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Organization Looks to Inspire Youth Through Aviation

Stephen Brashear – Getty Images

ST. CLOUD — The local aviation industry has seen many ups and downs in recent years, but one organization is looking to make a difference with area youth.

A meeting is being held tonight by the Youth Initiative Aviation Academy (YIMA) at the Great River Regional Library.

The non-profit organization is looking to get kids off the streets and help them improve in their academic work.

Executive director Mamie Lanford Singleton started the program 17 years ago in St. Paul. It has now expanded to five different states.

She says it provides kids an opportunity to learn new skills and get an introduction into the aviation field.

Tonight’s meeting is described as a kick-off event for the efforts in St. Cloud. YIMA  is looking to partner with local Boy Scout groups, Boys and Girls Club and other youth initiatives.

Lanford Singleton says she is disappointed with the cancelation of the St. Cloud Air Show, but says they are actively working to replace it with a smaller event sometime this summer.

The organization says there is plenty of interested kids, but what they need most is adults to help serve as mentors.

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