MYA Contact: Dora Jones, Executive Director (651) 222-7721

CURA Contact: Jeff Corn, Community Program Director (612) 625-0744 CEMBA

Mentoring Young Adults Releases A Powerful Impact Study “Disrupting Poverty” Bringing Attention to Extreme Poverty Causing A Sharp Increase In Homelessness, Unemployment and Youth Involved in the Criminal Justice System in Ramsey County

St. Paul, MN (August 28, 2015) – Mentoring Young Adults (MYA) plans to release the “Disrupting Poverty” Impact Study at the 9th Annual Fundraiser and Community Service Awards later today. The MYA study evaluates the importance of community-based organizations in serving the “extreme poverty” areas in the communities served by MYA, which are Ramsey, Dakota, Washington and Hennepin (youth employment only) counties. Many of the clients observed at MYA suffer from post-trauma illnesses and depression standing in the way of their climb out of poverty. The study looks at systemic issues that are built into the economic system that further support the challenges in climbing one’s self out of poverty.

“The Mentoring Young Adults (MYA) impact study began on the 1st of June, 2015 with an interview with MYA’s Executive Director, Dora Jones. Armed with 9 years of information, Dora told the MYA story in great detail. When asked to see the data to support this information, Dora pointed me to a locked storage bin with lots of file boxes. ‘There it is, every piece of paper from the last nine years, as I do not throw away anything,’ Dora explained. With the help of a student worker, five years of data was organized, entered into a database, checked and statistically modeled to add intelligence and measurement to the conclusions in the study,” says Monique Linder, Research Assistant for the University of Minnesota Center For Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA).

MYA provides a bridge over the chasm of poverty, enabling those served through stages that start with crisis management, empowering educational programs, employment training & placement and second-chance probation monitoring to get clients stabilized in housing, employment and facilitation of youth’s entry back into society.

Monique Linder is a Graduate Assistant at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs. She is in her second year of the Executive MBA program at University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.

The study includes information provided through interviews with clients, community supporters, partnering nonprofits, financial partners, government agencies and policy makers. The study evaluates five years of data from intake applications that focus on the top three services provided.

The MYA impact study is a model for organizing community conversations, partnerships, activism and modeling a strategy similar to MYA’s Disrupting Poverty Plan (DPP). This study emphasizes the urgency in bringing community leaders, church leaders, local governments, policy makers and citizens together in the war on poverty with a sense of urgency and determination. Dora Jones commented on CURA’s support of MYA by saying, “Mentoring Young Adults is grateful to CURA for extending its support of Mentoring Young Adults.”  The Mentoring Young Adults Disrupting Poverty impact study is supported by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program. This report is available at and on the CURA website:


About Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program The CURA connects the resources of the University of Minnesota with the interests and needs of urban communities and the region for the benefit of all. The Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program, named in honor of its founding director, builds partnerships between community-based organizations and suburban government agencies and local colleges and universities. The research and technical needs of organizations are matched with student research assistants to carry out community-defined and guided projects. The Nelson Program provides approximately 200 hours of student time to work on a project in the spring and fall semesters, or 260 hours during the summer. The Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program is coordinated by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota, and is supported by funding from the McKnight Foundation.

About Mentoring Young Adults MYA is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded in 2006, in St. Paul Minnesota, a stone’s throw away from the State Capital. MYA positively impacts the community with programs focused on helping young adults in initial crisis situations, training, counseling and group support. The cores serves provided are: housing for homeless youths, financial assistance for low-income youth and families and a youth’s second chance re-entry program for transitioning youth back into society from Juvenile Detention Centers in the Ramsey, Dakota, Washington and Hennepin counties in Minnesota.

(Full Press Release)