Young Men Commit to Change: EMERGE Celebrates the North 4 Banquet

On Friday, February 6th, EMERGE celebrated the achievements of the most recent group to complete the North 4 program.  North 4 is a work readiness program for African American young men in four high crime neighborhoods in North Minneapolis. Young men ages 16 – 21 participate in a 16 week program that includes a week of orientation, weekly group sessions, regular one-on-one meetings with program staff, and a 240 hour paid internship. To complete the program and to be recognized at the February 6th banquet, participants needed to meet an 80% rate of participation, throughout. The 65 people who attended the banquet created a standing-room-only crowd that included family members, partners, internship supervisors, and EMERGE staff.Several of the young men addressed the group themselves, sharing their experiences. According to one participant, Soldon, North 4 is the perfect program, “for someone who has been through a lot.” He recalled that he was forced to be a father figure at a young age for three young brothers. Continue Reading

The Miracle of Two Minneapolises in Prenatal Care

While looking around for some data for another project, I ran into Minneapolis Health Department’s Reports. There’s a lot of great data there, but not all of it is necessarily in amazing condition for people to build off of. One data set, entitled Minneapolis Birth Data, caught my attention. Locked away in mostly tabular PDFs are a lot of interesting numbers that tell you how Minneapolis’ neighborhoods fare by way of birth statistics: with a demographic overview of mothers’ race, age, education, marital status; what trimester they began prenatal care (if at all); how adequate that care was; what their baby’s birth weight was; and whether the birth was premature.After extracting some of the data, I made a map of the report from 2009-2011. In map form, the data is both shocking, and sadly not surprising when you know about the racial and socio-economic demographics of Minneapolis’ neighborhoods. A familiar pattern emerges, where the whitest and richest neighborhoods have a better overall access to prenatal care (West Calhoun, for instance, had 43 kids between the survey period of 2009-2011, and100% are listed as receiving adequate care. Continue Reading