Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

Student Advocacy Center of Michigan, Inc.


SAC will focus on youth voice and choice in the ways it supports wellness. Historically, that has looked like a mix of academic support, listening, hanging out, games, movement, outdoor time, action on systems issues and meeting with decision makers, connecting with caring adults, introducing and supporting self-care plans and healing practices, dancing, addressing crisis emergency needs, supporting advocacy at the school and much more.

SAC wants to provide a flexible, responsive, intimate afterschool space that provides homework help and opportunities for building academic and work skills, social connections, social-emotional resiliency, self-advocacy and leadership skills, as well as support to identify and impact system problems in their schools and communities. We envision a new part-time youth organizer who can work with existing staff to provide that intensive support Monday through Thursday afterschool to existing, former and new students struggling in school.
SAC specifically targets and supports youth who are often disconnected from and excluded from other traditional spaces, such as education, afterschool programs, extracurricular activities, leadership programs. They are impacted by disabilities, harsh school discipline, trauma and housing instability. Because of our focus on this specific population, we focus on building relationships throughout the school day, providing a bridge to after-school time. Individual connects with students are required weekly.
Our youth have given us feedback that time in a group space, on top of the individual work, can be transformative. We envision a space where students drive the day. They will get help with homework, eat snacks and then play board games one day, meet with a state legislator or principal another day, & deep dive into a topic another day. A menu of topics they help develop may include college applications, FAFSA, dealing with grief, how a bill becomes a law, school discipline rights, job interviewing, exposure to different careers, etc.
Beyond discipline and behavior concerns, lack of transportation is one of the biggest barriers for our students to participate in after-school activities, so transporting students would be a key part of our approach.
Finally, we have included emergency funding, so we can continue providing comprehensive support to our families. This could include school supplies, technology, emergency food, clothing or toiletries, etc.