Wayne-Metropolitan Community Action Agency
The purpose of the project is to provide a platform and support tailored to the needs of youth ages 13-24 to develop, refine and exercise their leadership abilities. Pre-Covid Detroit in transition lacked the voice and input of youth in planning its “comeback”. The impact and consequences of the changes in the city were invariably impacting the trajectory of young peoples education, opportunity and quality of life. Remaining outside the planning and decision making circles approximates a civic death and perpetuates self sabotaging behavior and hopelessness. Opportunity Youth, living at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities and conditions experience hopelessness and marginalization more profoundly and have fewer opportunities to center their needs among peers, parents, educators, lawmakers and other decision makers. The Covid-19 pandemic and post Covid-19 environment offers both increased likelihood to further marginalize opportunity youth while also providing a once in a generation chance to expand voices, needs of the most vulnerable. Invisibility, at the very least is less likely with the proper support.
This project places the small grant platform and related supports in service to provide resources for youth to design projects to consider, promote and advocate for their needs and hopes in ways that are relevant to them. We hope to feature an application process with a variety of application options to appeal to a variety of abilities and strengths. Options will include video, audio, challenge, written and interview application options. We hope to properly equip adult supporters with the capacity to support youth effectively as the owners and decision makers of the project. Adult supporters will be supported in best practices via coaching by seasoned grassroots youth workers. Applications will be evaluated in a forum familiar with youth development and needs. Grantmakers will include educators, youth and grassroots youth leaders. We hope will target youth living at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities and conditions. We will partner with and outreach to organizations serving opportunity youth to reach opportunity youth and support during the project. We hope youth will reach their intended audience which may include adults, educators, decision makers, etc. Technical assistance and capacity building with adult supporters in expected to assist youth with designing activities to reach their targeted audience