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NSO’S Youth Initiatives Project partners with Osborn Neighborhood Alliance and Teach 4 Detroit to help Osborn students achieve, connect and thrive

 

Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) has received a $200,000 grant from the Skillman Foundation for its Youth Initiatives Project (YIP).  In partnership with the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance (ONA) and Teach 4 Detroit (T4D), NSO’s YIP has used the funds to launch a program in Detroit’s Osborn community dedicated to supporting Skillman’s goal of increasing youth success by expanding high quality youth development activities that help students achieve, connect and thrive (ACT).

To help combat the lack of education and job opportunities for the city’s youth, the program is designed as a neighborhood-based, holistic approach to change the life trajectory of youth in the community.  The initiative combines education, leadership development, community service, life skills and mentoring to equip participants, aged 11-18 years, with the skills and experience they need to thrive.  The ultimate goal is to increase the number of youth who graduate from high school and are prepared to pursue post-secondary education.

The program is servicing 50 new participants during each of the three, 12-week sessions.  Youth are assessed to determine their goals and expectations and then are referred to program organizers by schools, parents, organizations and faith-based institutions.

T4D (Achieve), led by Executive Director Rob Amin, addresses literacy issues through customized tutoring at the nearby Matrix Human Services Center (The Matrix Center), which will serve as a joint location for all partners.  Dedicated to helping students in Detroit get ahead academically and achieve success, T4D is using the STEM model (Science, Technology, English and Math) in its lessons.  The two other partnering organizations assist by reinforcing good study habits, tracking student progress and encouraging participation.

ONA (Connect) helps youth connect with their community once they complete the YIP Leadership Institute.  This includes participation in board meetings, committees, events and more.  The Alliance, helmed by Executive Director Quincy Jones, provides youth with opportunities to advocate for change and connect with peers and leaders in their community.

YIP (Thrive) is an adult-facilitated, youth-led leadership development program that focuses on violence and substance abuse prevention targeting youth ages 12 to 18.  As the lead organization of the partnership, YIP will carry out leadership development training on a practical basis, such as advising the mayor’s office.  Currently, YIP has more than 200 youth in its core program and touches more than 3,000 youth annually through various outreach activities.

“Our goal is to get the youth to see the world differently.  This grant and partnership will greatly augment what we already do and allow us to expand how we do it by providing real-world experiences,” said Frank McGhee, program director of YIP.  “Through field trips to cultural museums and local universities, guest speakers and participation in YIP’s Leadership Institute, we hope to be seeing more Osborn-area students going to college in the upcoming years.”

Upon completion of the program, youth will participate in leadership roles within YIP and ONA and continue working with T4D as needed.  Community partners, including policy makers and the Detroit Police Department, will provide additional assistance.  Retention efforts will be sustained through summer employment experience supported by City Connect Detroit and the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

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