Young Minds come together to raise funds for programs

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2003

Young Minds in Education is saying "Goodbye Winter" and hello to summer.

The Welcome Center program held a soup supper fund-raiser Thursday called "Soup Goodbye to Winter" Thursday at the carriage house in the Hormel Historic Home to raise money for summer programs.

YME, in its second year, provides tutors for local youth and arranges trips and activities throughout the year. The students and tutors meet at the Hormel Historic Home from 3:15 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

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Money raised at the fund-raiser, however, will go toward summer activities. The organizers would like expanded summer programming for students.

"It's pretty much activities for them to enjoy the summer," said Lisvel Valerio, youth program coordinator for the Welcome Center.

The YME board, made up of four student participants, is planning to build a float for the Fourth of July parade. Valerio would also like to send the board members to leadership training with the Blandin Foundation and have some students participate in the Wilderness Endeavor Program for Youth, which is sponsored by the Mower County Mentoring Program.

The amount of activities YME students participate in depends on how much money they can raise.

"Hopefully we get some response from the community," Valerio said.

About 35 people attended the fund-raiser and Valerio estimated YME brought in $200.

Pat White, a retired teacher of 27 years, said she came because she supports anything having to do with education.

"It's a great program for the kids," White said.

"And the soup's good, too," said Denny Palmer, one of her friends.

The meal of soup, garlic toast and cake was prepared by Valerio and Anita Ulwelling, a volunteer.

The students dressed up in black pants and dress shirts and served food and beverages and cleared tables.

Priscilla Silvestre and Emily Rysavy were assigned to clean up. The girls, both sixth graders at Queen of Angels, said they come to the Hormel Home for help with math and history.

"We get our homework done and its easier to concentrate here than at home," Rysavy said.

The students pay $10 a semester to participate, but those who receive free and reduced lunch do not pay a fee.

Joe Frisk, a volunteer tutor and substitute teacher, said about 10 children come to the Hormel Home a night for tutoring.

"It's good to be able to help out," he said.

YME board president Lola Christy, a senior at Austin High School, said many of the participants come into the program with low grades, but see drastic improvement in as little as three weeks.

"It's just a nice, very friendly environment for somebody to come and learn," Christy said.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at