Founder and Director of Minneapolis Recreation Development, Inc. (MRD), Allan E. Law, has dedicated his entire adult life to teaching, mentoring and serving inner city Minneapolis youth. While working as a full-time 40 hour per week Minneapolis Public School teacher for 32 years (1967-1999), Law personally volunteered (after work) more than 65 hours per week in the afternoons, evenings, weekends and all summer long to provide inner city, below poverty level Minneapolis youth (ages 7-17) with free quality, recreational, educational and personal development activities. These youth would not otherwise be able to afford to participate in these activities.
From the time of his graduation from college in 1967 until 1996 he has provided after school and summertime activities for an average of 300 youth per month and entirely paid for these activities himself out of his school teacher salary. The cumulative total of Law’s after tax, personal donation to date is more than $450,000. For 29 years he funded this program entirely by himself. In 1996, it became necessary to register the MRD program as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with no salaries.
Law started the MRD program in September of 1967 to provide inner city youth with free of charge after school, weekend and summertime recreational activities. It has since evolved into just as much of a personal development, educational activity program for hundreds and thousands of youth as well as a recreation program. “Youth Builder” activities provide at risk youth with alternative to bad behavior. No other program in the area reaches out by actually going into the neighborhood to pick up youth at their front door and then deliver them home after each activity. No other program provides a full free meal (usually at McDonalds) during each activity.
Approximately 30% of the youth that Law’s program serves are stranded in emergency homeless shelters. 100% of the youth that participate in MRD “Youth Builder” activities fall below the level of poverty (qualify for free lunch at their respective schools) and 99% have no father figure in their home. Because he truly believe that a higher power put him on this earth to serve others, Law has been passionately and unselfishly working for more than 33 years to instill hope in inner city, at risk, youth and to let them know that at least one adult male cares about them and is always available to talk to them.
Since his retirement from teaching in July 1999 to date, Law’s life has been consumed with helping children, the poor and disadvantaged. He has been volunteering more than 100 hours per week (16 to 18 hour days) to build character and competence in hundreds of inner city Minneapolis youth. He also gives them direction, purpose and hope by providing them with wholesome after school, weekend and summertime activities as an alternative to crime, gangs, drugs, underage sex or idleness. Kids who otherwise might never see professional sports or take a boat ride, pile into his van – emblazoned with “Love One Another” – for trips all over town. Activities include roller skating (every Friday night for 33 years), Camp Snoopy Amusement Park at the Mall of America, Minnesota Zoo, Minneapolis Auto Show, and Minnesota Twins home games, among others. Tutoring and mentoring on topics such as staying in school, crime prevention, higher education, cultural diversity, and family and peer conflict resolution is also provided.
Late at night he personally feeds homeless persons in emergency shelters and on the street. The conservative, cumulative number of hours that he has volunteered over the last 12 months is more than 5,200. His total volunteer hours from 1967 to date, serving exclusively inner city youth and their families, is more than 125,000 hours. Dozens of former participants are currently involved in volunteer work. Law, who has never sought or wanted recognition for his tireless service, received the Minneapolis Award from Mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton for his lifetime and recent, outstanding volunteer service to Minneapolis. He brought 29 excited youth with him to the awards banquet.