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Woodbury Youth Service Bureau location moves to Hudson Road

The Youth Service Bureau has been around for about 40 years, but the nonprofit organization is constantly growing and changing with the times.

Located off of Valley Creek Road for many years, the Woodbury location of Youth Service Bureau — there are also sites in Cottage Grove and Stillwater — moved to a new space along Hudson Road back in December 2014. It has taken a few months to get settled in, but now the staff is looking forward to the next few decades.

As an organization, Youth Service Bureau works with kids and teens, mostly ages 8-18, who are just beginning to get into trouble, Executive Director Mary Planten-Krell said. Kids who have maybe acted out, been in fights, have gotten minor citations, or maybe experimented with drugs or alcohol are often the ones who come to Youth Service Bureau.

The program started back in the 1970s, as a way to work with the kids who were getting into trouble, but who law enforcement did not think should be sent into the court system right away, Planten-Krell said. Many times, kids were sent through the court system, but their behavior tendencies were not addressed, so the kids often became repeat offenders. And sometimes, the nature of their crimes escalated into more serious crimes.

Now, area law agencies can divert those troubled kids to the Youth Service Bureau, where they — and their families — meet with certified therapists and specialists to address the behavior and determine why the behavior is happening. If the child or teen and his or her family participate successfully, the student’s offense is wiped from his or her record. At the same time, if the student reoffends, the offense stays on the child or teen’s record, Planten-Krell said.

There are similar programs out there, Planten-Krell said, and some reach out to different demographics. 

“We are the only one in Washington County that focuses exclusively on teens,” Planten-Krell said. “This is sort of a specialty for us.”

An early intervention program, Youth Service Bureau boasts a 85 to 90 percent success rate, she added. She credits the variety of programs and services offered by YSB for the organization’s success.

Youth Service Bureau offers counseling and therapy for topics from chemical health and mental health to social media and bullying. They practice diversion services, which helps teach kids new, healthy behavior skills. 

Recently, Youth Service Bureau has added Parent Education Coordinator Sarah Holmboe to its staff. Holmboe’s main role is to teach parents how to be parents of older kids, and to give them resources to work with their troubled child or teen.

“There is not a lot of help in the community for parents of older kids,” Holmboe said, “and parents can get frustrated. When kids act up a bit, it’s hard to know where to go to get that help.”

Youth Service Bureau’s clients often come from referrals, Planten-Krell said. The organization works with police departments, schools and churches, but often, it is the family of the child who reaches out for help. 

Regardless of how the families come to Youth Service Bureau, someone will be able to help. In addition to Holmboe, YSB employs Youth Division Specialist Kerry Wenger, Program Director Mike Huntley, and Youth and Family Therapist Emily Johnson.

Youth Service Bureau’s new location is at 7876 Hudson Rd., Suite 1, in Woodbury. For more information, call 651-735-9534, or visit

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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