Minnesota Alliance with Youth

Samantha Thomas

PROMISE FELLOW OF THE MONTH
February 2010

Best Promise Fellow Experience: Working with the kids at Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School is an ever dynamic and engaging work environment to be part of. Most recently, awarded the State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grant was a huge achievement and excitement that has helped launch the semester-of-service off on a great foot. The grant will fund the creation of a Peace Garden at the school. The Peace Garden aims to re-root the sense of peace and safety for youth back into the neighborhood of Dayton’s Bluff; by nurturing the growth of intercultural understanding and celebrating the rich diversity of the community.

Bio: The tale that St. Paulians never cross the river to venture the streets of Minneapolis…to a degree, is arguably true. Born and raised in St. Paul the preconceived spatial segregations of the Twin Cities interested me growing up. After a year abroad in South Africa I also became more inspired by how the built environment shapes community and people and the importance of education for communities. As a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) with a BS in Urban Design/Planning I hope to continue investigating the relationships of space both green and gray of the city and creating a sense of community. As a strong supporter of public school education the AmeriCorps position at Dayton’s Bluff Elementary School is awarding me the opportunity to work within a renowned public school model. A model where the school strives to be a hub of community life by acting as a point of convergence for education, student and family support, and community revitalization.

Favorite Quote: “Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savor their songs. We are not people with separate languages; we are one people, with different tongues.” ~Nelson Mandela

Interests/Hobbies: Arts, design, running, yoga, biking, swimming, friends and family, and escaping the tundra of MN by traveling.

Hometown: St. Paul, MN