Jul 20, 2018

Hear MY Voice!

Hear MY Voice - Greetings From Florida!
Hear MY Voice - Greetings From Florida!

The Youth Connection (TYC) would like to thank all of our donors who have helped us connect our youth to a brighter future this year! Our youth are having a fantastic summer thanks to your support – we have over 250 kids currently working at PAID summer internships and our substance abuse prevention and exercise and nutrition programs have served close to 1,000 youth this year!

But, with all of the success we have experienced with our youth programming this summer, one special group of young ladies have gone above and beyond our expectations and we couldn’t be more proud of them.

Mya, DeAna, Sandria, and Randi have been very active members of our Drug Free Community Youth Coalition, the Love Detroit Prevention Coalition, this year. As a part of their regular meetings, these young women wanted to do something about the HUGE number of marijuana caregiver dispensaries they see in their neighborhood. With names like Starbuds, Buds ‘R Us, and Motor City Kush, these businesses promoting and selling medical marijuana are everywhere in our community and they wanted to do something about it.

These young ladies talked with youth at their schools and helped distribute surveys that told us:

  • Youth see marijuana as easily accessible
  • It is being sold and shared at school
  • Youth have reported that they buy marijuana from the dispensaries and sell it on the streets
  • Our youth see youth smoking in and around school

After hearing feedback from their peers, the youth set up a meeting with our City Councilman, Scott Benson, who heard their concerns about these “pot shops” all over our community. He asked them to make a presentation to the Health and Safety Committee of the Detroit City Council. At the presentation, our youth expressed their concerns about the number of dispensaries they see every day and the harmful effects it is having on their peers. Finally, they asked the committee what they were going to do about it!

The Health and Safety Committee thanked us for our presentation and referred us to Councilman James Tate, who is spearheading the marijuana issue for the full council. Councilman Tate’s office then sent us a list of approved dispensaries and we found that of the close to 200 marijuana caregiver dispensaries, only 56 were legally approved to operate!

To find out which ones were operating in our community, our youth voted to do an environmental scan of the 3 zip codes in our neighborhoods. TYC staff and youth drove around the entire area and wrote down the names and addresses of each marijuana caregiver dispensary they saw. We found 31 dispensaries in our neighborhood of only 22 square miles!

Upon comparing our results with the list from Councilman Tate, we discovered that only 13 of the 31 dispensaries were legally approved to operate! We forwarded our results to the Councilman’s office and they forwarded our findings to The City of Detroit Property Maintenance Director and to The Law Department. They promised to let us know what actions would be taken!

Also as a result of this project, an opportunity also arose to attend the CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) Mid-Year Training to present our project and what we were doing to stop youth marijuana use in our community. Our young ladies submitted an abstract and they were awarded the chance to present their project to an international audience at the training in Orlando, Florida! Over 2,000 people were at the training and over 100 attendees attended the session with our youth presenting! Responses to the presentation were overwhelmingly positive with many in attendance asking to meet with our youth to discuss their project in more detail.

You can be assured that these 4 young ladies will continue to press City Council for action against unlicensed marijuana dispensaries in our community and will continue to work to educate their peers on the benefits of being drug-free. They’ve already collected dozens of anti-drug six word stories from their peers that will be on display at the Detroit Health Department and they’re continuing to work with our local police precinct on youth substance abuse awareness.

We are very proud of the work that our youth are doing in our programs this summer and can’t thank donors like you enough for your support! Thank you for allowing our youth to have opportunities to have their voice be heard and for the chance to present at international conferences! Your support means the world to our youth and to our agency!

Hear OUR Voices!
Hear OUR Voices!
City Council Presentation.
City Council Presentation.
OUR Impact On Social Media
OUR Impact On Social Media
Presenting at CADCA.
Presenting at CADCA.
Don't Decide For Us Without Us.
Don't Decide For Us Without Us.

Links:

Apr 24, 2018

The REAL World - The Youth Connection's Little Bike Shop!

The Youth Connection's Little Bike Shop!
The Youth Connection's Little Bike Shop!

Start a Business? No. But I can recite the Pythagorean Theorem for you…

We would like to thank all of our GlobalGiving donors for your support since we launched our campaign in 2015! Your donations have made a huge difference in the lives of our youth and their families. Below is the latest project of how The Youth Connection Career Academies (TYCCA) is teaching our kids applicable, real-world skills for tomorrow.

How many times have you thought to yourself, “I’m really glad I learned the Pythagorean Theorem in school rather than how to file taxes or start a business?” With our latest youth development program, held in partnership with Junior Achievement, GM Cares, and Aberdeen Bikes of Chelsea, MI, TYCCA youth are learning practical, real-world skills that will help them achieve their dreams.

In January of this year, TYCCA decided to launch a youth entrepreneurship program utilizing the Junior Achievement (JA) Company Program curriculum. Through this program, youth, guided by our outstanding staff and real-world businessmen and women, tackle the challenge of entrepreneurship from A to Z. The JA curriculum introduced our students to the key elements involved in organizing and operating a business, while empowering them to solve problems and address local needs through the entrepreneurial spirit.

In the initial phase of the program, our youth selected a business by looking at SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of ideas the group came up with. Through this process, they decided to launch The Youth Connection Little Bike Shop, a new business to repair bikes for people in our community and sell gently-used bikes to those who need them.

Once our youth decided on a business, they followed the Junior Achievement (JA) curriculum and set up management teams, set-up and sold shares to investors to earn capitol, and developed key partnerships with a currently operating bike shop to learn the ins and outs of running a bike shop. TYC Board of Director member Tiffanie J. Lewis also helped to recruit volunteers from General Motors to serve as mentors to the youth working on the project.

As of this month, our youth our getting ready to launch their business and have learned how to market and advertise the business as well as stock their bike shop with used bikes they can sell. The volunteers from Aberdeen bikes have also taught our youth the basics of bike repair and helped them decide what repair parts they are going to have in stock versus what they will need to order on a case by case basis.

“We think it is vitally important in this new economy that youth learn entrepreneurial skills,” said Grenaé Dudley, President and CEO of The Youth Connection. “It is these real-world, concrete life skills that make our programs (and those who support our programs) so incredible!”

“What I like about this program is that it gives us a chance to do something real,” said one of the youth participating in the project. “It’s not about reading how to start a small business – it is actually planning and launching a business that we think is needed in our neighborhood.”

Thank you so much for your past support of The Youth Connection! It is because of donors like you that we are able to give our youth the best programming in Detroit!

GM Cares Volunteers Working with TYCCA Youth.
GM Cares Volunteers Working with TYCCA Youth.
Fixed Up, Spruced Up, Ready to ride!
Fixed Up, Spruced Up, Ready to ride!
Creating The Plan.
Creating The Plan.
Working with Junior Achievement on our Flow Chart.
Working with Junior Achievement on our Flow Chart.
It's All Youth Led!
It's All Youth Led!

Links:

Jan 24, 2018

What A Difference YOU Have Made!

What A Difference YOU Have Made!
What A Difference YOU Have Made!

A hundred years from now…it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child….. This saying is hanging on the wall in our office and rings true when we reflect on how our GlobalGiving family has helped us throughout this year. What a tremendous difference you have made in the lives of the youth we serve. Four youth in particular have brought us to tears as we share their stories.

Sydney- Chanel participated in our Career Academies and has spent four summers as a Park Guide with our Ticket to Float program. She is a level three certified kayaker and was hired each year by the River Raisin National Battlefield Park. Sidney graduated from Spring Arbor University this summer with her Bachelor of Science Degree. Can you imagine the pride we had when she sent us invitations to attend her graduation and goodbye dinner? She was leaving home to attend graduate school in the West Indies on St. Kitts pursuing a doctorate in Veterinary Science! This is one of our youth challenging the odds and determined to make a difference. She was encouraged to get involved with opportunities she never would have experienced if it had not been for The Youth Connection. Kayaking is not high on the list of how urban youth spend their summer vacations. When we asked Sidney about her experience with TYC she stated, “I am so proud to be affiliated with The Youth Connection. My friends cannot believe it when I tell them I spend my summers teaching kids how to kayak and I work for the National Park Service. I am so grateful that Ms. Hill encouraged me to get involved.” Not only did Sydney turn out to be an excellent Park Guide, she was instrumental in several water rescues every summer. Support from GlobalGiving helps us provide transportation to the River Raisin National Park for our TYC guides. The park is about an hour away from our home base. What a difference you have made.

As we were busy getting ready for our holiday Santa store and bike give away in December, Officer Hill one of our partners from the Detroit Police Department surprised us with a special visitor. Busy getting things together, our mouths dropped when Officer Hill showed up with James, another one of our youth who participated for several years in The Youth Connection Career Academies. Each summer for three years he was placed with the Detroit Police Department. “If I didn’t have something to do in the summers that was positive I cannot tell you where I would have ended up. Officer Hill and TYC have been there for me.” When he walked through the door in his Navy fatigues the office was buzzing. He was being deployed overseas and wanted to stop in and say hello and thank you. Support from GlobalGiving allows us to provide necessary resources that our grants won’t cover for our summer youth employment program. Your support also helps us reach out to partners who work with us to connect our youth to brighter futures.

In a pass report we shared a story about Larontae. Sentenced to community service by the court for stealing, he found us and asked if we would help him. He completed all of his community service hours and we enrolled him in our summer youth employment program. We went to court with him, submitted reports to the probation officer and strongly encouraged him to participate in our summer youth employment program. His dream was to receive his high school diploma but knew the situation at home would not allow him to do so. Gang members were calling him and trying to re-engage him. He shared with us that he had to get out of the environment he was in or he would not make it. We reached out to his brother who lived in Maine and was told if we could get Larontae to him, he would help him. We put him on a Greyhound bus to Maine with a care package including luggage, food, winter cloths and money. We threw a going away celebration for him and staff stayed with him until the Greyhound bus pulled away from the station.

Larontae stayed in touch and called us when he graduated from high school. He called again when he headed to Massachusetts to join Job Corp. The rest of the story….. In November we received a call from Larontae sharing that he had completed Job Corp and was returning to Maine having been accepted into an apprentice program for electrical engineering! The difference you made? Nothing in any of our grants would allow us to buy the bus ticket, luggage, cloths and food to send this young man out of state but Global Giving helped us to help him.

Our GlobalGiving funds have supported one of our youth who fell short of being able to pay for his college tuition even though he was working full time and maintaining over a 3.2 GPA. When threatened to be dropped from his classes he called TYC. We were able to create a plan for him and provide support to make sure he was not dropped from his classes. We will continue to work with him so that he has what he needs to succeed.

The Difference YOU make? It is quite simple… YOU give us the ability to answer when our kids call.  

Thanks to all of our GlobalGiving friends and family. To each and every one of our contributors and supporters thank you for helping us make a difference. Please continue to support The Youth Connection through our GlobalGiving Connecting Youth to Brighter Futures Project.

My Friends Can't Believe I Kayak Every Summer.
My Friends Can't Believe I Kayak Every Summer.
Thank You Youth Connection! You Make A Difference!
Thank You Youth Connection! You Make A Difference!
Next Stop Electrical Engineering.
Next Stop Electrical Engineering.
All In A Days Work.
All In A Days Work.
Thank You GlobalGiving!
Thank You GlobalGiving!

Links:

 
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