| Feb 3, 2016
The Youth Connection - A Never Give Up Program!
By Grenae Dudley, Ph.D. | President and CEO, The Youth Connection, Inc.
Happy New Year!
The Youth Connection would like to thank all of our supporters who contributed to our GlobalGiving Campaign Project during the December Open Challenge. Wow - what a way to end the year! Because of you we met the threshold to become a permanent partner with GlobalGiving and we made Leader Status! Not only does this give us an opportunity to continue to receive support through GlobalGiving, it expands our ability to tell our story. December’s efforts were amazing. A special shout out to Emmy award-winning recording artist, Randy Scott, who did a live YouTube performance to support us. Click the link and enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVCxaslzcio.
The best way to say thank you is to hear it from one of the youth we serve. Meet Jalonnie – one of the youth we are helping connect to a brighter future. He wanted to share his story with you and thank all of the supporters of The Youth Connection.
“The Youth Connection is helping to lead me to a great future…a great, successful future. I have wanted to go back to school and finish my high school diploma. Before I came to The Youth Connection, I would…what’s the word?... Procrastinate…yeah, that’s it. If I wasn’t here I’d be at home sleep, still sitting around saying I want to get back in school. They helped me get in school…(they) stayed on my back. They are my support system. They are a strong support system and without The Youth Connection I would have given up. This is bettering me and I don’t want to deny something that is bettering me. Now I want to push myself and stay with my support system. I know whenever I need anything I can go to Ms. Littles, Ms. LaTonya, Ms. Hill, Mr. and Mrs. Castro (TYC Staff) all of them and I feel comfortable asking them for help.
They took me to The Glory of Christmas Concert. Something different I’ve never seen before. It was Godly. Something I would have seen on TV but would never have imagined seeing it in person. Never think of seeing real animals inside a church. It was real spiritual and I was already close to God and everything but it made me think more and be even closer. I get to do things I never dreamed I’d do.
I call this a never give up program cause I was kinda of close to giving up but they wouldn’t let me. I am so glad…it is a blessing to be here. I know I miss coming sometimes but a couple of weeks ago I texted Ms. Hill and asked her to please never give up on me. She said they wouldn’t! Yesterday I completed and passed my first online class! It was really cool until the staff starting dancing the Whip and Naenae in the hallway. I would like to be a mentor and tell some of my friends what I am going through and be supportive like The Youth Connection is supportive of me. Yeah…I can bring them here too. I want to thank everyone who supports The Youth Connection.”
Academic Development Program
Many of our youth (including Jalonnie) live in an underserved, resource poor area of urban Detroit. A number of our youth have dropped out of school or are faltering in a struggling school system. One aspect of our services is our Academic Development Program where retired special education administrators work with us to increase reading and math proficiency, expand vocabulary and provide tutorial support to assure our youth pass and even excel in school. They are passionate advocates for assuring our youth who are in school are placed in the most appropriate educational program that will meet their needs. They also work with our students who want to go on to college by helping them complete applications and write their college essays.
The Youth Connection uses data to document our outcomes and show our funders and supporters that there is a demonstrable return on their investment. The Youth Connection Career Academies hosted over 140 youth who participated in our 2015 summer youth employment program. All of these youth were engaged in our Academic Development program where 93% of them improved their reading and/or math scores by at least one grade level.
Additionally, the ADP staff distributed over 2,000 new books to our students and to youth who attended our After School-Back to School-Off to College fair. For fourteen years, The Youth Connection has been producing our AfterSchool Fair, a free community event designed to get kids excited about participating in afterschool programs and get them ready to go back to school by providing them with school supplies, health information and other resources. The Fair has been responsible for filling tens of thousands of afterschool openings across the city.
A tremendous thank you to all of our supporters and those who have and will support our efforts to connect Detroit youth to brighter futures.
Jalonnie and Academic Development Coach
Jalonnie and TYCCA Director
TYCCA Skill Building Session
After School Fair Book Giveaway
After School Fair Book Station