Milk and Cookies

After school I would get off the bus and my mom would greet me with milk and cookies and ask me about my day. Our family ate together every day at 5:00 pm before milking cows on our dairy farm.

Being a mother of three, after school activities were a bit different than my childhood. They were involved with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, band, basketball and many other activities. Our eating schedule varied every day and we were running in different directions but we always had time to connect each day.

Life has changed and not all youth have the opportunity to actively participate in after school youth programs. Parents are financially burdened and many work varying shifts. This is why United Way of Central Minnesota has made Quality Out of School Time one of our five goal areas. Our goal is to connect school-age children and teens in Central Minnesota with community organizations that provide positive out-of-school time options which includes  mentors for children, tutoring, volunteer and civic engagement options and college/career readiness opportunities.

Our aspiration is to have every school age youth engaged in ongoing experiences that build positive life skills and support from caring mentors. School age children and adolescence have a lot of unrestricted time. Participating in organized out of school time programs and activities is a safe way for our youth to spend their free time. Activities provide mentors, fun and opportunities to develop life-long skills.

Whether it’s coming home to a parent or Boys & Girls Club/KIDSTOP, it’s important for youth to be involved and have at least one caring mentor in their lives supporting and guiding them in development of positive life skills.

Visit the United Way Volunteer Connection page to find a volunteer opportunity as a mentor or working with area youth in many different ways. All organizations listed provide varying levels of screening and background checks for volunteers within their agencies. Visit to learn more or contact Mary Krippner at 320-223-7991 or

Written By: Mary Krippner, United Way Volunteer Engagement Coordinator