Since 1995, more than 21,000 children and youth have benefited from after-school programs, leisure services and enrichment opportunities because of the Youth Development Commission. It is committed to ensuring that children and youth have access to quality programs that create positive outcomes in their lives. The Commission partners with many major organizations such as Michigan Neighborhood Partnership, Communities In Schools, Don Bosco Hall, Children’s Aid Society, Detroit Tigers, and Youth Ville just to name a few, to ensure we provide holistic services to our youth.
Fifty percent of the children in the city of Detroit live in poverty. Over the years, millions of dollars have been invested in easing the effects of poverty on children. The Youth Development Commission believes that it is important to address the root causes of poverty so that intergenerational poverty can be interrupted. Non-profit organizations are often able to identify and address those root causes, including the lack of opportunities for young people to grow and play in a safe, constructive environment.
As an intermediary organization, the Commission helps to leverage the work of other non-profits. According to Shelly Norman-Hill, Commission president, “We do this by linking many area non-profits that work in isolation by creating connections, providing training, technical assistance and resources that build the capacity of their organizations and give them the ability to deliver services at an optimum level. We understand that non-profits are often able to address many root causes and provide quality leisure activities that are critical to the holistic development of our youth.
The Commission has a 15-year track record for implementing youth employment programs. Last year, the Commission was a partner with the Summer Youth Employment Program, which provided more than 7,000 youth with work experience. The Commission’s staff has more than 50 years of expertise and experience in the area of youth development and is committed to helping set a positive path for being a part of the city-wide movement of preparing our youth to be ready by age 21.
Shirley Wright-Hailey is the executive director of Little Scholars of Detroit, a non-profit organization that provides quality after-school performing arts and enrichment programming to children 5 to 12 years of age.
“Without the Youth Development Commission, I’m not sure I’d be able to reach this level of program development,” said Wright-Hailey. “Now I am in a position to improve the programs our organization delivers and increase the impact that my activities have on the children and families we serve.”
Wright-Hailey is a member of the Commission’s Targeted Area Partnership (TAP) Program, a two-year capacity-building program that provides grants and develops partnerships with organizations in targeted areas of the city.
Detroit has an opportunity to compete with other major cities across the country in the area of youth development and the Commission stands ready to help change the odds of our youth. To learn more about the Commission or how you can serve as a Champion for Youth, please visit the Detroit Youth Commission website at www.ydcdetroit.org or call (313) 963-8916.
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