Support one of the nation's longest-running youth-run youth centers in the country!
The Northfield Union of Youth (NUY) gives power and voice to Northfield youth by creating a caring and enriching community. NUY empowers youth by amplifying their voice, ideas, and thoughts. We support these ideas with resources and infrastructure. Currently, NUY runs three separate youth-led initiatives: 1) The Key youth center, 2) Mental Health Youth Board, and 3) A Youth Homelessness prevention program.
"The Key" is the nations longest running youth-run youth-center! The Key provides a safe and substance-free place for youth to connect with each other, caring adults, and the Northfield community. The Key is growing and experienced a 90% increase in attendance from 2015 to 2016. This growth continues with more than 10,000 visits anticipated in 2017! The Key is open 3pm-10pm 365 days a year for all youth ages 12-20 years old. Programming at The Key is free of charge without any registration or sign up required. It's a place for at-risk youth to engage in art, music, social justice, games, and clubs without any obstacles. Programming includes:
- Art Night
- Outdoor recreation on our new artificial turf field!
- Cooking in our new kitchen!
- Game Night
- Dungeons and Dragon's night(s)
- Movie Night
- Music Jam Night
NUY's Mental Health youth board is a new initiative with over 15 different youth taking leadership positions to create, design, and implement new strategies and solutions to mental health challenges facing youth. This board meets every other week and has the support of an AmeriCorps VISTA who is works for and reports to this youth board. A parent education night is already in the works for youth to create a safe dialogue about the current state of mental health for youth in the schools. Youth without insurance have already been provided access to mental health care through this initiative!
NUY's Youth Homelessness Prevention initiative is building a volunteer host family network in and around Northfield for youth to access when they are unable to find a safe place to stay at night. These youth-led efforts are supported by NUY's staff to help destigmatize homelessness and to provide safe and approachable options for youth facing such large barriers to success.
The Key makes an amazing impact on so many Northfield youth. Just listen to what some local youth said about the Key:
"The Key provides a sense of family and connection that I can't very well feel elsewhere; it's warm, there are friends and kind people, and almost always something to do."
"The Key is a place that, regardless of what you're feeling or going through at any given time, you'll feel welcome and accepted. It's a very hard thing to walk out of The Key feeling bad. With all the smiles and laughs it's a happy a place to be :)"
"The Key is warm when it's cold out. It's cool when it's hot out. It's a home-away-from-home and one that's walking distance from the high school. It's a hub of all my best friends. It's where I go to hang out, do homework, soak up some good culture, and be with my non-blood-related family. I have gained so much from The Key, that I can't list it all. All the things that I am and love are from this beautiful oasis, The Key. Everything that gives me joy in life is in some way related to The Key. Creativity and oddity are a somewhat unspoken requirement, or a strongly supported suggestion at The Key. I'm a Key-kid. That's what The Key means to me. I can only describe it as such."
- “The Key is a place where I go to feel empowered to affect meaningful change. I’ve connected to and built relationships with adults and peers from all around our community.”
"The Key means the world to me. It gave me confidence I didn't know I had. It made me feel like I had a voice and everyone respected it. Everyone here is like my family.”
It's an exciting time to become a supporter of NUY! We believe that every youth deserves the support and encouragement that we can provide as an organization. We also believe that the solutions to change lie in the heart and minds of youth. We need your support and help to continue this ground level work of empowering youth to own their future and to have the support to dream bigger.