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News Release: Wokie Weah hired to lead new nonprofit to support youth beyond the classroom


March 10, 2011, Minneapolis – Ms. Weah brings energy and extensive experience to increase out-of-school opportunities for youth.

Contact: Curt Peterson, (612) 998-7466, curt@orgdev.org

This week, the board of directors of "OST Minnesota" (working name) announced they have hired Wokie Weah as the organization's first president. Last year, The McKnight Foundation announced the formation of the new nonprofit to support youth beyond the classroom. With ongoing funding from McKnight and others, the organization will strengthen Minnesota's out-of-school time (OST) field.

In making the announcement, Board Chair Kit Hadley says, "We are thrilled that Wokie will be our first president. Her wide-ranging experience, perspective, and passion for the wisdom of youth make her just the right leader to advance the critically important out-of-school-time field."

Kit goes on to say, "We sought broad community input about direction for the organization and the characteristics needed in its leader. KeyStone Search talked with over 160 people before bringing us a great group of candidates. We picked Wokie because she exemplifies, and will shape the new organization with the key values our stakeholders identified: innovation, quality and inclusion."

Ms. Weah comes to "OST Minnesota" (working name) with comprehensive experience in education and youth development. She has worked for 18 years at the National Youth Leadership Council; serving most recently as Senior Vice President. In that capacity, she helped shape the organization's strategic direction, cultivate partnerships, grow the funding base, and develop and manage NYLC's youth and schools programs, professional development, annual conference, and special events.

For part of that time she also worked for UNICEF as an Education Project Officer in Liberia, where she coordinated the Support to War-Affected Youth Project, the Juvenile Justice Initiative, African Girl Education Initiative, and Child Friendly Spaces for internally displaced children.

Wokie received her Master's degree in Science in Education Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her Bachelor's degree from Adelphi University in New York. She is an author and widely traveled speaker; she has addressed audiences throughout the United States and Africa and written extensively on service-learning and diversity. She is a native of Liberia, is married and has five children.

ABOUT "OST MINNESOTA" (working name)

In December of 2010 The McKnight Foundation announced the formation of a new nonprofit to support youth beyond the classroom. With ongoing funding from McKnight and others, the new organization will work with other organizations and leaders across the metro area to increase the quality and quantity of out-of-school time opportunities for youth in the Twin Cities. Strategies will include promoting best practices, engaging young people, funding good ideas and programs, and strengthening statewide policy.

A broad group of community stakeholders, from youth to experts in the field, worked for a year to develop the vision for "OST Minnesota." The organization is still in the very early stages of development – still developing program strategies. While it establishes operations and identity, it will use the temporary name of "OST Minnesota" and stay housed at the McKnight Foundation offices.  Look for exciting developments later in the year, including the launch of the official name, brand and core work areas.

OST Minnesota c/o the McKnight Foundation
710 South Second Street #400
Minneapolis MN 55401