Years with VYC: 25

“A place for kids where they are the highest priority. All kids need a place to call their own outside the


Years with VYC: 35

“I work here because it was there for me as a kid, and the staff took care of me and made me feel good
about myself. Growing up poor was hard, and the Center was my outlet. It helped me grow without me
even knowing it. If not for the mentoring from the staff, I’m not sure where I would be. I just wanted to
give back to the less fortunate and let them know they can be successful no matter where they come
from or live. My big heart came from my mom. She took care of everyone.”


Years with VYC: 5

“I work here because I love all the kids. I believe the kids are our future. They need as much guidance
from this place as possible. The staff is wonderful. I feel like we are one big family.”


Years with VYC: 1

“I work here because I love all the kids. I believe the kids are our future. They need as much guidance
from this place as possible. The staff is wonderful. I feel like we are one big family.”


Years with VYC: 15

“I do what I do every day because what we do in life that may be normalized for us as
individuals can be extraordinary for another, and the things that I’ve seen happen at the center
over the years can be tremendous to a kid and make a difference in their lives. The true
measure of life is not how many people know our names when we move on, but whether we’ve
touched the lives of others.”

Jon “Phipps”

Years with VYC: 4

“I work at the Valley Youth Center to give back to the community that played an essential role in my
development as a kid, teen, and young adult. I grew up going to the youth center as a child and always
looked up to and appreciated the role models that were there for me. It was these mentors that played a
role in shaping who I am today, and now it is my turn to pay it forward to this resilient and often
neglected community.”


Years with VYC: 1

“I work here because I enjoy building meaningful relationships with the kids. I also enjoy being a part of
a safe and fun space for kids to spend some with friends.”


Years with VYC: 2

“Working at the Valley Youth Center gives me the opportunity to be a positive role model and make a
difference in kids’ lives everyday. Being a youth center kid myself, I’ve always wanted to be a person to
make a difference just like the VYC workers did for me many years ago. Now that my five children have
been attending the VYC for the past eleven years, it’s still apparent that the love and dedication to kids is
still the number one goal. It’s such a good feeling knowing I’m a part of making a difference in our youth
and watching them blossom into amazing young adults. It’s always been my goal to give kids an
opportunity to grow and succeed in a positive environment and working at the VYC gives me that


“I have been coming to the VYC since I was in elementary school. Over the years it became like a second
home and the people there were like family. I’ve always admired what the VYC and staff do for the
community. This is why I decided to work at the VYC, I wanted to be a part of the great things they do. I
also enjoy helping kids and developing bonds with them. So far my experience here has helped me grow
as a person and leader, thanks to the amazing staff and children.”


Years with VYC: 7

“I am fortunate enough to be able to say that I truly love what I do with the kids here at the VYC. I work
for an organization that allows me to pour my heart into my work every single day. Spreading mental
health awareness is something I am incredibly passionate about, and I have the privilege to do that type
of work with the kids at the Center. Holding space for these kids is necessary and vital to their growth
and development. The Valley Youth Center recognizes the important role mental health plays in whole child wellness and its correlation to happy, healthy, productive community members.”


Years with VYC: 10

“I work here because I see the potential in kids. I grew up coming here myself. I know some of the rough
paths these kids have to go down because I have too. They are like my family. Some kids don’t have
anyone at home for them. I like being there for them. I care a lot about this place.”


Years with VYC: 2

“I work at the VYC because I want to help make the world a better place for everyone, and working at
the VYC has given me countless opportunities to enrich the youth in the West Duluth community. The
community at the VYC has become like a second family to me, and I would not wish to be serving for
AmeriCorps anywhere but here.”