 A catch-all for any posts that do not fall under the other tags

Introducing Jearlyn + Jevetta Steele!

Introducing Jearlyn + Jevetta Steele! 1200 600 Way to Grow

Jearlyn Steele

Jearlyn is a member of the internationally acclaimed family, The Steeles, who have performed from Carnegie Hall to Brazil and to the Super Bowl Live Verizon stage in 2018. Recently, Jearlyn and The Steeles were a part of the 2022 (Prince) Celebration at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota. For more than a decade, she has been the Entertainment Reporter for Twin Cities Public Television’s award-winning political show Almanac interviewing local, national and international acts.

As a keynote speaker, facilitator and emcee, Jearlyn has inspired audiences around the country and the Caribbean.  Maintaining her four-hour Sunday night radio show called Steele Talkn’ on WCCO Radio 830AM, has been a joy for more than two decades.  Developing and delivering her TedX Talk in 2016 offered a revisit of her Personal Values Statement, which has emboldened her as a woman, mother, entertainer, and student.

Musically, she has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Prince, Mavis Staples and more.  She was a frequent special guest on the national radio broadcast A Prairie Home Companion performing duets with music greats Carole King and Elvis Costello. Her vocal talents landed her a feature in the Robert Altman film, A Prairie Home Companion starring Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones and Garrison Keillor.

Jearlyn has served on Boards for Chrysalis—a women’s resource center and the Ordway Circle of Stars, who unite children with the world of art. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Leadership and Innovation in Ministry at Luther Seminary St. Paul, MN.

In 2016, an Honorary Doctorate degree was conferred upon her by the University of Indianapolis and in October 2019, she received an Emmy for narrator of the TPT documentary, Flour Power. Jearlyn is a mother of two and a grandmother of three.

Jevetta Steele

Jevetta Steele s a member of the internationally acclaimed musical family, The Steeles.

She is most noted for her Academy Award nominated performance of Calling You from the motion picture Bagdad Café, which is certified GOLD in several European countries. Miss Steele is an original cast member of the Broadway, national and international touring hit “The Gospel at Colonus”, a featured artist on 2 operas (“Dear Mrs. Parks” & “African Portraits”), a recipient of 4 Gold records and an author of 2 plays- “2 Queens-1 Castle…an autobiographical music” and contributor with Don Cheadle on “Point of Revue”.

Ms. Steele has recorded 4 albums, performed on many major theatrical stages while lending her voice to national artist the likes of Prince, The Sounds of Blackness, Natalie Merchant and more. Her voice can also be found on local/regional radio and television commercials.

A Note to My Family Educator

A Note to My Family Educator 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

We received the following note from a recent graduate of our program and we couldn’t help but share!  Without a doubt, we have some of the best staff on the planet out there not only empowering parents and educating children, but truly becoming part of the families they work with.

Today I am going to be graduating from Way to Grow. Thank you for helping me grow smarter. Shamsa had been coming to our house since my oldest brother was 2 and now he is 15 so, Shamsa had been coming for 13 years. I really appreciate you coming Shamsa. Thank you, you’re the best! You have taught me a lot. For example, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. You also helped get me ready for the MAP and MCA tests. You are very kind and full of great ideas. I really appreciate being in Way to Grow and thanks again for all you did!
Way to Grow 3rd Grader


Honoring Dad

Honoring Dad 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Having recently celebrated Father’s Day, we couldn’t help but highlight the role of all the wonderful dads we see at Way to Grow. Social sciences have been examining the crucial role that fathers play in child development, family dynamics, and the overall well-being of their children for decades. Yet, one common stereotype persists: the notion of low-income, inner-city fathers being generally disengaged and uninvolved with their children.

It is imperative that we dispel the myths and stereotypes associated with the “urban” dad. “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home,” says sociologist, Dr. David Popenoe. “Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children no other person is as likely to bring.” Not only is the involvement of a father in the life of a family associated with lower levels of child neglect, there are also positive correlations between the role of fathers in cognitive ability, educational achievement, psychological well-being, and social behavior of children. One of the most important roles of a father is modeling healthy relationships, regardless of marital status. Seeing their parents respect one another and handle conflict appropriately has a profound effect on how young boys grow up to view and treat women as well as how young girls eventually expect men to treat them. On the other hand, fathers who display anger, show contempt for, or stonewall their partners are more likely to have children who are anxious, withdrawn, or antisocial (Rosenberg and Wilcox, 2006). “Even if the child’s parents are no longer together, maintaining healthy parenting practices is a two-way street,” says a Way to Grow Family Educator. “We see dads who are working hard to be involved in their child’s life, dads who will pick their kids up after school and dads that attend Way to Grow events. These dads care and want to do the best they can for their children, and we help them by showing them healthy ways to do this.”

These ways include:Way To Grow Dad

  • Fostering a positive relationship with the children’s mother
  • Spending time with children
  • Nurturing children
  • Disciplining children appropriately
  • Serving as a guide to the outside world
  • Protecting and providing and
  • Serving as a positive role model

Fathers also have a tremendous impact on self-regulation and teaching kids to control impulses and regulate their behavior (Mongeau, 2015). Commonly viewed as the “disciplinarians,” dads are in a unique position to teach and demonstrate self-control. One way fathers can promote this is by establishing and enforcing routines in the home.  Jermain, actively involved with Way to Grow for seven years, has set up routines at home to help foster a culture of learning. Every morning, Jermain gets his kids ready for school as his wife heads to work. “When we say ‘it’s time to do your schoolwork,’ they know we aren’t messing around. I’m going to do all I can to make sure they finish high school, because I didn’t.”

Fathers like Jermain are actively involved in their children’s lives and are dedicated to supporting their children in any way they can. The first step in helping fathers grow is making sure they feel validated and supported in the irreplaceable role they play in their family. Instead of looking at the deficits, building long-term change starts by recognizing what dads are already doing right.

6 Ways to Show Your Community Some Love

6 Ways to Show Your Community Some Love 1024 685 Ivy Marsnik

Whether you love Valentine’s Day, or you’d rather pretend the holiday didn’t exist in the first place, now is a great time to show a little LOVE to your community.  Here are some of our favorite ways to love thy neighbor:

  1. We’ll start with perhaps the most obvious: volunteer. Share a skill or life lesson with our teen parent support group, join our gala planning committee, or host a family game night for Way to Grow families. We provide the snacks, you provide the fun!*
  2. Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab some extra nonperishables and drop off a bag of food at your local food bank. Extra credit: reach out to them first to see what they’re in need of.
  3. Be a secret admirer. Give your neighbor or co-worker an anonymous note of appreciation.
  4. Get ahead of the spring cleaning curve! We all know cleaning out the clutter is useful no matter what time of year it is. If you don’t need it, donate it! We accept children’s clothes, toys and books; and better yet, we’ll pick it up!*
  5. Plant something. Ditch the vase this year and plant something instead. You’ll be ready to move your beautiful handy work outdoors in no time to enjoy all summer long.
  6. Write a Valentine to your member of Congress to ask for support for early childhood education programs.

*Please contact wtg@mplswaytogrow.org for more information, or fill out our online volunteer form to get started.

2014 In Review

2014 In Review 150 150 Ivy Marsnik
In 2014, we:

  • Had 88% of all Way to Grow preschoolers pass kindergarten readiness assessments for the second year in a row.
  • Opened our second preschool in South Minneapolis (Preschool P.A.L.S) at Urban Ventures, with a focus on educating both preschoolers and parents.
  • Celebrated serving our first cohort of third graders completing our Great by Eight program expansion.
  • Expanded our health and nutrition program resulting in both parents and children incorporating more nutritious food in their meal planning while increasing healthy behaviors.

Consider including Way to Grow in your year-end giving and make a tax-deductible donation today.

Donate now to put more parents and children on the path to success in 2015.

Thank you and happy new year!

Together, we will make a difference.

Join us in the Great Minnesota GIVE Together

Join us in the Great Minnesota GIVE Together 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

The season of giving is upon us!  In honor of our 25 years of success, our goal for this year’s Give to the Max Day is to have 25 supporters donate $25 or more.  Can you help us meet and exceed that goal?  We know you can! 

Give to the Max Day has become a Minnesota ritual,” says Dana Nelson, executive director of GiveMN. “For 24 hours, thousands of organizations and individuals rally to support amazing and important causes in Minnesota to make our state a great place for everyone. What’s not to love about that?”

Please schedule your gift today by filling out the form below, then share with your networks!  Together, we will make a difference.   #GTMD14

General Mills Foundation – Supporting Partner through 25 Years

General Mills Foundation – Supporting Partner through 25 Years 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

12 Days of Growing: Day 12

12 Days of Growing: Day 12 150 150 Way to Grow

Day 12 – A Team of Twelve – Whether they’re cheering us from the sidelines or fighting on the frontline for our children and families, we are indebted to the team of individuals and organizations who help make Way to Grow one of our city’s strongest advocates for early learning.

Our Team of Twelve includes Family Foundations, Individual Donors, Community Partners, Board Members, Committee Members, School Administrators, Mayor R.T. Rybak,  Governor Dayton, Family Educators, Resource Advocates, Teachers and Parents. And, of course, there are so many more.

This holiday season we give thanks to the generous community of stakeholders who have believed in and supported our work for the past 24 years.

Happy Holidays and warmest wishes for a healthy New Year from your friends at Way to Grow.

12 Days of Growing: Day 11

12 Days of Growing: Day 11 150 150 Way to Grow

Day 11 – Eleven Thousand Visits! That’s how many home visits our Family Educators and Resource Advocates conducted in 2013! Way to Grow’s home visits address all aspects of family life, health, and early education. Home visits produce positive results in developing early childhood literacy and preparing children for success in kindergarten and beyond.

To make a contribution, please click here or phone Melissa Meyer at (612) 874-4740.  To learn more about our programs, please explore our website.

12 Days of Growing: Day 10

12 Days of Growing: Day 10 150 150 Way to Grow

Day 10 – 10 out of 10 – That’s the rating we’ve given Family Educator Marie Huey for her recent guest blog post for the Twin Cities chapter of Young Education Professionals. Marie wrote poignantly about the challenges of changing ingrained practices and mindsets when it comes to teaching a young child the literacy skills he or she needs to succeed.

“Many of the houses I visit are too quiet,” Marie wrote. “Parents aren’t having enough conversations with their children.”

“I’ve observed that for many families, learning looks like sitting still in a chair,” she continued. “It sounds like memorizing and reciting facts. It means writing every word perfectly on the first try. But studies show children learn through playing, experimenting, imagining, conversing.”

To support the work that Marie and other Family Educators are doing to bring literacy and numeracy into the homes of the families we serve, click here to contribute online or phone Melissa Meyer at 612 874-4740.

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