St. Louis Park columnist: Children First is about relationships
By Fatuma Mohamud – Guest Columnist
I never thought that I would ever see myself with a crocheting needle and fuzzy yarn. This day made its appearance, as I sat crocheting a scarf while trying to hold a conversation with my neighbor simultaneously. Little did she or I know that we were carrying out the Children First initiative.
I had the opportunity to learn more about this organization through a marketing internship that I contributed to by coming up with a new logo, brochure design and a concise way to explain Children First. It is an initiative that helps build connections between adults and youth, focusing mainly on the healthy development of St. Louis Park’s children and adolescents.
On Oct. 30, I had the chance to attend an event that was open to the community where attendees would discuss how we, as a community, should live up to the honor of being named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People for the sixth consecutive time.
At this event, those present were given a few challenges – first, to move and meet new people and second, to agree on one wish we had for the future of the organization. We also were challenged to agree, as a table, on one wish we had for the future of Children First. All wishes were then put up on display around the room. The best part of the whole evening came when people were asked to sign the wish that they would try to make into a reality.
From both the Oct. 30 event as well as a branding boot camp that I attended last winter, I gained a lot of insight on how to put the initiative of Children First into action. You do not need to be an expert on Children First to make a difference, St. Louis Park resident and mother Karen Waters hinted.
“It’s about relationships, expectations and experiences,” she said.
Her words rang significantly with me because it shows that building assets in youth can be as easy as building a relationship with neighborhood children or volunteering with students at the local elementary schools.
The evening ended with everyone forming a circle and sharing their feelings about the event. In that moment, I realized that organizations like Children First are not found in every community. It makes me feel honored and proud to have been raised in a community that has an initiative committed to the healthy development of their youth.
To help support this community initiative, Children First is planning its 20th annual Ice Cream Social 2-5 p.m. May 19 at Wolfe Park. This event includes activities like mingling with neighbors and St. Louis Park citizens, enjoying delicious ice cream and participating in fun activities like games and interactive displays.
I am hoping this event brings attention to Children First as an organization as well as the initiative that highlights the importance of interactions between adult role models and youth.
Thanks to support for this program from InCommons, an initiative of the Bush Foundation that inspires, supports and connects community-powered problem solving.
Columnist Fatuma Mohamud and photographer Augusta Weide are seniors at St. Louis Park High School.