top of page

2021 Annual Report

Opening letter title

PDF version!

Opening letter

2021 Board of Directors

Annie Harala, Chair Northland Constructors

Britt Robb, Secretary Safe Haven Shelter & Resource Center

Beth Moncrief, Treasurer Community Member

Kathy Bergen Retired - City of Duluth Parks & Recreation

Anthony Bonds Duluth Public Schools

Jamie Delacruz Duluth Public Schools

Angel Farrell Graduate Student - College of St. Scholastica

Ethan Fisher Duluth Federation of Teachers

Jen Jaros Duluth Public Schools

Karl Schuettler Northspan Group, Inc.



Kelsey Gantzer, Executive Director

Athena Hatfield, AmeriCorps VISTA

Angel Nustad-Peluso, Program Director

Saraiya Piantek, Denfeld Site Coordinator

Caitlin Smith, Myers-Wilkins Site Coordinator

Rachel Thapa, Lincoln Park Site Coordinator


2021 Donors


BNSF Railway Foundation

Ciresi Walburn Foundation

City of Duluth

Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation

Duluth Parks & Recreation

Duluth Rotary Club #25

Junior League of Duluth

Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation

Mardag Foundation

Medica Foundation

Minnesota Power Foundation

National Bank of Commerce

Northland Foundation

Ordean Foundation

Positivity Project

Project Joy

Sheltering Arms Foundation

Head of the Lakes United Way

Walmart Foundation

Partners & Supporters

  • American Indian Community Housing Organization

  • Black Men Serving Excellence

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northland

  • Bridging Health Duluth

  • Center City Housing

  • City of Duluth Youth Employment Services

  • College of St. Scholastica

  • Duluth Area Family YMCA

  • Duluth Folk School

  • Duluth Youth Agency Coalition

  • Ecolibrium3

  • Essentia Health

  • Families Rise Together

  • Farm to School

  • Fond du Lac Human Services

  • Fond du Lac School Linked Mental Health

  • Generations Health Care Initiatives

  • Human Development Center

  • Ignite Afterschool

  • Kern and Kompany

  • Lake Superior Community Health Center

  • Life House

  • Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative

  • Lutheran Social Services

  • Men as Peacemakers

  • Mentor North

  • NAACP Duluth

  • National Education Association

  • Neighborhood Youth Services

  • Northwood Children’s Services

  • Outside the Box

  • Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault

  • Planned Parenthood

  • Steve O’Neil Apartments

  • St. Louis County Public Health

  • True North AmeriCorps

  • SNAP Education - University of MN Extension,

  • Center for Youth Development - University of MN Extension

  • UMD Center of American Indian and Minority Health

  • UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering

  • University of Wisconsin Superior - Academic Service Learning

  • Valley Youth Center

  • YES Duluth

  • Zen Eyecare

Myers-Wilkins Renewed

Caitlin Smith

Caitlin Smith, Full-Service Community School Coordinator at Myers-Wilkins

We consider ourselves lucky to have hired Caitlin Smith as our new Full-Service Community School Coordinator at Myers-Wilkins Elementary in Fall 2021. Welcome Caitlin to our team!

Wolf Den Summer 2021

At Myers-Wilkins Elementary school, we hosted an integrated academic and recreational summer program that was a partnership between DCSC, the District, OEE, and Duluth Parks and Recreation.

Right: Wolf Den students working with footprint molds

Wolf Den students show off the footprint molds they are working with

Setting the Stage for 2022 and Beyond

In Fall 2021, DCSC worked with Myers-Wilkins Elementary to secure a 2.5 year Full-Service Community Schools grant from the Minnesota Department of Education. The $442,000 grant is funding a Mental Health Practitioner, a Full-Service Community School Site Coordinator, partnerships with local organizations, and supplies for programming. This contributes to the sustainability of our efforts at Myers-Wilkins!

Food & Well-Being at LPMS

Lincoln Park Middle School integrates gardening, nutrition education, and a new school pantry into holistic health & well-being, engaging students as leaders, participants, and advocates.

Quick Stats

136 food pantry visits in fall 2021

12 students involved in summer gardening and nutrition

Met 100% of requests from families

LPMS raised bed garden with containers full of produce in front of it
LPMS food pantry with nonperishable food items, paper towels, and hygiene products

The LPMS school pantry strives to

provide students with access to fresh, healthy, and easy to prepare foods in a safe, welcoming, strengths-based, and developmentally appropriate manner.

It is more than a pantry.

LPMS School Garden (left) and food pantry (right)

LPMS students are leaders:

  • tending the school garden

  • planning the pantry

  • selecting pantry equipment

  • pantry layout/organization

  • recommending items to stock

  • referring peers

  • offering recommendations for how to create a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment

  • providing feedback

  • sharing ideas & lived experience

  • sharing caring messages & art

Caring notes left by LPMS students. A prompt reads "What would you like to hear on tough days?"

Caring messages written by students

The Story of DASH

Denfeld After School Happenings (DASH) is our free afterschool program meant to be a safe space for students to learn and gather with each other at Denfeld High School. Here is how the Full-Service Community School model brought us DASH and continues to shape it:


In 2017 and 2018, an assets and needs assessment identified the need for free and accessible afterschool programming at Denfeld High School. We engaged 4 stakeholder groups in planning the program: students, families, school staff, and community members.


As DASH was implemented, we found from the data that students attending DASH are disproportionately students of color, in special education, and qualifying for free or reduced lunch. As a result, the Denfeld Community School Leadership Team developed a goal of using DASH as a strategy to close the graduation gap for these students.


The need for a safe after-school space did not disappear during the pandemic. We partnered with Life House and hosted Denfeld students at their location twice a week. Like in DASH, students could do homework, play games, access the internet, and connect with the Denfeld Community School Coordinator.


In December 2021, as part of Ignite Afterschool's M3 Continuous Improvement Process, we formed a Youth Leadership Team (composed of students who attend DASH) and trained them in program evaluation. These students then gave us feedback on DASH as a program. We are working to implement the suggestions of these student leaders and grow the Youth Leadership Team.

Right: Community School Coordinator Saraiya welcomes a student to DASH

A staff member holding a binder talks to a student in a library

Through Each School

When DCSC expanded to Lincoln Park Middle School in 2016 and Denfeld High School in 2017, one of our goals was to create a continuous k-12 community school experience for students in the district. 2022 Denfeld graduate Emma exemplifies this experience. We've asked her how our programs impacted her across all three schools.


"[DCSC programming] showed me what it was to be to be a kid in the time of my life and have fun."

Lincoln Park

"It helped me grow as a person and with school work."


Two students float on the water in blue inner tubes

Tubing at Summer DASH (Denfeld After School Happenings)

" and some friends would stay after and just play board games and have snacks with the staff."

Have these programs helped you stay engaged in school?

"I have made relationships with people that were helpful and helped me reach my needs with school and just a fun thing to do after school and during school."

bottom of page