Martha Schulz is the fifth of six Faribault High School distinguished Alumni Award winners to be featured in the Daily News.
Martha Schultz has always been someone who sees the world through others’ eyes. Even in high school, her focus was on the happiness and success of others. It came naturally to her. To those whom she has helped, it has been a gift.
Schultz started her post-high education at the University of Minnesota, majoring in nutrition science. After graduation, she served as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow creating tutoring programs for at-risk Latino youth in the Northfield area. It was after this experience that her path toward youth advocacy and community-building became clear. Due to her interest in grassroots organizing and community advocacy, she obtained master’s degrees in both non-profit management and English as a Second Language education.
After completing her time with AmeriCorps, Schultz worked for Faribault Community Education for seven years, writing grants and creating after-school programs for at-risk and immigrant youth. She also created a college access program and led hundreds of youth through community service projects. She coordinated a district-wide grant while performing direct-service duties and mobilized 1200 youth in volunteer efforts each year. She strived to ensure all students had an advocate in the schools, and her office was often a “safe space” for Somali youth and students who felt isolated.
Schultz is particularly passionate about working with the Faribault Somali community. During her tenure with Faribault Community Education, she attempted to ensure that immigrant youth were welcomed and supported. Schultz wrote, “I have immensely enjoyed working with the Somali and immigrant community and am thrilled with the changes Faribault is experiencing.”
Schultz has spearheaded two significant events in the Faribault community. One is the Supply our Children initiative where she is the lead organizer. This event provides 1,200 backpacks and school supplies to in-need Faribault students every year. She spearheads the $25,000 fundraising effort each year, orders supplies, and organizes the distribution for this 100 percent volunteer event. This program allows children a positive and well-prepared start to each school year.
Schultz also co-organizes the Women and Girls’ Swim Nights. This monthly event allows women and girls in the community the opportunity to swim in a safe and comfortable environment. This activity has enjoyed ten years of success.
Some of Schultz’s other accomplishments are being named a Community Unsung Hero (2010 and 2012), Project Prevention Champion (2011), and the Carleton College President’s Community Partner Award (2011). She was also interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio in 2012 regarding the college access program she initiated.
Those who know Schultz would say that she truly serves the community and has an unyielding commitment to diversity, volunteerism, and empowering youth. She spends her time ensuring others’ needs are met, whether that is helping fill out a job application or planning a graduation party for those who can’t afford one. She is someone who is grounded, warm, and dedicated to the welfare of others.