Feb 28, 2017

Talk Data to Me!

20 Years Connecting Youth To Brighter Futures!
20 Years Connecting Youth To Brighter Futures!

We would like to thank all of our GlobalGiving donors for your support in 2016! What a blessing you have been to our kids and their families. We appreciate your donations and wanted to let you know how our programming has impacted the youth we served in the past year.

There are a lot of youth programs that talk about how many kids they serve and how many hours of work they do, but here at The Youth Connection we approach our youth development programs differently – with a keen eye on outcome data. It is one thing to say you served 116 kids this summer, but quite another to say that of the 116 kids in your summer job program, 93% completed an Employability Skills Training and 100% of those kids walked away with resume and cover-letter writing skills and at least three job interviews under their belts.

In addition, our I2D2 nutrition and exercise program has seen fantastic results in 2016 while educating our youth on the importance of proper nutrition and exercise. This program has been evaluated by Wayne State University School of Medicine Michigan Public Health Department and shown to produce statistically significant outcomes that make our children healthier.

Other Returns on Your Investment:

  • The youth who have graduated from The Youth Connection Career Academies (TYCCA) have been offered over $2 million dollars in college scholarships.
  • Over the last five years TYCCA youth have been accepted to over 41 colleges and Universities.
  • Over 80% of the youth who participate in our Academic Development program improve their reading scores one to two grade levels.
  • One hundred percent (100%) of youth expected to graduate high school did so on time and 100% of them enrolled in post-secondary or advanced training programs, the armed forces or entered employment.
  • One hundred percent (100%) of youth participants that started job certification training completed the training and earned the credential with at least 80% or higher on their certification exams.
  • Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the youth found the career development and work readiness training and experience they received valuable.
  • Ninety-eight percent (98%) of the parents felt the program helped their children develop life skills (i.e. financial literacy, etc.), work readiness/employability skills (i.e. resume writing, interviewing skills, etc.), and college preparation.

But the ultimate measures of our success as an agency are the kids who put in the work all through high school and college to forge a better future. We are extremely pleased to report that one of our youth who started our program during her sophomore year of high school is now on the verge of graduating Summa Cum Laude from Alcorn State University with a degree in Criminal Justice this May!

Margaret Scott joined The Youth Connection Career Academies (TYCCA) in 2011 and graduated high school in 2013 with a 4.0 GPA. Our program helped to shape her outlook on careers and college and, according to Margaret, was invaluable to her current success.

“I love everybody at The Youth Connection…I really do. You helped me get to where I am today. I’m going to graduate with my degree in Criminal Justice in May and then I’m coming home to work for the Detroit Police Department. While I am working, I will be attending Wayne State University law school on a full scholarship where I hope to graduate in three years with my law degree.”

“My internship with the 3rd Circuit Court last summer really showed me how all of the various courts (family court, civil court, etc.) operate and the mentorship I received from (TYC Board Member) Judge Ewell was invaluable in sharpening my career focus and learning how lawyers and judges in a real courtroom operate. I really can’t say enough how much I appreciate everything that The Youth Connection has taught me.”

We are very proud of Margaret and all of the hundreds of graduating students that our program has helped in the past few years. We would also like to thank our donors who have helped make Margaret’s dream a reality.

Thank you again for helping us connect our youth to brighter futures!  Your past support has meant the world to our students, and your future support will ensure that we help a lot more young men and women like Margaret in the years to come.

I'm Graduating With My Degree In Criminal Justice!
I'm Graduating With My Degree In Criminal Justice!
Our Nutrition and Exercise Program, I2D2.
Our Nutrition and Exercise Program, I2D2.
Our Substance Abuse Prevention Program.
Our Substance Abuse Prevention Program.
Mock Interview Sessions in the Career Academies.
Mock Interview Sessions in the Career Academies.

Links:

Dec 2, 2016

To The Dreamer Comes The Dream...

To The Dreamer Comes The Dream...
To The Dreamer Comes The Dream...

Many of our youth come to us without a dream of who they could potentially become. Many of us have been coached and had role models that constantly provided a vision of who we could be. Some of our youth have not had role models to emulate or have been told they would never amount to anything. They even think that life has nothing good to offer. The Youth Connection believes that every child should have a dream and the unalterable goal of becoming the best that they can be. We expose them to the possibilities, introduce them to new experiences, create opportunities, cajole, push, pull, nag, threaten, dare, believe, and provide them with role models who tell them that failure is not final and they can achieve anything they desire.

“This program has changed my ideas about the future; it makes me want to be the best I can be.”

- William S., Jr.

“This program has changed my idea of what future career I want!”

- Darius B.

Thanks to all of our Global Giving friends and family who continue to support our efforts and believe, as we do, that every kid should be able to fulfil his/her dream. Your contributions and thoughtfulness have made a difference in the lives of the youth that we touch. You help us overcome some of the challenges that many non-profits face when resources are restricted and limited. But it all pays off and the best barometer of our success is how the youth and families we touch let us know.

“Thank you for giving my son the opportunity to work. Through his summer worksite, he became a certified lifeguard and has now been hired by the YMCA as a lifeguard!”  

- Ms. Cassandra Burton, The Youth Connection Career Academies Parent.  

Ms. Louise Johnson, another TYCCA parent shared:

 “I really appreciate The Youth Connection, they have been a big inspiration to my son’s life. They have motivated my son in so many ways!”   

The results of that motivation you ask? On-time graduation from high school and a full ride scholarship to Madonna University! This from a kid who did not even have the dream of going to college!

As we end this year we proudly share with you that 100% of graduating seniors in our Career Academies enrolled into college. One hundred (100%) of youth previously enrolled in college returned to college after their summer internship with us!

 

We know for many of our youth dreams do come true. Samad, at 14 years of age, walked into the Detroit Fire Department Regional Training Center and declared that he wanted to be a Detroit firefighter and asked what he needed to do to become one. He was told to enroll in The Youth Connection Career Academies and we would help him reach his dream. Through our partnership with the Detroit Fire Department, Samad enrolled in our year-round career academies program and spent every summer as an intern with the Detroit Fire Department (DFD). Though our partnership with DFD and the City of Detroit Homeland Security, he received the TEEN Community Emergency Response Team training, obtained his firefighter 1 and 2 certifications, and participated in several mock disasters. Each summer he was given increasing responsibilities and served as a real role model for other youth participating in the internship.

He graduated from high school and enrolled in college majoring in (you guessed it…) Fire Suppression!  At age 18 he applied for the Detroit Fire Department but could not pass the physical agility test. Disappointed, but undaunted, he continued to pursue his passion and stayed connected with The Youth Connection. He was eventually hired part-time as a fire fighter for a neighboring city. But, he still wanted to be a Detroit Fire Fighter! He did not let his dream be deferred. We continue to partner with DFD and at our annual Chiefs Cooking for Kids fund raiser on October 6,2016, it was announced that Samad would be inducted into the incoming 2016 firefighters class and become a City of Detroit Fire Fighter! I have to admit it, all the staff cried! Samad is one of ours whose dream has come true. To be part of that, to share his joys and disappointments, to encourage him and help open doors for him, to believe in him and assure him that failure was not final is what we do.

The donations from Global Giving contribute to our ability to make dreams come true. It is amazing to see the emails notifying us that we have received a donation. What is more amazing are the donations from other states and countries from people we do not personally know but who believe in what we do and are helping us connect our youth to brighter futures. From the bottom of our hearts and on behalf of our kids… Thank you! Please continue to support our Global Giving project to make more dreams a reality!

The Detroit Fire Fighter.
The Detroit Fire Fighter.
I Have A Full Scholarship To Madonna University!
I Have A Full Scholarship To Madonna University!
Dreams Do Come True.
Dreams Do Come True.
I'm A Full-Time Employee At Detroit Marriott Hotel
I'm A Full-Time Employee At Detroit Marriott Hotel
Thanks TYC!
Thanks TYC!

Links:

Sep 7, 2016

Because Of You... We Get To Soar!

Because Of You... We Get To Soar!
Because Of You... We Get To Soar!

The Youth Connection (TYC) would like to thank all of our supporters who contributed to our Global Giving campaign. Your contributions and support are indeed helping us connect our youth to brighter futures. The experiences they shared this summer were without a doubt eye opening and provided tremendous learning opportunities. Over ninety youth participated in The Youth Connection Career Academies (TYCCA) Summer Youth Employment Program. They learned job-readiness skills, created their resumes, cover and thank you letters clearly learning what is expected of them at their place of employment. They participated in mock interviews and received industry standard certifications. Based on their career goals our youth were placed with over 25 local partners for six weeks in paid summer internships. Your contributions supported youth who needed professional interview attire, and provided food and basic needs for several youth whom we discovered were homeless and we assisted in securing safe housing. Due to the training and support youth received from The Youth Connection, 11 of our youth were hired directly by their placements at the end of their internships.

YOU helped us provide needed supplies for 35 youth to go to Wilderness State Park where they not only experienced camping for the first time but built ADA accessible trails, constructed guard rails, performed trail maintenance and removed invasive species. Yes, they did have fun as well! They saw the impressive Mackinac Bridge for the first time, rode a ferry to Mackinac Island, and stood in wonder and swam in Lake Michigan. The support we received from Global Giving also allowed us to give away over 700 brand new books at our 15th Annual After-School/Back-to-School/Off to College Fair.

You can hear how your support has impacted the youth and parents who participate in our programs by listening to what they say. At the closing ceremony for our summer youth employment program our parents and our youth expressed their gratitude and heartfelt thanks to everyone who offered their support. Meet Mrs. Gardner, a parent of youth in our program: “I cannot tell you how excited I am about this program. My oldest daughter Kelsiana was in the program for two years and because of The Youth Connection Career Academies she is now working full-time at the Marriott Hotel which was her summer internship and is a full-time student at Wayne State University! This year I have two of my seven children enrolled with The Youth Connection,” said Mrs. Gardner her voice choking with emotion. “I love the way they teach them responsibility and accountability. They are experiencing a lot of things I would never have been able to take my kids to. They never would have gone camping or participated in many of the outdoor activities they were exposed to. My kids are shy and the staff helped them come out of their shell and stand up for themselves. NO other program I know that works with kids the way The Youth Connection does. I really trust them because this was the first time I have allowed my kids to be away from home without me and I thank God for this place because it has helped prepare them for life! I really want to thank Ms. Nicole, Mrs. LaTonya, Ms. Littles and Dr. Dudley and everyone that supports this agency to do the things they do. Trust me, I’d be their spokesperson anytime they ask me to!”

 

Jalen, one of our youth in TYCCA, shared, “I am currently enrolled as an intern with The Youth Connection. TYC placed me at the Habitat for Humanity Detroit ReStore this summer. Our job was basically moving furniture, collecting dropped off donations and working in the sun. Habitat for Humanity taught me many lessons and the major one I learned was patience. Customers took a lot of time and I mean a lot of time making up their minds and eventually would say ‘no, I’m good’ which is not satisfying, but over time I got used to it. I also got better with my time management. My manager was about 4’11’ but, I looked up to him for his knowledge and what he taught me. We occupied our time with tasks to keep everything in order and presentable for customers. I had a good time at Habitat for Humanity this summer. Thank you Youth Connection for this opportunity!”

Remember Mariah, from our last report? The one who said she had a voice and was bigger than she thought she was? Mariah did her internship at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Adventure Center and during the ceremony it was announced as a result of her performance during the internship she was offered a position! I guess you can see why she was chosen to receive our Rising Star Award!

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 Global Giving Connecting Detroit Youth to a Brighter Future Project. Encourage your friends and families to reach out as well. Just an FYI – September 21, 2016 is a bonus day through Global Giving and your contribution has a chance of being matched, so sign in at 5:58 a.m. or 11:58 a.m. Eastern Standard Time!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To all of our supporters and those who have and those who will continue to support our efforts to connect Detroit youth to brighter futures!

Trail Maintenance at Wilderness State Park.
Trail Maintenance at Wilderness State Park.
We Built It One Log At A Time!
We Built It One Log At A Time!
I'll Be The Spokesperson For TYC Anytime!
I'll Be The Spokesperson For TYC Anytime!
Jalen, Thanks For Your Support!
Jalen, Thanks For Your Support!
Together We Can!
Together We Can!

Links:

 
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