits, writing, and group discussion, they have been tackling issues from racism and sexism to mental health and global climate change. These thoughts have been translated into digital stories, zines, and posters, some of which are featured here.

Image: Intern Judy with Northeast Middle School students during one of our Friday sessions.

We extend our thanks to the organizations and departments for their support:

  • College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota
  • Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota
  • Generation Next
  • Minnesota Humanities Center
  • Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota
  • Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota
  • Joan Aldous Award, University of Minnesota
  • Fink Faculty Innovation Fund, University of Minnesota
  • Liberal Arts Technologies and Innovation Services, University of Minnesota
  • Provost’s Office, University of Minnesota
  • UROC, University of Minnesota