Did you know that Northeast Middle School (NEMS) is a community education site and offers adult lap and family open swim periods for the community? Or that NEMS and Waite Park is one of the few places that teaches Polish language classes?
That’s because NEMS has been a Minneapolis community education site since the 1970s and offers between 50-65 enrichment classes for adults and kids each quarter at affordable prices. It’s a wealth of resources available right in the neighborhood with classes like aqua zumba, Spanish, quilting basics and youth swimming.
David Warnest has been the community education coordinator at NEMS for more than nine years. He said that even though Minneapolis community education has offered open swim periods for the community for a number of years, a lot of neighbors are still surprised.
He added, “A lot of people don’t know that Northeast is a site for their ACCESS Service Program for adults with disabilities.” They receive 150 registrations for the program each quarter.
Although Community Education casts a wide net of offerings for many different people, David said that “the greatest value community education has is that it is located right in our neighborhoods and can offer the community greater access to facilities within their communities.”
The classes vary by community and are there because they are the ones that people register for. Facilities at a different building direct the activities. Northeast for example can offer swimming classes because it has a swimming pool. Edison cannot.
According to their demographics, community enrichment classes are very popular among moderate-income women from 30-55 years old. David said that is only part of the picture. He added that their programs strive to include a wide range of people and involve the whole community including attracting lower income and diverse families. Their senior and adults with disabilities programs widen that base further. After school programs give free and low cost opportunities to the K-8 students. Northeast also works with local groups like 4-H to provide meeting space and other forms of support. Annual events like the Presidents’ Day Walk and the Harvest Gathering bring in more of the neighborhood.
“These programs are community driven by both our various citizen advisory councils and by our participation numbers. People vote with their feet,” he said.
If you would like more information about Minneapolis Community Education, go to www.mplscommunityed.com or call David Warnest at 612-668-1515.
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