Model Cities, 839 University Ave., St. Paul, is celebrating its 45 year legacy of community service with the celebration “Back to the 60s Party” on Sat. July 21.
Pictured: Councilmember Melvin Carter and youth.
“I am hoping this event will bring people from our generation out to have fun,” said Office Manager Judith Aminmentse. The band, Urban Cadence, will sing songs by Aretha Franklin and Evan Brown and the Twin Cities Steppers Association is helping promote the event. Since 1969, Model Cities has helped the St. Paul Summit and University Avenue area through housing and educational programming especially those geared towards youth.
“I think that the program has been very successful,” said Youth Services Program Manager Shennika Sueduth. Sueduth said in the community there is “disparity young people find themselves in” and many of them aspire to change their lifestyles. “Just because that is the environment they were brought into, it is not the environment they have to remain in.”
According to Model Cities 2011 Highlights , 205 youth between the ages of 13 and 18 were enrolled in Model Cities’ enrichment and early intervention programs; Youth Enrichment Services (YES) and Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI).
The YES program took 75 young people on a college tour and half of the seniors who attended had enrolled in college. Sixty-five youth participated in a North Minneapolis clean-up project for victims of the tornado.
“The motto here is train, instruct and prepare for launching,” said Sueduth. “See what you put into them (youth) and they give it back.”
Sueduth said past YES and JDAI participants have returned to help with current participants.
The 2011 highlights also stated 46 families lived in one of the Model Cities’ five apartment buildings and were provided education about topics such as financial literacy and domestic abuse prevention. The Families First Supportive Housing program provides support for homeless families who have “a chronic disability, which includes chemical addiction.” Last year 25 families were helped.
According to the Model Cities website, Members of St. James AME Church decided to have a Model Cities’ projects in 1967 to aid St. Paul Summit and University Avenue low-income residents with health care. Aminmentse said Model Cities started in the basement of St. James. In 1972, the Model Cities health project began operating as the St. Paul Division of Public Health’s satellite clinic. Aminmentse said a project Model Cities also provides services to charitable organizations in Syria and Uganda. Although Model Cities has worked with international organizations, Aminmentse said they are still community oriented.
“We will move forward in providing resources for the community,” said Aminmentse. “Model Cities will be doing building redevelopment projects. We want to be part of the redevelopment of University Avenue.”
Model Cities will build commercial spaces for eight to nine businesses. After the redevelopment project is complete, Model Cities will provide low-income housing to the community.
“Back to the 60s Party” will be held at the Crown Plaza Riverfront, 11 East Kellogg Blvd., Saint Paul, from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. Tickets are $45.
For more information call Judith Aminmentse at 612-632-8341. For tickets to the “Back to the 60s party” call 651 -632-8350 or email