Riva Garcia, Full Spectrum Street Outreach Youth Worker, has been living the philosophy of unschooling and Democratic education since 2006, when they dropped out of public high school during their sophomore year and by a wonderful twist of fate found Second Foundation School shortly after. As a queer, neurodivergent and indigenous youth Riva had struggled in public school their whole life and had almost given up on education completely until attending SFS and seeing that learning didn’t always have to be coercive, negative and even abusive. Being allowed to follow their interests and expand their natural talents gave Riva a sense of self and confidence that they had rarely experienced before and the knowledge they gained about what it means to be a part of a community, to grow and support each other, to honor everyone’s contributions despite age, experience or differences in ability has done more for them than anything learned in public school institutions. The encouragement and support that Riva received from staff, community members and other students helped sustain Riva through many personal struggles such as poverty and homelessness.
It is for all these reasons that Riva has remained an active member of the community, helping found Gaia Democratic School in 2013 and now bringing the values of Democratic education and communities to homeless youth services with Gaia’s Full Spectrum outreach program. Riva has also worked in Youth outreach at Ain Dah Yung Center and the Streetworks Collaborative and is currently a member of the culinary team at the Indigenous Food Lab.
Are you a youth in need or maybe you just have a question? Contact us!
Knahni Townsend, Youth Worker612-385-8409
Riva Garcia, Youth Worker
Gaia Democratic school
Knahni Townsend, Youth Worker
Knahni graduated from Gaia in 2018 and has worked as an outreach worker for Streetworks Collaborative. Knahni is also the J-Fashion class coordinator and a multi-talented artist.
FULL SPECTRUM STREET OUTREACH for YOUTH
We are here to help BIPOC/LGBTQIA+ youth & parenting youth (up to age 25) experiencing houselessness with resources/referrals, supplies, & support with housing & systems navigation.
Knahni Townsend, Youth Worker 612-385-8409
Riva Garcia, Youth Worker 612-385-8994
We also offer activities & groups for youth focused on building community & long-term stability through art, music, and discussion groups.
If you are a youth experiencing homelessness please visit YSNMN.org and call the YMCA YOUTH RESOURCE LINE at
Full Spectrum History and Mission and More!
Gaia has always been active in our communities.
In the 2013-14 school year, we participated in gardening for local food shelves. We also did outreach at Youth Pride, Mayday, and other events.
In 2016 we began working with the “5 to 10 on Hennepin” and “Made Here” Projects to bring art, education and other needed services to community events. Partners and locations included Yo Mama, Hennepin Ave., Harbor Lights, StreetWorks, YouthLink's Kulture Klub, MadDads and more. We continued this work until events were put on hold due to the pandemic.
Full Spectrum Forums started in 2019 as a series of educational outreach events that focused on building stronger relationships, not just within Gaia, but with the broader community at large. We worked to build strength and skills in our community through sharing food, resources, stories, trainings and events. We hosted workshops on a wide variety of topics and included cultural support and sharing stories between ourselves and neighbors.
When COVID-19 made meeting in person no longer an option, Full Spectrum transitioned to online events and food and supply drop offs for community members in need. Now, nearly three years into the pandemic and after the crisis of police perpetrated violence in the Twin Cities resulted in the Minneapolis Uprising, it is more obvious than ever that the disparities faced by marginalized must be fully addressed and our relationships must keep growing stronger.
Full Spectrum is currently focused on expanding our outreach program to mobile street outreach for youth under 25 so that we can be out in the community providing services that address these disparities and strengthening our community bonds.
Full Spectrum was formed after identifying and being driven to fill in service area gaps with strong advocacy rooted in professional and personally lived experiences. Full Spectrum received its name because of the interconnectedness between all areas of lives that are impacted by experiencing homelessness. Youth who fall under the diverse spectrum of marginalized identities (racial, gender, sexual orientation, neurodivergence and disabilities) are at a higher risk of homelessness and systematic discrimination. Full Spectrum focuses on the reality that systemic oppression and genocide exists in many forms today that impact youth experiencing homeslessness. We also work with the knowledge that issues our clients face like homelessness, substance dependency, poverty and health disparities are intimately related to decades of generational poverty and trauma.
Full Spectrum is a client centered and trauma informed street outreach program that focuses on reducing harm through offering responsive and affirming services. Full Spectrum offers services such as direct care through street outreach where we meet clients to supply basic needs and survival items while offering systemic navigation support, but also direct referrals to other youth agencies that support youth experiencing homelessness or instability. We also offer appointments to be scheduled at our office space to work on any paperwork, get supplies in person, or just hangout! We rely on our participants' input in order to run our program the way they need it to be run.
Full Spectrum is a mobile youth street outreach program that has a office/classroom space at Gaia Democratic School.
Due to the pandemic, office hours are by appointment only. To schedule with us, a client may reach out to us via email or phone.
Our current schedule is generally Wednesday and Friday 10:00am-6:00pm.
Full Spectrum is primarily funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
To support our program, please designate "Full Spectrum" when you donate to Gaia. Donations can be made via paypal to: GaiaDemocratic@gmail.com or Venmo to: GaiaSchool.
Follow Gaia on IG and Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/GaiaDemocratic/
Looking to donate new items in person that can be found on our Amazon wish list too? Please reach out to us via email or our work numbers to arrange a donation drop off appointment. Due to the pandemic, we are also trying to keep others safe by offering scheduled appointments only.
Angela Richards, Full Spectrum Street Outreach Founder is an Indigenous person from Pine Ridge South Dakota who walks with lived/shared experiences as their clients and focuses on youth empowerment but also harm reduction approaches/strategies for the populations they serve. Minnesota has become a home away from home for Angela and they enjoy creating art and having critical conversations about colonialism and on-going healing ways to survive capitalism.