A Message from Dr. Leverette: Looking Forward to 2021


Every time I gather the Education & Training team at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce for a meeting, I start with a quote from Matthew Emerzian, author of Every Monday Matters, a book that aims to help individuals start their week with passion, purpose and positivity.

Recently, I read the following quote:

“…this week, we are all going to harness hope. What is it you hope for, and how does hope work for you in your life? Does it lift you up, and is it that anchor in your life that reminds you that everyday is a new day to create whatever life you hope to live? If not, is it fair to consider that it might be part of what’s holding you back? Either way, let’s bring more hope into our lives and the world, because it all starts there. Harnessing hope matters.”

That’s an important message. It has been a hard year for everyone but shifting our perspective to hope allows us to hold on to that feeling of excitement and what is possible instead of focusing on what is holding us back.

I am very hopeful for the new year and all of the wonderful opportunities it can afford us. Relating to the programs that our team administers, I am hopeful that we will continue to provide quality programming and resources to our community.

For YouthQuest, in 2021, our focus is to make sure we have an abundance of programs that our students can engage with and connect to. We are going to continue to make sure we include our youth in conversations when making decisions. When we provide the types of programs, they tell us they are interested in, they stay engaged.

I am excited to continue our programs such as STEAMQuest, which launched in 2020 to provide students with opportunities to explore concepts in science, technology, engineering, art and math in a fun and exciting way. I am also excited to see longstanding programs such as YQ Biz continue to flourish.

For TeenQuest, I am looking forward to watching our students continue to build leadership and professional skills that they can use to grow into productive adults. I am also hopeful for new partnerships in 2021 that will allow our Summer Youth Initiative grow into the for-profit sector.

In 2020, our TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative programs grew into the virtual space out of necessity. However, this shift has opened opportunities for our programs and our students by providing flexibility and allowing them to gain experience in digital work. I am looking forward to seeing that grow in the coming year.

For Flint Promise, our goal this year is to spread awareness that college is affordable and that getting a college degree is attainable for students in the city of Flint. We have a great team of success coaches that help guide students through the college experience and I am looking forward to continuing that support through 2021.

With our participation in Opportunity Youth, I am hopeful that we will be able to continue to connect our area’s young adults to the resources they need to be successful.

Finally, for our Career Edge program, I am excited for our team to facilitate more partnerships and opportunities for participants to engage and grow in their career interests. And I am hopeful that we can help build a skilled workforce for our community.

Last year presented many challenges, but with those challenges came opportunities for our team and programs to grow. We learned many lessons that we are able to take into 2021. We also discovered our ability to be proactive and pivot and respond to challenges with great outcomes.

I am excited and hopeful for our ability to grow into 2021 and can’t wait to see what the year has to offer.