As we celebrate the kickoff of our 2023 Genius Labs Summer Camp, here is a look back at the Family Workshop Series we offered this past Spring. Every Saturday from April 29th to June 24th, GMCC welcomed families into our facility to participate in workshops for both parents and children of all ages.

Parents received guidance on how to support their children’s education, understand teacher expectations, build self-esteem, support mental health, and advocate for their child to improve their success in school. Deqa Yusuf and Mohamed Mohamed, along with a few guest speakers, led these sessions in collaboration with GMCC.

With the majority of parents who participated being Somali, these workshops were tailored to their cultural needs. This became a safe space for Somali parents to build community and have open discussions together, while their children were engaged elsewhere in the same building.

Parents in a discussion with workshop instructors

Topic for one of the parent workshops

“All families need this workshop. All parents are tired and in need of effective parenting workshops. They could use this training.”

Feedback from a parent participant

Guest speaker teaching a workshop to the parents on nutrition

Middle and high school-aged youth participated in our Tech Teens program, which included programming on coding, information technology, and digital learning opportunities to help them succeed in school. This was provided in partnership with New Visions Foundation. Upon completion of the coding course, students coded their own web page and presented it as their final project. Web pages included a variety of content based on the students’ interests, ranging from video game history to basketball stats.

New Visions instructor assisting with coding lessons

Tech Teens participant presenting her final web page

Informed by our Genius Labs programming, elementary-aged youth participated in engaging and educational STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) activities to excite them about learning and build their skills in a variety of subjects. Our Youth Team partnered with different local organizations each week to provide fun new learning experiences on an array of topics.

The Wood Lake Nature Center brought real animal pelts and even live snakes and turtles, which youth (who were brave enough) could touch. The Book Buggie came with lots of free books to donate to our library, which youth could choose from to read on their own time. Snapology guided the youth in making Lego mazes and robotic Lego cars that they could code and control via tablets.

Free books from The Book Buggie

Lego robotics with Snapology

Abrakadoodle engaged the youth in art projects which helped them learn about frogs, their habitats, and life cycles. The Bakken Museum taught a lesson on magnets and electricity, allowing youth to experiment with circuits. The Ney Nature Center helped youth learn about flowers and pollination, and taught them how to make seed bombs. The youth planted flowers outside with The Real MPLS and then got to do more Lego robotics with Create MPLS.

Art with Abrakadoodle

Flower planting with The Real MPLS

Over the course of the program, GMCC engaged a total of 72 parents and children. On the final day, participants were given certificates to signify their completion of the workshop series, and families got to celebrate together with ice cream and cake. Parents and children alike expressed gratitude for the program, saying that they learned a lot and enjoyed coming back each week,

As one three year-old excitedly declared upon receiving her certificate,

“I’m a scientist!”