An Asset Champion is someone who helps build developmental assets in young people in the Faribault Area. Faribault Youth Investment, known as FYI, is the sponsor of this recognition program and welcomes nominations from any community member, youth or adult. In late December, Shirley Burkhartzmeyer was recognized as an Asset Champion after many years of dedicated support to Faribault Youth.

According to the nomination received by the FYI Board, Burkhartzmeyer has been a long-time piano teacher in the community. Giving lessons from her home, she regularly works with 10 to 15 students at a time. Her students range in age from first grade children up through youth in middle school. Each lesson lasts 30 minutes, but she encourages their skill and progress by recommending daily practice.

Ellen Haefner, who nominated Burkhartzmeyer, wrote “Shirley motivates her students by rewarding those who practice well during the week and ‘pass’ their assigned songs. Students receive points for their work and once they have accumulated enough points, they receive a certificate that allows them to purchase music for their collection.” Burkhartzmeyer also inspires a spirit of service by arranging mini-recitals at local senior resident facilities where her students can share their talents with others.

But, Shirley Burkhartzmeyer does more than teach music and reward hard work. As Haefner says, “She provides support as a caring adult outside the students’ families by getting to know each of them as individuals and showing genuine interest in their other activities. Shirley is warm, encouraging and celebrates each student’s effort accordingly. Students feel valued as people, not just budding musicians.”

The Faribault Youth Investment Board accepts nominations for Asset Champions at any time. Community members are encouraged to recommend Champions using the simple form on the organization’s website at

Faribault Youth Investment (FYI) is dedicated to the success of young people in the Faribault area and is anchored by the 40 Developmental Assets, a framework which outlines the building blocks of healthy youth development. Faribault Youth Investment aims to increase the community’s capacity for providing a supportive “growing up” environment for all youth by convening multiple sectors in collaborative efforts.