As we return to work from the holiday break, I am excited about what’s ahead in the new year.
For example, 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of YouthQuest, and the Education & Training team at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce is planning ways to celebrate a decade of youth programming in Flint.
Our YQ Biz partnerships with local organizations continue to strengthen. This spring, we are partnering with 100K Ideas to better facilitate expos and encourage youth entrepreneurship. Additionally, this spring, YouthQuest high school students are participating in the GISD Youth Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition, during which students from across Genesee County will compete for cash prizes.
We are excited to continue our work with the Flint Community Education Initiative – a community-wide strategy to establish schools as neighborhood hubs, by providing coordinated on-site services and expanded learning opportunities that support student success, connect families and create vibrant communities. YouthQuest serves as the lead partner for expanded learning for youth through the initiative which is spearheaded by the Crim Fitness Foundation.
Additionally, this summer, YouthQuest will expand its program to Bendle Public Schools in Burton.
We are proud to work with the Michigan After-School Partnership (MASP), a statewide network that believes in the power of afterschool programs to help all children and youth succeed. Three of our employees, Willie Buford, Jeniffer Pocza and James-Michael Laney, have been appointed to committees within MASP and will support its mission of expanding statewide accessibility, awareness and use of resources and program quality assessment tools for afterschool programs.
On February 13, we are celebrating Advocacy Day at the Michigan State Capitol. There, we will bring students, parents and community members to help shed light on the importance of afterschool to policymakers.
We are working with our partners to expand Career Edge. For the first time, we will bring a job preparedness workshop to the Flint Housing Commission and New Paths, Inc., a local organization that provides individuals who are recovering from drug addiction with resources they need to turn their lives around.
Additionally, the Flint Promise scholarship—which is available to Flint residents who graduate from a school within the city of Flint—is now open to graduates of one of Flint’s newer schools. Starting this year, alumni of Flex High School in Flint are now eligible for the scholarship, which can be used at Mott Community College, Kettering University and the University of Michigan-Flint.
I am also proud of the work we do providing pre-employment and leadership training to local teens through TeenQuest and connecting hundreds to summer employment each year through Summer Youth Initiative. New this year, we are offering TeenQuest at New Standard Academy, Lake Fenton High School and Peckham Youth Career Academy.
To maintain this forward momentum in 2020, we plan to create an internal evaluation system to ensure that our programming is of the highest quality. We will also continue to grow, form partnerships in the community and provide quality programs for Flint and Genesee County residents throughout the year.
Happy New Year,
Dr. Kimberly Leverette
Executive Director of Education & Training
Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce