Helping Youth Find a Place to Belong
For 28 years, Mall of America®, along with our tenants, has been a big part of the communities of Minneapolis/St. Paul and our hometown of Bloomington, Minnesota. We want to use our resources in the best possible way to make positive things happen in the communities where we live and work. That means partnering with organizations that bring not just passion, but a strong track record of improving people’s lives.
An example of one of our ongoing community partnerships is working with Oasis for Youth. Oasis for Youth is a non-profit based in Bloomington, MN. with a goal of serving youth experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Oasis provides tools for stability and opportunities for youth to thrive through individualized case management, onsite supportive services, and connections to housing and community resources. Annually, they serve over 200 youth in the south suburbs of Hennepin County.
In 2016, Mall of America joined forces with Oasis by establishing a satellite office at the Mall specifically for use by Oasis in an effort to help young people who work within Mall of America and may be struggling with housing issues. Oasis for Youth hired a full-time case manager dedicated to help young people working within Mall of America by assisting them in retaining employment in addition to helping stabilize their lives outside of work by finding a place to call home, going back to school, or having insurance so they can go to the doctor when they are sick. Many of these youth have the ability to be valuable employees for Mall of America and our many tenants, but in many cases, these young people simply need a chance, along with the proper support from Oasis and an understanding of their situation by their employer.
The goal of the partnership is to provide a confidential resource at the Mall, which is home to nearly 13,000 employees, with the hope that youth who are eligible for Oasis’ services and work within Mall of America, will be more successful employees, and lead to greater success in their jobs and in their lives.
Uplifting. Coaching. Finding a place to belong. These are the experiences youth have when they work with Mall of America and Oasis for Youth.
Christina struggled for years with addiction, and, by the time she was 23, she felt like drugs and alcohol would consume her. However, she was able to go to treatment to get the help she needed. For Christina, in order to be successful, it was important for her to find routine and community. With Oasis’ coaching and support she was able to find this at Mall of America. Christina is out-going and fun and was able to shine in guest services by finding a new path of support, encouragement, and a place for her that embraces her out-going personality.
Sarah’s dream was to enter law enforcement, but she wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to fulfill the high demands of this career. She struggles with a learning disability and needs to have special accommodations. Oasis and MOA’s security team were able to come together to find creative solutions that allowed Sarah to serve on the security team and pursue education at Normandale Community College in the law enforcement program. Sarah, with Oasis and MOA’s support has found ways to overcome barriers she never knew possible.
Scott, 17, loved working at Mall of America. It gave him stability as he and his family were always moving around. Mall of America was his place. Scott embraced meeting people from all over the world, it gave him joy and it was simply fun to come to work. And sometimes, it was hard to get to work. Oasis would support him with various transportation, like ride sharing options when he ended up staying somewhere over two hours away by public transportation. Oasis also supported him and his family to find a place to stay that would be safe. Scott was hit hard by COVID-19, as a high school student, he was not eligible for unemployment benefits. He had to get a different job, waiting for Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe to re-open. He is excited to come back and really misses the rides.