Hamline News

Celebrating the McVay Program

The McVay Youth Partnership recently celebrated 15 years of giving back to the St. Paul community and providing leadership opportunities for Hamline students.

“This is pretty much a signature program at Hamline,” said Director of the McVay Program Jane Krentz. “It is very impactful not only for the Hamline students but for the youth in the community.”

In 2004, the McVay Youth Partnership was funded by an endowment from the McVay Family Foundation; 15 years later, the program remains vibrant. The foundation’s goals were to provide leadership opportunities to Hamline students, support urban youth, and strengthen inner-city churches-- although it is not a religious program-- by allowing them the opportunity to use their spaces to serve the youth in their community.

This year, 45 Hamline students work as interns and fellows at the program’s four sites. The students do all the McVay programming, from organizing art projects, communicating with church partners, writing site reports, leading sports games and facilitating with homework help. It puts a lot of responsibility on the students, but the rewards are worth it.

“McVay has honestly been the best part of my time here at Hamline,” said Senior Fellow Abby Sprunger. “I have gotten to build incredible relationships with the youth we work with, while strengthening my leadership skills. The students we work with are so interesting, creative, active, and intelligent. It is such an honor to get to work with them three days a week.”

Each spring, the McVay community comes together for a recognition dinner to celebrate the current staff, church partners, administrative board members, and alumni who have made the McVay partnership possible. This year’s dinner on Tuesday, April 30 was special because it commemorated 15 years of the program’s existence. A crowd of McVay alumni, current staff, church partners, and administrative board members attended.

At the dinner, one Hamline student was recognized for receiving a scholarship from the McVay Foundation. The scholarship is unique as Mary and M.D. “Pete” McVay award it to Hamline McVay staff who were once children in the McVay Youth program. This year, first-year student Lay Wah completed the McVay cycle by working as staff members many years after participating in the program as young people.

The scholarship reflects Hamline’s values of community involvement, and it reaffirms the positive impact of the McVay program. So far, 10 children who went through the McVay program eventually came to Hamline as students and became staff members at McVay.

“McVay allows students from Hamline and youth from the Saint Paul area to engage in productive, meaningful relationships that change the lives of everyone involved,” said Sprunger.

“Many students start the program when they are in fifth or sixth grade, and stick with it until they are in high school. That retention, plus the fact that the students seek staff out for support, laughs, or advice really shows how deeply valued the program is to our youth,” Sprunger continued. “The Hamline staff need the program just as much as the kids. McVay is always the best part of the day for me and many other McVay staff. We learn so much from the students, each other, and our Director, Jane Krentz.”

For 15 years, McVay has helped to create a safe environment for St. Paul youth and leadership opportunities for Hamline students. Following in the footsteps of the McVay family values, students are committed to bettering the community through relationships with its youth. Director Jane Krentz said it best, “We call ourselves a family, and it’s true.”

If you are interested in working for McVay, contact Jane Krentz at jkrentz01@hamline.edu. For more information, visit the McVay website

Written by Autumn Vagle and Emma Larson