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YouthCARE Presents the 2017 Champions of Urban Youth

The City of Minneapolis STEP-UP Youth Employment Program and Dr. Reatha Clark King will be honored with the Champion of Urban Youth Award by YouthCARE on Sunday, April 30, at its 12th Annual Celebration of Urban Youth Gala. Created in 2013, the Champion of Urban Youth Award recognizes organizations and individuals that provide support to youth in the areas of education, culture, and recreation. The gala will be held at the Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis from 4:30-8 p.m. Tickets are $90 per person or $700 for a table of eight. Other ticket levels and sponsorship opportunities are available online at

STEP-UPSTEP-UP, which began in 2004, will be honored with the Champion of Urban Youth Award for an organization or company for its work with Minneapolis youth ages 14-21. Each year the program provides more than 1,600 meaningful paid internships with top businesses, public agencies, and nonprofits around the Twin Cities. These opportunities help youth gain work-readiness skills, build professional connections, explore career interests, and begin a path to life-long success.  STEP-UP is a program in partnership with AchieveMpls, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Minneapolis Park and Recreation, and Project for Pride in Living.

Dr. Reatha Clark King will be awarded the Champion of Urban Youth Award for an individual for her lifetime work as a role model and inspiration for countless urban youth. As president of Metropolitan State University (1977-1988), Dr. King often talked with students about their goals and aspirations for their education and careers. She continued to serve as a role model for young people locally and nationally while president and executive director of the General Mills Foundation (1988-2002). She also has spoken to students at area schools, including the Laura Jeffrey Academy in St. Paul; worked closely with the Jack and Jill organization in its Rites of Passage program to guide and teach young Black men about the responsibilities of manhood; and worked with youth through numerous community organizations including Junior Achievement, the YWCA, the YMCA, and Cookie Cart.

Dr. King earned her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and mathematics from Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia. She received a Woodrow Wilson fellowship to continue her studies at the University of Chicago, where she earned her Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in physical chemistry. Dr. King became the first African-American female chemist at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C.


Past Champion of Urban Youth Awards


2016 – Carlson Family Foundation

2015 – Pohlad Family Foundation

2014 – Xcel Energy

2013 – General Mills Yoplait



2016 – Keith Ellison, U.S. Representative, 5th Congressional District of Minnesota

2015 – R.T. Rybak, former Executive Director, Generation Next

2014 – Chris Coleman, St. Paul Mayor

Since 1974, our commitment has been to:

  • Offer educational experiences that foster cultural awareness, understanding and appreciation.
  • Employ youth in meaningful positions that also offer further education and career exploration.
  • Provide experiences and mentoring to develop youth leadership abilities.


YouthCARE's Volunteer Program provides a wide variety of opportunities for adults to get involved.

  • Program Volunteers work directly with young people in one of YouthCARE's three programs: Camp Sunrise, YouthLEAD, or the Young Women's Mentoring Program
  • Policy Volunteers serve on YouthCARE's Board of Directors or on a Policy Committee.
  • Special Event Volunteers provide support to YouthCARE by assisting with special events such as fundraisers, Camp Sunrise Workdays, or by sharing a special skill or expertise such as carpentry or graphics arts.