Mission Statement: To provide a healing place for American Indian youth and families to thrive in safety and wholeness.
The Ain Dah Yung Center – which means “our home” in the Ojibwe language – is an emergency shelter for runaway and homeless American Indian youth
In the 1980s, the first American Indian school in St. Paul recognized that many of its students were homeless or in homes that were affecting their ability to attend school and succeed. Children and youth were often focused on survival and meeting basic needs. The majority of homeless children and youth were and continue to be American Indian. Out of these realities and the hard work of many early American Indian leaders and the generosity of funding partners, the Ain Dah Yung Center was born in 1983.
The shelter quickly filled the need for a culturally relevant and safe place in the Twin Cities, one of the most concentrated urban American Indian populations in the United States. The ADYC led the way as the first agency to provide any form of culturally relevant focused services to any group. Its Emergency Shelter and empowering culturally relevant programs immediately proved to be much more utilized and effective than mainstream services for American Indian families. Today, ADYC is a national model for providing a broad spectrum of culturally relevant and cost-effective social services to American Indian youth and their families – a group that has been reluctant to use mainstream government services and programs.
ADYC provides a continuum of care and services recognizing that, in American Indian culture, you can’t grow as a person until you have honor, dignity, and respect for both yourself and everything around you. Each year, ADYC provides services to about 1,100 youth and families, using traditional American Indian beliefs as a starting point for personal and community growth.
ADYC is a cornerstone for community healing. We are committed to ensuring that American Indian youth and families in the Twin Cities area retain access to their Indigenous rights of community belonging and culturally identity. The following values continue to guide our actions and decisions:
- Safety always comes first.
- We treat each other with love, kindness, respect and dignity.
- Native language, traditions, spirituality and storytelling are the keys to healing and thriving in our community.
- We act with integrity and accountability as careful stewards of community resources.
- Humor and humbleness help us weather many storms and keep perspective.
- We empower all to dream, set high standards and achieve.
The Emergency Shelter established its own 501(c)3 nonprofit status in 1991. After operating the Emergency Shelter for 13 years, ADYC opened the Beverley A. Benjamin Youth Lodge. ADYC has gradually developed accompanying services and programs that address both the immediate needs of youth in crisis and proactively impact systemic issues at the root of homelessness with long-term positive results.