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Hockey is for Everyone: DinoMights youth hockey

Organization uses hockey to promote education and support at-risk Twin Cities youth

by Minnesota Wild @mnwild / Wild.com

Hockey is for Everyone uses the game of hockey to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities. During the month of February, the Wild will celebrate organizations and teams around Minnesota that work to create a greater State of Hockey and exemplify the meaning of Hockey is for Everyone, providing a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.

South Minneapolis, 1995. 

John Foley, son of a local pastor, recognized that the area needed a change. To combat the high gang involvement and low test scores in several neighborhoods, Foley created the DinoMights program in hopes that Minneapolis youth would be able to buck the trend and gain opportunities and positive adult relationships. 

Since its founding, DinoMights youth hockey has utilized the sport to promote educational opportunities and support children from at-risk areas. Its mission is to equip urban youth around Minneapolis to develop physical, academic, social and spiritual excellence through long-term mentoring relationships.

Those aspects, condensed into the acronym PASS, lead to success as a team. Learning to PASS in life emphasizes selflessness and providing a platform for the organization's core values. 

Those values -- listening, working hard, encouraging others and celebrating -- are reinforced not only out on the ice but also in other programming, such as tutoring and community service projects. The ultimate goal of DinoMights is to prepare kids to become self-assured and competent adults, and playing hockey is an integral part of that process. 

Using hockey as an incentive, DinoMights provides academic tutoring, mentoring, computer instruction, studies, camping, community service and various other activities. Traditional enrichment through recreation as well as strategies to respond to children's developmental and academic needs allows DinoMights to break through in at-risk areas. 

More than 500 total youth were served in the 2016-17 season alone, and DinoMights participants have posted an 85 percent high school graduation rate since 1995.

Now, 22 years after Foley first saw its potential and made a difference in the lives of Minneapolis kids, DinoMights is able to serve and impact St. Paul youth, as well, thanks to a new base at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center. 

The DinoMights will play during the first intermission of Thursday night's Wild game designated as Hockey Is For Everyone night.

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