Lynx FastBreak Foundation Recognizes YouthCARE

Kyle Ratke
Web Editorial Associate

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The Minnesota Lynx FastBreak Foundation might have recruited a few more women's basketball players back on August 31 when they honored YouthCARE with a check for $2,000.

YouthCARE's goal is to promote respect for self and others, develop future leaders and provide youth with positive activities and relationships for those future leaders.

The check was presented by Lynx Director of Business Operations Carly Knox to the Young Women's Mentoring Director Sarah Gerdes, Board Chair Lica Tomizuka and Youth Mentor Jhia Frazier.

Many in the program range from seven to 18 years of age. Girls that are seven to 13 years old are paired with a "Young Mentor" who is between the ages of 15 to 18.

"It was an amazing opportunity for us to be recognized in that way. A youth mentor (Fraizer) of ours got on the court," Gerdes said. "Especially for her, she looks up to college basketball players. When we got back, she said 'thanks so much tor letting me do that. It was a proud moment for her to see herself to be able to be part of receiving that check."

The bread and butter of this program, which has been around for 39 years, is a community-based multicultural youth mentoring program that focuses on developing leadership, educational, employment and life skills for girls and young women. Mentors like Frazier (15-18 years old) are paired with girls for educational activities, positive social connections and experimental learning.

"One of the main things I enjoy is that youth care brings kids from a variety of cultural and ethnic background together," Gerdes said. "We work to create an environment where youth from different backgrounds interact together and build friendships. Thats one of the things I really appreciate. The staff reflects it; we have a very diverse staff in the groups that were serving. Also I enjoy seeing young people progress during the time theyre in youth care. "

That $2,000 will go a long way; YouthCARE will focus on providing money to the eight youth mentors that are currently in the high school program.

"The intended focus would be providing money that's provided to the youth mentors for a paid training program," Gerdes said.

Gerdes noted that there was something else that caught her attention during the night having to do with the strong women that were playing basketball, and the strong women that the YouthCARE program was trying to develop.

"It means a lot, especially its a women-oriented program that were running and to be connected with the womens basketball team, that simple connection is pretty huge. And to see organizations, foundations, and companies giving money into the community is significant."
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