Positive youth development programs encouraged to call for action steps

A community forum for metro Detroit residents concluded with ten action items that all agreed would help to deal with violence by and to youth, and safety and security in their neighborhoods.

Hosted by the Detroit Urban League with The Skillman Foundation, United Way of Oakland County and Macomb Youth Violence Prevention Council, the tri-county meeting included a presentation by Dr. Carl Taylor, Director of Community and Youth Development at Michigan State University, on youth behavior and youth gangs.

Chris Barnes, Associate Director, Center for Survey Research & Analysis, presented relevant findings of the most recent issues poll conducted as part of a two-year Concerning Kids Study commissioned by The Skillman Foundation.

Barnes pointed out that residents in Detroit, out-Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties are mostly worried about exposure of youth to drugs (Detroit 83%, out-Wayne 81%, Oakland 79% and Macomb 79%).

Responding to a question about the effectiveness, as a long-term solution in schools, of holding parents responsible for their children's violent behavior, and overall 78% agreed that it would be effective. For an executive summary of the report, please check the "Our Resources" page of this web site.

The ten agreed upon action steps that the two breakout discussions agreed upon as ways to address safety in the neighborhoods included:

  • Teach peace as a preferred way of life
  • Develop comprehensive ways of identifying and communicating the availability of youth programs and other resources
  • Lobby for youth programs during lean budget times
  • Strengthen parenting skills
  • Reach out to youth out of school
  • Implement best practice models on parenting, life skills, education
  • Engage youth, have a dialog and listen to them
  • Increase partnerships of businesses, organizations, churches, schools and government agencies
  • Positively impact media by encouraging positive reports, video games
  • Develop positive youth development programs

A hotline has been established for additional feedback on these action steps. Please call 1-800-832-6253 to make a personal pledge to support the action steps.