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New business owners Jake Mulford and Lindsay Ness of the Grand Event Center in Northfield hope to build upon the legacy left by longtime food service businessman Chuck Pryor. (Pamela Thompson/southernminn.com)

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Youth center gives students a safe space for clubs, study

For many students, school doesn’t end when the bell rings.

Attached to the back side of Faribault High School is a building known as Faribault Education Center. While this center is host to numerous adult programs, it’s the Faribault Youth Center (FYC) programs from Monday-Thursday that offer high schoolers a place to go after hours.

Students made crepes during Tuesday’s Faribault Youth Center cooking club. (Josh McGovern photos/southernminn.com)

“Some students here don’t have anywhere to go after school. Rather than roaming the halls after hours, they can come here,” said Suzi Cruz, administrative assistant for the education center.

The FYC is a free after-school program for all Faribault High School students. The FYC supports students with activities and clubs Monday through Thursday, 3:15-5:15 p.m.

Three students broke off to have their own little group around a piano as one student played relaxing music. (Josh McGovern photos/southernminn.com)

The youth center often welcomes students who may not otherwise have a safe place to go after school. Some students may be dealing with challenges at home, may need a helping hand in furthering their studies and education, or need a place to be around other students and teachers in a social environment.

A group of students participated in the box jump during the Faribault Youth Center weightlifting club. (Josh McGovern photos/southernminn.com)

Students interested in these after-school clubs will find a wide variety of options.

Clubs include cooking, video games, art, chess, weightlifting, homework help, Dungeons and Dragons, robotics and more. Teachers and staff assist in these clubs, but it’s the students who mainly operate in them.

Faribault High School students spotted each other in the weight room at Faribault High School Tuesday after school as part of the Faribault Youth Center program. (Josh McGovern photos/southernminn.com)

On Tuesday students in the art club made crepes while art club members decorated the plain black aprons for the cooks. Meanwhile members of the weight training group strained their muscles in the weight room. And a few students who were not interested in the club offers of the day were gathered around a piano tickling the keys and having conversations.

Cruz said the center is often flooded with students after 4 p.m., about half an hour after school lets out. “Some kids go grab McDonalds and then come here. There are students we don’t expect to see here that show up.”

“Thursdays are our busiest days with the most clubs running,” Cruz said. “Wednesdays are our slower days but that was before the holidays.”

With midterms coming up, the clubs were expectedly thin. Toward the end of the week FYC staff planned to gather everyone in the same place for homework help and study time.

“The students don’t know we’re doing that, so I’m sure they’ll be surprised,” Cruz said.

These after school-programs are funded by a grant, said Cruz, which allows for compensation for teachers who stay late after hours and community members who come in to lead clubs.

The center found all the instructors it sought after recently putting out a call for help. But Cruz said the FYC may consider adding more clubs if they hear from more community members who want to share their hobby with youth.

“We could always use people with different skills or hobbies to join,” Cruz said.

Instructors are paid $19.56 an hour and work a minimum of one to two times a week.


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Library plans include makerspace, more outreach

A draft strategic plan for the Buckham Memorial Library and a plan for how to use nearly $3 million in donations have gained endorsement from the Faribault City Council.

Buckham Memorial Library during a snowfall last month. (Kristine Goodrich/southernminn.com)

Library Director Delane James presented the plans at a council workshop Tuesday. The council is expected to approve them on its consent agenda next week.

The library has established a new “Library Donations Fund” that was sparked by a $2.7 million bequest from Robert Crandall upon his death last January. Three more donations to the fund have since been received, James reported Tuesday, bringing the total to over $2.9 million.

Those dollars will be split equally three ways, according to the new policy.

One-third of donations will go toward creating a makerspace — a space filled with tools and other equipment dedicated to hands-on learning. Library leaders will be looking for a space outside of the library to create a makerspace, James said. The current community center adjacent to the library is the most likely spot, if the city moves ahead with a proposal under development to build a new community center.

One-third of donations will be used for various upgrades to the library building.

The remaining third of the funds will be put into a restricted permanent endowment. Only interest earnings from that endowment may be used. James said those earnings may support a variety of library initiatives.

The Library Advisory Board helped develop the expenditure plan and the strategic plan. A finance committee of some of the board members will be formed to advise on the distribution of the funds.

The City Council will have to sign off on the makerspace and building improvements once more detailed spending plans are developed. James said there is no defined timeline and it will likely be over the next several years.

The strategic plan outlines goals for the coming three years. Those goals include improving outreach, planning the makerspace and developing new and more “inclusive” programming.

James said the goals were developed based on a survey, focus groups and needs assessment. She said she was “super surprised” by some of the feedback.

Bringing the Buckham Book Bike, pictured at Central Park last summer, to more events is among the ideas for expanding library outreach. (File photo/southernminn.com)

Some of the suggestions were for services the library is actually already providing, James said. That spurred the goal of increasing outreach, with steps that include not only stepping up marketing, but also growing partnerships with other community organizations and hosting more activities at locations outside of the library.

“We’ll meet people where they’re at,” James said. “We’ll continue to have things like having the summer performers in the park, and we’ll look for other places that we can take the book bike to, and we’ll try to engage with people and invite them to come into the library or use our services online.”

Another theme of the feedback was a desire for group activities, James said. Providing more community classes and other “opportunities for community members to interact” is among the new goals.

“Coming out to the pandemic people want opportunities to get back together and to learn,” James said.

Councilors had only a few questions and predominantly positive feedback about the plan.

“I don’t know what magic dust you use, but you guys get a lot done,” Councilor Royal Ross said of library leadership, the Library Advisory Board and also the Friends of Buckham Memorial Library, a nonprofit which supports the library and also provided input.

Multiple council members said they especially liked the plan to set aside funds in an endowment to guarantee ongoing interest revenue.

Mayor Kevin Voracek suggested the library also develop a policy to take a fraction of future substantial donations and put it in the endowment fund. James said she would bring that idea to the Library Advisory Board for consideration.


A recent article on the MassResistance website celebrates Linda Moore’s election to the Faribault School Board. The article describes Moore as a “local Minnesota MassResistance leader.” (Screenshot from MassResistance.org)

MassResistance Moore


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