Minnesota Alliance with Youth

Promise Fellow Spotlight: Chelsea DeRuyter

My role at my site:

Through my host site, the Nobles County Integration Collaborative, I do a variety of in-school and out-of-school time activities in the six school districts we represent. In-school activities look a lot like classroom assistance, where I’m helping students oneon-one or in small groups. For example, in Round LakeBrewster, the youth I work with are in an alternative learning program for credit recovery and are working on different levels of coursework all at the same time. Out-of-school programming is also a big part of what I do, as I currently support or lead four programs. Two of the programs are homework assistance. The third is called Fusion and is a leadership development program that covers a variety of topics including: cultural awareness, college and career exploration, academic success, and civic engagement. The fourth group, Youth Diversity Council, will be a social justice group discussing and acting on issues facing youth, families, and communities with students from across Nobles County. In addition to this, I am an adult sponsor for three amazing youth active in the Minnesota Youth Council
(MYC) and am working with STLF to bring a Pay It Forward Tour to Nobles County!
Best Promise Fellow Experience (So Far):
There have been so many great experiences I’ve had so far as a Promise Fellow it is hard to choose just one! The first big service project we organized was serving at The Banquet in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The youth were in charge of cooking and serving a meal at a feeding ministry for about 300 people that are homeless or displaced. Of course the youth performed their duties to the utmost, but it was incredible  to see their growth and hear about their experiences. They talked about how they felt better about themselves, how they have a new-found appreciation for all they’re fortunate to have, and how they now believed they could benefit the world, because they had just done it. It seemed to make the whole idea that youth can change the world a fact; and that was amazing to see. A close second best, for much of the same reason, was the 10-10-10 March for Children and Youth that I had the opportunity to attend with MYC. It was an outstanding and empowering experience.
Bio
Born in the tiny town of Lytton (Calhoun County), Iowa, I am the fourth of five children raised by two amazing parents. When I was eight, the seven of us moved just across the border into Minnesota (by Spirit Lake, Iowa). I graduated from Sioux Valley Round Lake-Brewster High School in 2005. After high school, I moved from the farm to the big city and attended the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities where I graduated in 2010 with a BS in Chemistry and minors in Biochemistry and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. I also studied at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) 2009 Summer Institute on Ethical Tolerance. Following my college graduation, I moved back to Iowa where I did a six month service term for a program called Green Iowa AmeriCorps. After my term was up I moved back home, am now serving at NCIC, and absolutely love every minute of it! I currently live in Okabena, Minnesota and my family has more than doubled to 15: three brothers, one sister, two sister-in-laws, one brother-in-law, three nephews, one niece, and another on the way!  I love spending time with my big, crazy family, reading and learning, spending time outdoors any time of the year, trying new things, and traveling.
Favorite Quotes:
“How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single
moment before beginning to improve the world.”
— Anne Frank
“Desiderata”
— Max Ehrmann