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East Side Youth Development & Leadership Program

Merrick Community Services’ Youth Development program serves children ages 5 to 16 and their families on Saint Paul’s East Side.MCS and its partners are specifically committed to addressing academic achievement, literacy, engagement in the arts, cultural awareness, mentoring, as well as,strengthening families through parent engagement and education.

The program empowers youth to improve their literacy skills,increase their reading levels and develop an appreciation of learning. Merrick's Youth Development Staff members and Volunteers are dedicated, professionals serving Merrick Youth and their families providing leadership training for older youth ages 13 16.Service learning is a critical component of the program


Through home-based services, parenting groups and workshops, parents acquire the knowledge,skills and tools to increase their families’ strengths. Through family outings and events families are given the opportunity to learn how to have fun together. Parents also learn the skills necessary to help their children improve their reading as well as learning to love and appreciate the joy of reading. Parents learn how to model and practice effective strategies that help their children become better readers.They also become equipped with the tools to advocate for their child and communicate with their child’s teacher and the school. A Parent Advisory Group partners with the Family Worker to develop programming that is relevant to the families.

For more information, please contact:

                                                                     Youth & Family Services Manager

Gretchen Garman

Cultural Heritage Programs - Celebrating Diversity and Understanding Traditions.Participants (parent and children) learn about various cultures and their contributions through engagement with mentors and artists adapt at engaging youth in various aspects of history, culture and values and storytelling.

Mentoring through Athletics - Partnering with various groups, Merrick is committed to improving the social interaction,academic performance and civic and social responsibility of the youth we serve.This is accomplished through team sports,one-to-one mentoring and a connection with caring adults who serve as role models and life teachers.