The Parks for All Youth Design Team is a group of youth from across the City, who are working with MPRB staff, the Community Advisory Committee, Community-based organizations, artists and many others to help create the 2020 Minneapolis Park Comprehensive Plan. More specifically, the Youth Design Team positions are paid and a great opportunity for youth interested in policy and planning to gain applicable community engagement and career- building skills and experience by:

  • Assisting with community idea and input gathering;
  • Learning about the staff, history, agency, and systems that make up the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board;
  • Talking to youth and adults about how they use and want to improve parks through engagement in formal meetings and informal park events;
  • Making policy recommendations;
  • Working with staff at the MPRB to develop policy guidance for the agency

Youth Design Team Bios

Here are the members of the Youth Design Team and a little about each of them!

Araya Pettiford-Jenkins

Age: 15 years

School/Grade: I’m going into the 10th grade at Hopkins High School in Minnetonka.

Favorite Park and Why I wanted to be a part of the Youth Design Team: My favorite park is Fairview because I practice for crew rowing there in the winter season, they also have a very welcoming staff.

Why you are excited to serve on the Youth Design Team and work on the Comprehensive Plan: I’m excited for the youth design team because I think that youth should get to decide what happens in the parks because we use them so much, I also want to see how policies are made and implemented at the MPRB.

Isabel Nelson

Age: 15 years

School/Grade: I am a sophomore at Roseville Area High School.

Favorite Park and Why I wanted to be a part of the Youth Design Team: My favorite Minneapolis park is Logan Park because I live very close to it, so I walk there almost every day and I really enjoy and appreciate it.

I am very excited to work on the Youth Design Team and with the Comprehensive Plan because it will be a great learning experience, and I am looking forward to working with and meeting new people.

Isa White-Mendez

Age: 14 years

School/Grade: I go to Roseville Area High School and I am going into my sophomore year.

Favorite Park and Why I wanted to be a part of the Youth Design Team: My favorite park is probably Logan and Cherokee Parks because they are really nice parks with lots of open space and I can walk to them from where I live.

Being part of the Youth Design Team, I am looking forward to sharing my ideas and love for the parks with other youth while working on the Youth Design Team as part of the Comprehensive Plan.

Will Sylvain

Age: 16 years

School/Grade: DeLasalle High School Sophomore.

Favorite Park and Why I wanted to be a part of the Youth Design Team: My favorite park is Windom Park in Northeast. I have grown up across the street from Windom and have always enjoyed spending time there. It is a place where I was always able to have fun when I was younger, and I understand now how lucky I was to have such a safe and accessible place to play.

I am thrilled to be a part of the Youth Design Team, and to able to assess the needs of the community and work with the team to make actual changes that will benefit everyone.

Davis Zeis

Age: 16 years

School/Grade: I attended Edison High School but this fall I will be a Freshmen at Minneapolis Community Technical College

Favorite Park and Why I wanted to be a part of the Youth Design Team: Jackson Square Park

I love animals and being out side and parks give a place for animals to live and for me to be in nature. I really enjoy our parks and hope to make them better for all people to enjoy and appreciate.

Genesis Figueroa

Age: 17 years old

School/Grade: I go to Washburn High School and I am in the 11th grade

Favorite Park and Why I wanted to be a part of the Youth Design Team: My favorite park is Bryant Square because that is the place I do most of my activities. I also enjoy being there with friends.

I’m excited to be part of this group because I get to learn new things and get to work with all the youth here.