TheShop... Brainerd Baxter's Youth Defined Space

TheShop is a drop in youth space on the corner of 8th and Washington in Brainerd MN open evenings and weekends from 3 to 9pm for transitional age youth 14 – 22. We are a youth defined space building trusting relationships with many of our most at risk youth.  

Drive by and you will see bikes scattered around the entrance, a raised bed garden growing veggies for salsa or sporting holiday decorations. You may see a basketball game in the parking lot or encounter a staff initiated snowball fight. Inside you may find youth engaged in an art project, playing foosball, strumming a guitar, video gaming, or binging on “Supernatural”.  These are typical activities in many homes across the Brainerd area.   However, all is not rosy for many of the 35 – 45 youth who visit TheShop daily.   

~Imagine not having enough food to eat or a bed to call your own.

~Imagine struggling in school and dropping out promising to get your GED.

~Imagine your son addicted to methamphetamine and no place to go after treatment.

~Imagine aging out of foster care, becoming homeless and pregnant by age 19.

~Imagine after a summer of ease the self-harming begins again in September leaving marks not always hidden from caring eyes.

The mission of TheShop is to guide all youth as they venture into independence and adulthood.  However, being a youth hangout on steroids only promotes gaps hidden within the culture of poverty and the lack of adult guidance many youth struggle with.

TheShop bridges that gap.

Whether it’s with Bicycles, ArtNights, Computers, Focus Dinners, Music Lessons, or Civic Engagement, the end product is guiding and mentoring youth to be all they can be socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Is that glass half full? Or is that glass half empty? There is a resiliency found within the culture of youth who live in the margins of our community. Many will remain in Brainerd and build a life for themselves and their families. We want that life to be healthy and vibrant for them, their children and for the future of our community.  

It takes a village and we thank you for being part of our village. 

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Help us “Mind the Gap” together.  

These are all our kids!


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