The Beginning: 1992 & 1993
- School Superintendent Carl Holmstrom’s speech to St. Louis Park Rotary Club inspires Rotarians to push for an initiative to benefit kids and families.
- Formation of At-Risk Families Committee (school staff).
- Back-to-school workshop held for all school staff on Children First and asset survey results (September 2,1993).
- Members of a communitywide Steering Committee identified.
- First monthly Children First newsletter (October, 1993) and publicity in local newspaper.
- First Steering Committee meeting (October 29, 1993). Discussed plans for town meetings.
- City Council resolution supporting Children First (November 15, 1993).
- School Board resolution supporting Children First (November 29, 1993).
- Town meetings (November 30 and December 2, 1993) with approximately 150 residents. Discussed strengths and concerns about St. Louis Park and vision for community.
- Search Institute staff conducted focus group interviews with 35 community groups of all types. Focus group components: obstacles, improvement, and vision.
- Steering Committee meeting (December 16). Worked on plans for neighborhood conversations.
The Early Years
- Volunteers conducted one dozen home meetings (neighborhood conversations) -“mini-town meetings.” Hosts had volunteered at town meetings.
- School faculty workshop on “Building Assets Through Teamwork.” (January 17, 1994).
- Focus group interviews and surveying continued. (Completed February, 1994.)
- Senior High School student newspaper, The ECHO, lead article on Children First. (February, 1994)
- Local clergy developed a draft document on “Core Values for the Children of St. Louis Park” (February, 1994).
- Steering Committee meeting (February 17, 1994). Discussed design plan for Children First.
- Identification of a Design Team comprised of school and Search Institute personnel to assist in analyzing data and drafting a proposal (March, 1994). Design Team meetings were held on March 9, 15, and 23, 1994.
- Steering Committee meeting (March 17, 1994). Discussion of tentative Design Document for Children First and future role of Steering Committee. Completion of first draft. (April 1,1994).
- Special Steering Committee meeting (April 7, 1994). Agenda items included: Review final draft of proposal, evaluation of the process and future steps. Completion of final draft of proposal (April 11-12, 1994).
- Grant proposals submitted to corporate foundations.
- Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social and Community Celebration of Children First (May, 1994)
- Money secured to hire a coordinator (Fall, 1994).
- Children First Transition Team (including representatives from each founding partner) writes a job description, interview and select a coordinator for Children First.
- Coordinator starts (October 1, 1994).
- Transition Team becomes permanent Executive Committee responsible for organizational and fiduciary integrity of Children First.
- Executive Committee members draft individuals from a variety of backgrounds to serve on Children First Vision Team with responsibility for visioning what Children First should be in St. Louis Park.
- Vision Team has initial meeting in December 1994, including representatives from the city, education, health, business, clergy, Rotary, social service agencies and parents and students (grades 5 – 11).
- A Marketing Committee for Children First begins work in April 1995. Charged with determining how to make every citizen in St. Louis Park aware of Children First, the committee is comprised of marketing professionals, school and city personnel, clergy, business people and students.
- Second annual Ice Cream Social, a community-wide event is held for family fun and to celebrate St. Louis Park’s efforts to put Children First. An estimated 1,500 people consumed 2,900 free ice cream cones.
- To respond to inquiries from other communities about Children First, a Children First Workshop is piloted June 15, 1995.
- Congregations organize a workshop dealing with how to keep kids safe in congregations.
- Central Clinic opens, a clinic offering free health services for all St. Louis Park youth, via a partnership between Park Nicollet and the school district.
- Awareness efforts include meetings with St. Louis Park’s private schools and including Children First information in the orientation for new staff at St. Louis Park District 283.
- Building local and national media coverage includes U.S. News & World Report’s cover story on resiliency includes Children First, November 11, 1996.
- University students begin working with Lenox Neighborhood on an Awareness to Action campaign.