YOUTH VOICE, a project of the Harriet Tubman Center, is a network for young people to make community change. The current YOUTH VOICE statewide campaign is to reduce out-of-school suspensions by advocating for the zero tolerance policy to be modified and for more school resources so students have additional support as an alternative to suspensions. It’s all about youth creating change, so the 16-year old president of YOUTH VOICE has joined our dialogue.
Kids Helping Kids gives young people the opportunity to help others by packing food at Gleaners Community Food Bank that will be distributed to other children and youth in southeast Michigan. It introduces the idea of community service in a fun, rewarding way and has both hunger education and nutrition education components too.
An important aspect of Food Warriors, a program of Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, is to de-stigmatize the relationship between African Americans and agriculture, which is often viewed through a lens of oppression. As the program teaches young people about healthy food and gardening, it’s also helping to reframe agriculture as a tool of self-determination.
CultureWorks’ way-cool afterschool art and design classes are targeted toward underserved middle and high school youth from the Holland and Ottawa school districts. The 12-week courses offer students the chance to sculpt, create ceramics, design amusement parks, or work with digital photography, and kids get a lift to and from the program.
Small but mighty, Education Trust - Midwest, headquartered in Royal Oak, is pushing to close the achievement gap and raise learning levels for all Michigan students. With a focus on what’s best for students, the organization is making headway in reforming teacher policies that will boost educator effectiveness.
Excellent Schools Detroit’s School Report Card provides parents of Detroit children with an easy-to-understand annual evaluation that looks at hard numbers such as test scores, as well as softer targets such as how nurturing, creative, and safe a school is for students.
The Achievement Network is a nonprofit organization formed in 2005 that addresses two key needs expressed by educators: more support for developing instructional plans aligned to standards and a better understanding of why students struggle with specific material. ANet recently formed a Michigan Network, comprised of 15 Detroit schools, to provide coaching and tools to help educators overcome these challenges.
Bringing together low-income community members with farmers, Hoophouses for Health is about nutrition, education, opportunity, and accessibility to fresh, Michigan-grown produce. Through this program, farmers get loans to build hoophouses that allow them to extend their growing season; low-income families can then purchase the food grown through a voucher system.
Allen Neighborhood Center’s Youth Service Corps is a job and life skills training program engaging 20-30 youth, ages 11-17, with healthy food availability projects in neighborhoods on the eastside of Lansing. Youth build and install garden boxes for neighbors, plant and maintain a community garden, and make and sell healthy snacks at a local park.
Detroit Food Academy teaches leadership skills by supporting Detroit high schools in building their own community-focused food business. Using experiential learning, Detroit kids are driven to critically think, consciously consume, and actively promote community change as they wear the shoes of food entrepreneurs who have the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit at heart.
For over two decades, the Literacy Center of West Michigan has been dedicated into improving reading skills and helping those learning English as a second language. Their work positively impacts schools, families and the community by expanding opportunities and increasing the quality of life by those they serve.
Cook Library Center in Grand Rapids is a safe haven for K-7 students and their families to explore the joys of reading. With a collection of books in English and Spanish, laptops for student and adult use, homework help, and many other programs and outings, the center wants to engage the entire family and see student growth in both academics and leadership.
The Alternatives For Girls' Shelter & Transition to Independent Living Program goes far beyond a meal and a roof for homeless girls and young women in metro Detroit. In a caring and nurturing setting, the program offers counseling and educational services to help reunite girls with family or to ready them for self-reliance.
Starfish Family Services Crisis Shelter in Inkster helps to keep kids, ages 10 to 17, off the streets. Working with runaway, homeless, and throwaway youth and youth in immediate crisis – and their families – shelter staff try to reunite youth with their families when possible. Within a safe, stable, and structured environment, youth learn life skills, receive counseling, and connect with other community resources. The shelter is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Regional Alliance is dedicated to creating a better system of care for disconnected youth in southeast Michigan. Made up of four agencies -- Alternative for Girls, Common Ground, Ruth Ellis Center, and Starfish Family Services -- the alliance wants to share data, improve outcomes for homeless youth, and increase public awareness about youth homelessness and the challenges faced by disconnected youth.