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 runs "The Key", 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.  Over 500 kids ages 12-20 will visit the Key in 2016!  It's open 3pm-10pm 365 days a year!


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
  • Mentorships
  • Kids Book writing
  • Game Night
  • Writing Workshop
  • Movie Night
  • Music Jam Night
  • Volunteering


Our Organization: The NUY consists of two boards, the Youth Board (Advisory Board) and the Adult Board (Board of Directors). The Youth Board meets every Wednesday (3:45) at The Key to plan programs, events and general operations of the youth center. Anyone from the public are welcome to join us. Youth are encouraged to come and participate. The Adult Board meets monthly to listen and help guide youth if needed.


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.” 


NUY is expanding its collective impact on the youth of Northfield.  We've recently secured a system to provide free meals to low-income youth nearly every day after school through a partnership with Just Foods Co-op and Carleton College.  We've doubled our staff of caring adults through partnerships with Carleton and St. Olaf College.  We're exploring mental health provider collaboration with local providers.  It's an exciting time to be a youth in Northfield and a NUY is providing support and encouragement to every youth who walks in our door.

© 2017 GiveMN | A registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.