Coleman joins students at youth programs

The mayor visited youth at three sites as part of a tour to raise awareness of Saint Paul’s Sprockets network, connecting youth to programs across the city

SAINT PAUL—Mayor Chris Coleman joined Saint Paul youth Thursday, the first day of statewide teacher conferences, as they spent their day off of school at out-of-school-time programs across Saint Paul.

“We know that our children continue to learn, even when outside of the classroom,” Mayor Coleman said. “Programs like the ones I’m visiting today, which are crucial to supporting skill development for our youth, are a testament to the effectiveness of our Sprockets network, connecting our students and parents to out-of-school-time activities across the city.”

With teachers across the state in conferences, many young people are keeping busy in community-based youth programs. Mayor Coleman’s tour highlighted just three of over 50 nonprofit organizations who provide out-of-school-time learning opportunities for kids in Saint Paul. He built marshmallow bridges with elementary students at West 7th Community Center, did team building activities with students at the Mt. Airy Boys and Girls Club and rode the Youth Circulator bus to the Youth Farm and Market Project Frogtown site, where he planted vegetables with students for next spring.

The tour intended to spread awareness of Saint Paul’s Sprockets network, which connects Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, Saint Paul Libraries, Saint Paul Public Schools and over 50 community-based organizations that provide out-of-school-time youth programs at over 100 community sites.

Over the course of childhood, youth spend 80 percent of their time outside of the classroom, making the Sprockets network that much more important. Reports from across the nation show that when youth participate in high-quality out-of-school-time programs, their academic achievement improves, they build emotional and social skills, and behavior problems are reduced.

The tour coincided with Lights On Afterschool, an annual nationwide celebration of afterschool programs that further youth learning, keep children safe and help working families.

For more information on Sprockets, visit

More information on Lights on Afterschool is available at