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Akua Kennedy hired as MYAS Community Engagement Director & Program Manager in January

During a tournament in 2021, Dawson Blanck was alerted of a problem and was headed to the site to handle the situation.

But by the time he arrived, the problem had already been solved. 

Akua Kennedy, the MYAS Tournament Director, endeared himself to others with his proactive and positive approach.

"He just has an aura about him," Blanck says.

They talked about Kennedy's career, and Blanck was struck by Kennedy's passion for teaching and community. The timing couldn't have been better: MYAS was looking for someone to help deepen and widen its relationships.

On January 3, 2022, Akua Kennedy was officially hired as MYAS Program Manager and Community Engagement Director, and he hit the ground running.

But that's always been his nature. 

A native of South Minneapolis, Kennedy was raised by his mother, and his "safe haven" was the Boys & Girls Club. But as he neared high school age, Akua's mother grew concerned about some of his friends and decisions, and she enrolled him at North Community High School, where two of Akua's uncles went to school. 

Akua didn't like the decision but came to appreciate his mother's thinking.

Akua was interested in football, and tagged along with one of his uncles to captain's practices for the Polars football team. He saw an opportunity, and he poured himself into the workouts. He came in as a receiver, but he saw an opportunity to become the JV quarterback. 

After graduating from North Community High School, Akua started college at Mississippi Valley State University but returned home and attended several local schools. 

He got his first break working at the Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities and eventually earned promotion to become Teen Director. Fostering strong relationships with young people, Akua headed to Minneapolis Public Schools as a Behavior Dean and Athletic Director until joining MYAS.

"I'm a natural born relationship builder when it comes to kids, especially kids in the inner city," Akua says, "because I am them."

The ability to connect with others has already been apparent, Blanck says.

"As an organization, we want to do more and connect with more people in all areas," Blanck says. "I'm excited that Akua joined the MYAS family in January."

Akua Kennedy, Program Manager and Community Engagement Director for Minnesota Youth Athletic Services
Akua Kennedy, Program Manager and Community Engagement Director for Minnesota Youth Athletic Services
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