Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) tackles the disparities youth face in the community with unapologetic ambition and thoughtful risk-taking. By design, HCI is a convener and organizer, operating under the guiding principle “never do anything alone.” HCI identifies needs and opportunities, pulls partners together to create solutions that support and empower young people, and evaluates results to ensure continual improvement.
HCI employs multiple partners to provide individual coaching, academic assistance, college access, leadership development and career exploration to low-income and Latinx youth. As a result of its efforts, the graduation rates for Latinx youth in Northfield climbed from 27% in 2005 to 83% in 2015; graduation rates for low-income youth rose from 38% to 87%. Other HCI innovations include a program to prevent opioid addiction in young people through appropriate disposal of prescription medication, adopted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as a recommended community approach.
HCI listens to the community through several intentional methods, including an initiative to place high school students on city, school district and nonprofit boards, as well as a monthly meeting of members of immigrant and refugee populations to develop inclusive solutions to issues that impact their neighborhoods.