To be a community that develops and restores mutually respectful relationships between people from diverse backgrounds, who together invest in the youth of our east side St. Paul neighborhood, equipping them to become self-sustaining, productive, and caring adults.


To create a community of people on the east side of St. Paul that supports youth and families in the following ways:

  • Improving job skills for at-risk teens and young adults
  • Increasing financial literacy and economic understanding
  • Improving relationships across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic differences
  • Strengthening faith to improve moral choices, character development, and conflict resolution


Healthy Relationships

Urban youth, suburban families, committed participants, and occasional volunteers—everything at The Lift has healthy relationships at its core. Whether it's planning the next youth event, sharing homework needs, learning about savings accounts, or asking for prayer, meaningful relationships and mentoring are the center.


Education is often the key for urban youth and families to break cycles of poverty. Mentoring, community gatherings, and informal tutoring all emphasize our commitment to educational success. As some of our teens move on to college, they stay engaged as role models with the next generation.

Financial Literacy and Life Skills

Equipping students (and families) for life means teaching the basics, such as job skills, managing money, planning for college, and starting a business. Some of this is delivered in a classroom format, some is hands on through mentors, and some is the practical knowledge acquired in our Cash programs.

Since 2007, our token economy approach has allowed teens to earn Lift Dollars for attendance, grades, and service. Our Lift Store allows them to purchase everything from socks to gift cards.

Spiritual Growth

Our youth, neighborhood families, and community mentors gather weekly to worship and encourage one another. These large and small group times focus on the value of faith in overcoming the many challenges that exist for urban teens and families. This part of The Lift addresses and acknowledges the holistic needs of our community—practical, physical, and spiritual.