The Cedar Riverside Neighborhood Revitalization Program (CRNRP) and the Somali American
Education Program (SAEP), along with others in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood, have
serious concerns about the neighborhood’s young adult Somali population due to last year’s
spike in homicides (3), reports of gang activity, and the disappearances of young adults allegedly
returning to Somalia. To address these concerns, CRNRP and SAEP partnered with our team of
three graduate students from the Humphrey Institute Cedar-Humphrey Action for Neighborhood
Collaborative Engagement (CHANCE) on a research project. We used a community-based
research model to achieve the following goals:
Assess the scope and capacity of current programs for Somali young adults;
Determine areas where programming was missing or could be enhanced; and
Engage Somali young adults in a co-creative dialogue to identify their needs and
capacities and to make use of their knowledge and experiences in identifying solutions.
Our research included a review of the relevant literature, identification of promising practices, an
analysis of current programming for young adults, identification of program funding
opportunities, fourteen interviews with community stakeholders, and two learning circle
conversations with youth. While we will focus on the Somali population within Cedar Riverside,
we believe that our recommendations and program suggestions may be utilized to address the
needs of Oromo and other East African immigrants and refugees living in the neighborhood.
Our literature review explored background characteristics related to positive and negative
behaviors among young adults including immigrant and refugee status, exposure to violence and
trauma, and parental educational attainment. We found that maintaining cultural identification,
higher parental educational attainment, English proficiency, participation in structured
programming, strength of peer and family relationships, and involvement with religious
organizations all had a positive effect on being civically engaged, achieving higher levels of
education, and obtaining employment. A lack of these characteristics along with exposure to
violence and trauma as children leads to an increased likelihood of violent and deviant behavior
Fleck, Peter; Gardner, Leah; Kasper,Eric. Engaging Somali Young Adults in Cedar-Riverside: Opportunities for Programming and Collaboration. May 20 2009. May 29 2009. Hubert H Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
professional paper in partial fulfillment of the Master of Public Policy degree requirement
Fleck, Peter; Gardner, Leah; Kasper, Eric.
Engaging Somali Young Adults in Cedar-Riverside: Opportunities for Programming and Collaboration.
Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.