Months after a small city grant helped create the first 4-H program in Minneapolis specifically geared toward Somali youth, students came to City Hall on Tuesday to show off their work.

Although 4-H is most commonly associated with agriculture, the new group has been focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). About 30 students are registered in the after-school program, which is run by nonprofit organization Ka Joog out of a mall in the Cedar-Riverside area.

Students demonstrated their work before council members, including an LED light board and a pulley-based miniature ski lift project. The program is meant to encourage an interest in STEM fields, while teaching the scientific process and teamwork. They have also taken field trips and spent time working at the University of Minnesota.

“It broadens the horizons of our youth,” Council Member Abdi Warsame said.

“Math and science and engineering are the keys to the future.”

Ka Joog already operated similar programs in St. Paul and Eden Prairie. The Minneapolis effort, which was launched in March, was made possible by a $50,000 city grant. Warsame would like to see the same amount allocated in next year’s budget.

“A lot of these kids also recently moved to the United States. So them being exposed to 4-H … and some of these great things that we’re working on is amazing to see,” said Mohamed Farah, Ka Joog’s executive director.


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