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Community engagement

Here to listen, engage and respond.

Hennepin County is committed to advancing community engagement to better serve our residents.

The strategy of the Engagement Services Division is to create and strengthen long-term, sustainable relationships built on trust. This strategy aligns with and supports the county's mission, vision and goals

If you would like us to attend your event, please email engagementservices@hennepin.us.

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In relationships with others, we engage with humility, listen intentionally and problem solve together.

Our internal and external work centers around community through thoughtful, strategic engagement. We do this work with heart and intention with:

  • Residents
  • Clients
  • Community organizations
  • Faith groups
  • Contracted providers
  • Agency partners
  • Multijurisdictional partners including the State of Minnesota, other counties in the Twin Cities, and more than 40 cities and 20 school districts in Hennepin County

Priority populations

Our engagement work is focused on the following priority populations:

  • African American
  • African Immigrant
  • Asian Pacific Islander/Hmong
  • Latino/Latinx
  • Native American
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Youth
  • Older adults
  • Rural residents
  • Disability community
  • LGBTQIA community

We are here to listen, engage and respond.

Healing Circle for Our Community
 
In Celebration of Latino Heritage Month

Saturday, October 1, 10a.m. – 12 p.m.
Centro Tyrone Guzman, 1915 Chicago Avenue South

In person, age 18 and up. This event is offered only in Spanish.

Register here.

This event, hosted by Hennepin County Engagement Services, is focused on connecting Latino families and communities to their roots through music, spirituality, and traditional ceremonies. It is a space of self-healing accompanied by cultural arts and dance.

Healers Nancy and Susan will guide participants in connecting with the four elements of life which are water, fire, air, and earth.

Nancy Rocha (she/her/hers) is a descendent of the Mexica people. She is a seeker of knowledge, a student, teacher, leader and an apprentice. Nancy draws from the tradition of Curanderismo or Medicina Ancestral, which incorporates medicine from Mexica, European and African lineages.

Susana De León (she/her/hers) is a Mexican, Indigenous, medicine cultural teacher and immigration attorney. She has been a cultural guide at the service of the Xican@, Indigenous, Latinx and other communities for over 25 years. In her practice, Susana teaches participants how to ground themselves in culture, combining body, mind and spirit for self and community healing.

For ASL interpretation, please contact EngagementServices@hennepin.us

Past 2022 events

Juneteenth Liberation Celebration: An intergenerational event for Black men of all ages

Held on June 22, 2022, at Lutunji's Plate, this event was led by TC, from Mind Body Spirit Wholistic Fitness, and Kendrick Walton, a cultural works and community healer.

Participants learned:

  • How to have difficult conversations with each other
  • How to care for ourselves and free ourselves from conditions placed on us
  • How to do mindfulness activities for self empowerment

Community healer biographies

Thomas "TC" Collins

TC is a community activist, social justice advocate, and wellness enthusiast with 10+ years of community engagement experience. He’s the owner of Mind, Body, Spirit Wholistic Fitness, LCC dedicated to providing alternative holistic healing methods to disenfranchised communities. Born in Oceanside, California he’s worked as a motivational speaker working across the country to shift the mental paradigms of adolescents of color. As a certified yoga and fitness instructor he uses wellness as a tool to uplift those who are oppressed by providing them with the resources they need to heal themselves and transform the world around them. TC works part time at YouthLink as a Youth Advocate, Mentor, and Community Coordinator. He’s a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi where he studied Psychology and became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. As a former collegiate athlete, TC is passionate about teaching mindfulness to young men and providing them with the tools to connect deeper to themselves in mind, body, and spirit.

Kendrick Walton

Kendrick is a Restorative Justice Specialist with Community Mediation & Restorative Services, Inc. Previously, he served as an educator in Minneapolis Public Schools and coached high school debate. Kendrick has a deep passion for restorative practices in education and a significant portion of his role is dedicated to cultivating a space that is healing-focused, anti-racist, and forward-thinking. Some of the services he offers include facilitation of restorative circles, conflict mediation, community building, and professional development.

In Celebration of Asian American Heritage Month and Minnesota American Indian Month

This wellness panel and choice of healing circles are offered as part of an ongoing series to support of the health and wellbeing of our community. The event was held on May 21, 2022.

Panelists Seng Xiong, Nancy Bordeaux, Renee Butters talked about cultural traditions/practices for wellness.

Healers Julie Vang, Xay Yang, Seng Xiong, Shelly Belgarde, Nancy Bordeaux and Renee Butters drew upon their lived experience and expertise to guide separate healing circles to support community members and provide guidance for navigating our world.

Community healer biographies

Shelly Belgarde

Shelly Marie Belgarde ‘Hante Blaska Wiyan’- Flat Cedar Woman, an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes: Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara, a descendant of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Shelly is a Golden Ray Twin Flame, Wisdom Keeper, and Energy Healer. She has studied many ancient traditional healing modalities over the past decade. She is currently finishing up her Masters in Holistic Health Studies at St. Catherine’s University. Shelly has a passion for transmuting trauma and helping others find their healer within. She lives to shine loving light onto others. She awoke so others may awaken.

Nancy Bourdeaux

Nancy Bordeaux is a Lakota from Rosebud South Dakota. Nancy has worked in the Minneapolis and St. Paul community for 20 years. Nancy is Executive Director of Tawacin Tanka Nonprofit. Nancy has 12 years of historical trauma and healing lifeways experience as a trainer. Nancy is a certified Focusing Oriented and Complex Trauma practitioner. Nancy’s work is based on the core values and time-honored traditions of self-healing and holistic healing modalities.

Renee Butters

Renee Butters ‘Awanishbaasinookwe’, owner and founder of She Heals Noojimo Noojimo’iwe, is an Indigenous Healing Practitioner, Teacher, and a skilled facilitator of community self-healing ceremonies and circles. She is descendant of the Ojibwe Snake Clan, and citizen of The White Earth Nation. She is certified in several different healing modalities and uses cultural, holistic, and hands on approaches to teach others how to reclaim their most powerful healer, the healer within. www.shehealsnoojimo.com

Julie Vang

Julie Vang is a spiritual healer, conscious business coach, trauma-informed yoga teacher, and the creator of Im Soul Ready LLC. She comes from a long ancestral lineage of shamans, healers, and entrepreneurs. After burning out from 10+ years of political and community organizing, Julie leaned into deep inner healing and spiritual work to rise beyond the oppressive systems. She's on a soul mission to help you grieve to embody New Earth leadership, wealth, pleasure, and impact.

Seng Xiong

Seng (they/she/he) currently serves as the Queer Justice Coordinator at Transforming Generations. They oversee the LGBTQ+ drop-in support group that has been going on since the height of the pandemic last year. As well, Seng has collaborated on various communal gatherings over the past couple of years that offer healing through storytelling, mindfulness, and holistic wellness.

Xay Yang

Xay Yang (she/her) currently serves as the Queer Justice Director and Mental Health therapist at Transforming Generations, a non-profit organization focused on ending gender-based violence with a focus on the Hmong community. Xay is a clinical social worker by trade and has been providing mental health support for over six years. She has also been organizing in communities and working with victims/survivors for 10 years. Xay has co-facilitated various circles locally and nationally focused on healing and storytelling for the last three years.

We work with our community partners, school districts, Hennepin County cities and other government agencies to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives here.

Hennepin engagement van

We have three vans that connect directly with residents at local events. They serve as a mobile engagement office, which helps us build relationships and engage with community. Our staff provides information about County resources and services available. We also listen to the needs and concerns of residents and bring this information back to our colleagues so that it can inform how we deliver our services to you. If you would like our staff and engagement van to attend your event, please email engagementservices@hennepin.us.

Census and redistricting

Thanks to Minnesota’s high census self-response rate of 75.1% (well above the national average of 67%), we kept all eight of our seats in Congress.

And thanks to folks in Hennepin County for being counted, our population grew by 11% from 2010 to 2020. This increase means Hennepin County will receive additional federal funds to benefit our community — funding for education, health care, housing, transportation and other vital services.

Mask distribution

Since April of 2020, the Engagement Services Division has distributed more than 1 million masks through monthly deliveries to more than 140 community organizations. Together, we worked to slow the spread of COVID-19.

If your organization needs masks, email engagementservices@hennepin.us.

Metro Blue Line Extension (BLRT) collaboration

Hennepin County is partnering with Metro Transit to develop the Blue Line Extension, which will run from downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park. The extension is expected to have tens of thousands of riders. It will also encourage transit-oriented development that helps people access basic needs without depending on cars.

See project information and provide input.

Partnership activities

A pre-engagement process was designed to create a community-informed engagement framework for the Blue Line Extension in 2021 and beyond. To achieve this goal, we partnered with The Alliance/Blue Line Coalition, Harrison Neighborhood Association and Juxtaposition Arts with three short term contracts for these deliverables:

  • Update and refresh key community stakeholder list
  • Conduct 10 or more 1:1s with key community stakeholders
  • Host 3 community engagement sessions to educate engage, listen and respond
  • Conduct an online survey for community residents to undercover the issues, opportunities and recommendations for engagement
  • Completed by end of January 2021

Translations

Hennepin County is working to provide more information in Spanish, Somali, Hmong and other languages so that community members have access to our services and resources. To get Hennepin County materials in other languages, email engagementservices@hennepin.us.

We have contracted with individuals and more than 35 non-profit organizations who are trusted messengers in our communities. They play an important role in helping to improve health care outcomes. They also help us identify needs as well as promoting resources and services available from the county to residents.

Trusted messengers:

  • Help with translation in other languages
  • Create messages that resonates with a wide variety of communities
  • Help ensure that individuals and families are engaged and have accurate and timely information to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Provide additional information and education on improving health care outcomes
  • Identify immediate needs of community members and assist with obtaining public and private support services.
  • Promote Hennepin County events and campaigns including disease mitigation, Public health, census, elections, etc.

List of Trusted Messengers – June 2022 (PDF)

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