YouthQuest Highlights: June 2022

A student at Southwestern Classical Academy works on painting a mural during a YQ mural painting club.

And the award goes to…
To celebrate the end of the school year, YouthQuest hosted a “Hello, Summer” event at Eisenhower Elementary School. Leading up to the event, YouthQuest staff were asked to think about and identify some of the special characteristics and gifts that each student exemplifies. That brainstorming was used to create more than 30 individual awards that were presented during the event. For instance, one student was named “World’s Best Future Engineer” based on his skills with Snap Circuits and math dominoes. Another was recognized for his bright smile. The goal was to give each student a moment on center stage and let them know they are seen and cared about by YouthQuest staff. According to Site Team Leader Donna Tanner, the students were excited about the presentation and applauded each other. “Normally, we find papers we give them all over the floor. This time, we didn’t find one. We know they took them home with them and are hopeful that they’re hanging on their bedroom walls.”

Chop it like it’s hot
As part of a partnership with Flint Fresh and Flint Community Education Initiative, YouthQuest students at several sites participated in a cooking club that promoted critical thinking and teamwork. For instance, in one lesson, students took turns doling out measurements in fractions and found that a half cup of yogurt, half cup of vinegar, half cup of olive oil, honey and added spices make for a tasty salad dressing over leafy greens. They learned new words like “viscous” and “char.” They also learned about mindfulness and mindful eating and heard from local chefs and food professionals. Finally, to mark the club’s end earlier this month, students were presented with chef hats, aprons and cookbooks to encourage their interest in cooking outside of and beyond the afterschool program.

I would walk 500 miles
To encourage physical fitness and healthy behaviors over the course of the year, YouthQuest staff at Flint Cultural Center Academy took fourth through sixth graders on a weekly walk around the track at the former Central High School. Members of the “50 Mile Club” recorded their progress by counting laps – every two laps equaled a half mile. Some students did a combination of running and walking and enjoyed the experience so much that they got involved in their school’s track team. In fact, according to YouthQuest Learning Guide Calvin Odom, at least 30 percent of the club ended up running track for school. “The kids had a lot of fun with it. We originally were going to walk just to and from the Whiting, but they told me they wanted to go farther. So we did!”

State of the art
YouthQuest teamed up with Flint Public Art Project – the organization behind many of the murals found throughout the city of Flint – for a deep dive into street art. At Southwestern Classical Academy, Artist Sandra Branch took students from the beginning stages of planning their artwork through drawing out the blueprint and putting their artwork on plywood. The students learned different techniques for blending, how to use white outlines to make their images pop and more. The program wrapped up earlier this month and students hope to ultimately install their artwork on buildings throughout the city later this year. According to Site Team Leader Gloria Henley, “Some of our students who didn’t think they like would like art were surprised by their skill. It was a great experience for them.”