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Prevent and Prevail Facilitator Training – January/February 2017

Prevent and Prevail is looking for teen facilitators to co-lead our sessions, teaching peers about important topics and how to protect themselves.

These are youth ages 15-18 who want to build their leadership skills, make money, and give knowledge to younger peers.

Potential facilitators should attend our 6-week training. The training will be 2 hours/week on January 21st, 28th, February 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th from 12-3pm at the Clubhouse, 104 S. Huron, Ypsilanti, MI 48197. Teens will be paid per hour.

Prevent & Prevail is a program created by youth between the ages of 13 and 16 after learning that the HIV infection rate is highest in the 13-23 age group. The goal of Prevent & Prevail is to have open discussions in a safe, confidential, fun, and all inclusive environment. Teen facilitators receive over 20 hours of training before leading a series of information sessions and discussions for their peers. Some of the topics of discussion include: sex, HIV and other STIs and STDs, relationships and intimacy, respect and consent, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and drugs. Teens learn how to keep themselves safe by practicing ways to prevent the spread of HIV and other STIs and STDs in Washtenaw County, as well as how to prevent teen pregnancy and protect themselves within relationships. They also learn more about sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, which not only gives TLGBQQ (transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and questioning) youth information that is important to their lives, but also promotes acceptance and reduces teen-to-teen harassment and bullying due to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Youth who are interested in facilitating Prevent and Prevail should attend our 6-week training. You will learn accurate information about relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality, as well as how to lead icebreakers, group discussions, and activities. Interested youth should contact Gail at gail@dedicatedtomakeachange.com or call 734-358-1402

Steve Gray – YCS Board Candidate Question Responses

Below are the answers Steve sent to us. Please know, we copied and pasted his words as we received them.

1. In what ways would you seek to increase minority and low-income parent voice in decision-making?

 One way to increase participation is for Board members to engage all parts of our community. I have done this as a part of my campaign. I think that is reflected in the broad support from not only community leaders, but from the very students who attend YCS schools. I will build on that support if elected. I think board members should be regulars at community and neighborhood group meetings. Open board meetings are not enough to engage the community. We need to get out there and actually do some listening.

2. In what ways would you seek to increase minority and low-income youth voice in decision-making? 

Have you ever seen a school board actually sit down with students? How come that’s a rarity? If we are chosen as leaders to represent them, shouldn’t they have a voice? We should be meeting with students to ask them what their concerns are, and how we can make things better for the very folks we have been blessed enough to represent. You know, there’s this amazing program in Ypsi called DTMAC. Wow. You gotta meet these kids. The wisdom and insight that comes from partnering with the youth is invaluable. 

I also think we two YCS students YCS students serve as liaisons to the Board of Education and participate in board meetings.

3. What is your vision of a positive school climate and how would you like to see your district promote that vision? Would you promote Restorative Justice and/or Communities in Schools programs?

 I go to church with a young lady who graduated in 2002 from Ypsi high. She was there when there were all out brawls. Fights all the time. Just the environment alone of that time still haunts her. So much so that she said she never wanted her son to go to an Ypsilanti School Her son now is at WIHI. Positive school climate is a huge deal, and I think we are still living with the aftermath of what used to be. But that has changed. And while it’s not perfect, I’ve walked those halls and from what I observed there is a very positive school climate. 

I also heard from school counselors about the Restorative Justice approach to student conflict and discipline. As part of their long range planning process the district has targeted school culture and climate as an area of focus this year. I fully support this approach and the importance of a positive school culture and climate as essential groundwork for student success.

4. What is your school district’s approach to school discipline and do you think it’s working? If not, what would you like to change?

 The Board has been on top of this issue. Dr. Celeste Hawkins has been a fierce advocate of restorative justice. I do not want to just throw kids away. So much of society has done that, and perhaps thats a huge reason why some kids end up in the program. I want the record of YCS to always to reflect that we did everything we could. 

I have visited most of the schools this fall and been in the MS And HS for class change. I’ve heard from school counselors about the Restorative Justice approach to student conflict and discipline. They think it is effective. Their beliefs are supported by the numbers as well. If you look at current students with discipline referrals the numbers decrease significantly the higher the grade. I fully support this approach.

5. As a school board member, you may be asked to make decisions about non-mandatory student expulsions and long-term suspensions. What will be your guiding principles in making those difficult decisions? Are there situations you would absolutely expel? Are there situations you would not expel? 

The absolute litmus test is that are all our kids safe. Kids have to be safe. If we have an issue that threatens that, then by all means, we have to make the tough call. And in those less egregious cases, we must try everything we can to keep our kids in school. 

From my perspective an expulsion is the educational equivalent of the death penalty. It would have to be a very serious crime to warrant it and as a practical matter if a student commits a serious crime they will likely be in the custody of the juvenile justice system so that expulsion is moot. Suspensions should be very rare, limited to MS And HS, warranted by the Restorative Justice discipline policy and recommended by both principal and teachers. I strongly favor keeping students in school even if in a temporary alternative setting.

6. Nationally, there is a disturbing trend of suspending preschool and early elementary school students and some communities are responding with a strict moratorium on such suspensions. What is your position on suspensions in the early grades?

 It’s hard to imagine a time that we should be suspending young children. It’s very hard to improve school achievement when a child isn’t in school and the early years are crucial there. I’d like to hear from our early school principals and teachers on this but I’m open to a moratorium if that became a problem in YCS.

7. How will you promote transparency and regular review of expulsion, suspension and school arrest data? 

I understand the challenges of meaningful transparency in the age of school competition. However, school PR can’t be our guiding principle here. We’ve got to put everything on the table. We’ve got to be keepers and believers of trust. You can’t do that by limiting and hushing data. There is power in knowing. There is power in saying, “this is what happened, this is our thought process, and this was the result”. People have a right to know what’s going on in their schools. Transparency is important and I would work with the Student Advocacy Center to require and review meaningful monthly discipline data.

8. School dropout is a problem with enormous social costs. What do you feel your district could do differently do address school dropout?

 To address dropout in HS you have to focus on early education. Improving student achievement at the younger grades will help decrease dropout rates. To that end elementary teachers and principals are key. We have to support and retain great teachers.

9. What role, if any, do you feel law enforcement should have in schools? 

I am not a big fan of the police car sitting in front of our school. I think it sends the wrong message to students and community. Having said that I’d like to hear from our HS and MS students about how they feel about having a police officer in school with them. If they are generally in favor of it then I would support it. In the past I have seen too many times an overzealous officer escalate what would be a normal disciplinary incident into a crime. So we definitely have to have the right officer with the right temperament in place.

10. In your position as Board member or Trustee, you will be in a unique position to be a powerful advocate for children from marginalized groups. How do you see yourself exercising that power?
As a legal aid lawyer I have dedicated my career to advocating for marginalized groups. I take those who feel, and in some cases are, powerless, and give them a voice. I have their back, and I fight for them. And they never have to go it alone. It is that calling that bids me run for YCS Board. Those students will be the focus of my board votes and efforts to engage our community in building a thriving public school district.

Night to Learn about YCS School Board Candidates

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UPDATE 10/25/16: We have received Steve Gray’s responses to some of the questions. See them here.
UPDATE 10/21/16: Scroll down for the audio of the event!
UPDATE 10/14/16: All questions have been posted for community members to read and for candidates to respond if desired. Scroll down to see them.

October 13 from 7-9pm, incumbents Meredith Schindler and Sharon Lee met with Mark Wilde and Steve Gray to answer questions and to inform voters.
The goal of the evening was for voters to be confident they are voting for the best candidate for School Board.

View the Facebook event.

We realize people might not be able to attend October 13 so we will be posting questions after the event.

 

 

Questions to date:

What is the role of the school board, and what would you bring to the board if elected?

What can the school board do differently to make sure voters are informed about the school board or candidates?

In your position as board member, you will be in a unique position to be a powerful advocate for children from marginalized groups. What is a marginalized group? How do you see yourself exercising that power?

How can the schools get more money for classroom supplies like textbooks, pencils, and pens? The special needs classrooms need supplies like chewies and fidgets.

What is your vision of a positive school climate and how would you like to see your district promote that vision?

School dropout is a problem with enormous social costs. What do you feel your district could do differently to address school dropout?

How can you relate to the issues children have, but still enforce power as a part of the board?

As a school board member, you may be asked to make decisions about non-mandatory student expulsions and long-term suspensions. What will be your guiding principles in making those difficult decisions? Are there situations you would absolutely expel? Are there situations you would not expel?

Nationally, there has been a disturbing trend of suspending preschool and early elementary school students. Some communities are banning such suspensions. What is your position on suspensions in the early grades?

How will you promote transparency and regular review of expulsion, suspension, and school arrest data?

What role, if any, do you feel law enforcement should have in schools?

What is your school district’s approach to school discipline and do you think it’s working? If not, what would you like to change?

South of Michigan Avenue and the Willow Run areas house the majority of the students in Ypsilanti Community Schools, but voices from these areas are minimally heard. In what ways would you seek to increase voices from parents from these areas in decision-making? What about youth voices?

Are there any discussions or consideration for merging with Ann Arbor Public Schools?

Would you promote Restorative Justice and/or Communities in Schools Programs?

Do you think being more active education-wise will make a student want to learn more?

What are the greatest successes of YCS in the past 2 years? Where did you expect the district to be by this point in its short life? What are the fastest, most significant changes YCS can implement in the next 2 years? What changes would you advocate for?

What is the current climate at YCS for LGBT students, and what policies/support/training is in place of should be in place to ensure support for these students?

LGBT youth, especially transgender youth and LGBT youth of color are even more at risk for becoming part of the school-to-prison pipeline and for mental health problems, including suicide. What are concrete things you will do as board members to reduce these numbers in YCS students? An example is allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

How will you evaluate [school] start times? Research supports even later start times. Right now, elementary students are getting picked up before 7 am!

Many of us have concluded that a majority in state government are actively working to damage and eventually destroy public education, in favor of privatization of schools. Is there a point where there is a role of school boards to join with other boards and community allies, as well as teachers and students, to say “no” to damaging policies and defunding from Lansing?

As a member of the board, has the topic of flexible schedules come up, in order to make it easier for students to come to school if they have jobs so they can support their family?

If you could do 1 thing to attract back some of the 50% of students in the YCS district who don’t currently attend YCS, what would you do?

How do you plan to use students at Concordia [University], Washtenaw [Community College], EMU and the U of M as resources for low test scores and the achievement gap for students at YCS, as well as Ypsilanti’s non-profit and self-help organizations?

Do you think the policies enforced in the schools are fair, such as behavior-wise? If not, how would you change them so that students won’t miss too much school?

Running for school board for each of you represents either bumping up to or maintaining a high level of investment in YCS. This district could use that level of investment from all four of you. If you are not elected to the board, what is something you see yourself doing to add to or to replace your current investment in YCS?

We need more help in the schools. Erickson is a wreck.

What are the short-term and long-term solutions for Ypsi schools?

Why shouldn’t we consolidate with other schools in the county?

How do you plan to deal with the naturally rising costs and the fact that it is unlikely that the state will come up with more money?

To Mark Wilde: How have the processes of an extra-curricular robotics program informed or prepared our schools for a successful and engaging STEM curriculum?

What do you believe are the root causes affecting the school district and how do you see the board addressing these issues?

What should the district do with vacant school buildings? If you’re in favor of renting/selling them, so you have any preference on the types of groups to sell to?

The state of Michigan just enacted a law to return 3rd graders who are not reading at grade level. 60% of YCS third graders were “not proficient” on the 2016 M-STEP. How should YCS respond/prepare for mass retention?

College Visits

UPDATE!!
Here is our revised college schedule:
Monday- no tour
Tuesday- Washtenaw community college (specifically culinary arts and criminal justice)
Wednesday-Kettering college (engineering/STEM)
Thursday – Wayne State
Friday- Bowling Green University (specifically their arts department)
If you are interested let Gail know- as soon as possible

Hi everyone!
We are taking trips to schools each day of the August 22-26 week. Please read below to find out more information. Each trip has a small cost per participant to cover gas. Everyone is welcome — priority goes to students in the 12th, 11th, 10th, and 9th grades.
There are many colleges and universities in the area and it would take several weeks to visit them all, so we chose five schools whose programs closely align with the dreams and goals of DTMAC participants. The first line of each shares the reason we chose the school.
 
Schoolcraft College – Livonia, MI (30 minutes away)
DTMAC participants have expressed interest in culinary, cosmetology, construction, and manufacturing programs — Schoolcraft has these programs and more. This school also has many liberal arts and science programs, business, public safety, criminal justice, health professions, and much more. We are visiting on August 22nd. This trip costs $5/participant.
 
Oakland University – Rochester, MI (1 hour away)
A main reason we are going to Oakland is because it has an Ethics Bowl team, and at the tournament in February, an instructor offered a team member a scholarship to attend Oakland University if he would be on the team. This school has many programs, including liberal arts, sciences, public safety, nursing, and social work. We are visiting on August 23rd. This trip costs $10/participant.
 
Kettering University – Flint, MI (1 hour away)
This is school is all about engineering, so DTMAC youth interested in engineering: look no further. Kettering offers programs in electrical, mechanical, chemical, and computer engineering, and more. We are visiting on August 24th. This trip costs $10/participant.
 
Baker College – Flint, MI (1 hour away)
This is another option for youth interested in nursing, culinary arts, public safety, auto/mechanics, and more. The school is a career college, so it focuses on applicable skills and career training programs such as those listed above, as well as engineering, education, human services, transportation, and more. We are visiting August 25th. This trip costs $10/participant.
 
Bowling Green State University – Bowling Green, OH (1 hour away)
This school also has lots of programs, but the main reason we are going is because of its extensive list of 3D and 2D art programs — 2D programs: painting and drawing, photography, printmaking (including digital art). 3D programs: ceramics, glass, jewelry and metals, and sculpture. It also has a full range of liberal arts, sciences, engineering, business, social work, education, mechanics, and health professions programs, and much more. This trip costs $10/participant.
 
For a full list of programs of each school, or a list of schools that offer a certain program or major, please contact us.
If you’re interested in visiting these colleges with us, please contact us.
Have a good weekend!

Backpack Project

Summer Backpacks8/20/16 Update:
Dedicated to Make a Change is looking for people and businesses to partner with local Ypsilanti Community high school students to created educational reform, for as little as $50.
$50 will give a high school student: a backpack, five notebooks, three folders, 100 note cards, a pack of graph paper, highlighters, pencils, pens, colored pencils, three hole punch, ruler, white out, page markers, and a composition book.
The students are aware peers often are home-free for a night or two so each backpack will contain these hygiene supplies: soap, deodorant, kleenex, hand lotion, tooth brush and tooth paste, menstrual products, combs, brushes, and picks.
Thank you for considering our request.

We will be handing out backpacks on August 30th and 31st from 1 to 5 pm. More info here

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We are teens at Dedicated to Make a Change are making jewelry, origami cranes, and other items to sell at the Ypsilanti Farmers Market starting Tuesday, August 2nd.

80% of the proceeds are going towards school supplies for high school students in Ypsilanti Community Schools, and the remaining 20% is going to supplies for DTMAC. We are guessing each filled backpack will cost $50.

Buying school supplies for students helps them have a better mindset so they are focused on the class work and what they’re learning in the classroom. Also, having proper school supplies allows for positive educational reform by enabling them to be well prepared.

We really appreciate your willingness to support us on our community endeavor to purchase school supplies for YCS students.

We are looking for people and businesses to partner with us. If you want to give money, school supplies, a backpack, which will hold up to 30 pounds of books, let us know:

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Does education reform have a place in the Black Lives Matter movement?

During a discussion on the Black Lives Matter movement, Ypsilanti youth activists ages 14-20 were asked, “Does education reform have a place in the Black Lives Matter movement?”

Here are their responses.

“These issues are major fundamental problems. Schools in many primarily Black communities are terrible and even not there. Providing education to all is important. Quality of education is important. Quality of faculty and the facilities are extremely important. If the Black Lives Matter movement can make any progress with this, then why not do it?”

“It is important that black lives are getting a good education. And they are getting similar resources as other schools. Black Lives Matter is about equality for black lives and that includes education.”

“Agree, because positively reforming education for African American students and all students sets them up for a successful future. Black boys and girls being well-educated allows them to fulfill greater, more influential positions of power and create a positive impact on society and black culture.”

“I believe education reform should be part of the Black Lives Matter movement because the current education system disadvantages People of Color, and especially African American people.”

“I agree, blacks need a good education just like a white person. Blacks get judged harder than whites as it is. It should also get changed for the better. Blacks are judged more harshly than whites, and the fact that black people don’t get as good of an education creates more judgement against them.”

“I agree that education reform belongs in the Black Lives Matter because black lives – all lives, for that matter – depend on a good education. There is more to everybody’s life than just police shootings. If you’re going to start a movement, [you should] cover many bases, not just one.”

“Education reform belongs in ‘Black Lives Matter’ like many other things. This is because ‘Black Lives Matter’ isn’t just about the killing of black beings, but better opportunities too because we deserve that just as much as any other race. One main way to give us better opportunities is better education.”

“I agree that education reform should be discussed with Black Lives Matter because we black people are not taught the same things that other people are taught. We think we understand what we are taught but the way we are taught I feel there isn’t enough education, we are not taught what we should be learning.”

DTMAC on WEMU!

Victoria Stewart, Tajon Reid, and Gail Wolkoff were featured on WEMU 89.1 in an interview about the Black Lives Matter/City of Ypsilanti community forum. Check it out here!

Summer Jobs Available!

Why the Summer Work Skills Program?

Studies show that the summer months can be a critical time to build on the foundation of the previous school year — and prepare for the year ahead. From summer reading to trips to the museum, there are tons of ways to inspire your child.
View summer job skills and calendar here.

In the Summer Work Skills Program (SWSP), youth are preparing for the future.
Programs are 2 hours a day, five days a week~
June 27 – August 26

Youth sharpen their skills and gain valuable knowledge

Math Immersion, Science, Literacy and Writing, ACT Prep, College Tours
✓ Improve reading, writing and math levels
✓ Develop practical methods for progress
✓ Two hours of daily practice to improve skills
✓ Energize students with the desire for continued success
✓ Empower students to their education

Our proven programs help youth gain skills essential to their future

✓ 100% of youth hired at DTMAC graduate high school
✓ 100% of youth become on credit level for their grade level
✓ Paying youth encourages the focus on academic, learning new skills, and financial literacy
✓ 126 Washtenaw County Youth have become knowledgeable about consent, and protecting themselves from STD/STIs, including HIV and AIDS, through Prevent and Prevail

The Summer Work Skills Program benefits Ypsilanti

✓ Investment in the future
✓ Create change to make a better life and future
✓ Intergenerational interactions with the community
✓ Students are directly involved in making a positive change

Interested? Email gail@dedicatedtomakeachange.com!

View our newsletter here!

Cedar Point

Heavyn, Tenaya, and Gail took a trip to Cedar Point to have fun and learn about math, science, and physics.
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It was too cold to ride roller-coasters, so they stopped at the Toledo Art Museum. They met people from the Glass Academy who taught them how to make glass flowers.

Summer Work Skills Program

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Youth in the Community Service program organize books at a community center in Flint, Michigan.

Our Summer Work Skills Program focuses on academics, community service, field trips, and more.

Programs begin June 27 and end August 26.

The Summer Work Program will be at the Clubhouse – 104 S. Huron St., Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Call (734)-358-1402 for more information.

 

 

 

 

Summer Work Skills Program 2pdf-2Summer Work Skills Program 2pdf-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see the updated calendar for the Summer Work Skills Program

 

November Newsletter

Happy November!

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It’s getting colder outside, we are fast approaching the holiday season, and we at Dedicated to Make a Change want to share a few things we are thankful for. We give thanks for the awesome participants, mentors, tutors, interns, and volunteers that help keep us running. We are also thankful for our sponsors, donors, participants’ parents and guardians, and supporters whom we couldn’t do without. From coming by to visit, to donating items for the clubhouse, to just reading our monthly newsletter, we appreciate everything you do to support DTMAC!

We have several events coming up this month. In H.O.P.E., the Open House at 2:30 pm on November 14th. The Ethics Bowl kickoff event is at U of M on November 8th from 1-4 pm.

For info about upcoming events, including our Spring Break Trip to D.C., read more here!

October Newsletter

“Fall is officially here, and so is school. H.O.P.E. Academic Program participants are working hard on their academics everyday after school at the clubhouse.

Teens gather for teen-run activity planning, or T.R.A.P., on Saturdays from 12 pm to 2 pm. T.R.A.P. is a program in which teens create, plan, and run activities for themselves and other teens in the community. Past activities include the Glow in the Dark Teen Party that took place in August, and field trips.”

For details about upcoming T.R.A.P. events, and more, read the newsletter here!

September Newsletter

DTMAC participants are getting ready to head back to school. It won’t be long until the weather begins to get chillier and the leaves begin to turn bright, fall colors.

H.O.P.E. Summer program was a HUGE success.

Here are some highlights:

  • “This summer was good because not only did I have fun, but I also became more prepared for school” student in the class of 2018
  • “Shakespeare week was a lot of fun. Reading, discussing, and watching the movie then reinacting the final scene between MacBeth and McDuff, with the Ring of Steel, really helped me to understand the play.” class of 2018

Read more here!

Teen-Run Activity Planning (T.R.A.P.) Continues Saturdays

Our teen activity planning program, known as T.R.A.P., will continue into this fall. Sessions will be on Saturdays beginning September 19, from 12-2 pm.

This past summer, youth organized a number of events for their community, including a Glow in the Dark Teen Party. Read about it here: http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/08/dedicated_to_change_holds_teen.html#incart_related_stories

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Ethics Bowl Practice

Every Monday afternoon from 3:30 to 5:30 starting September 21st, Dedicated to Make a Change participants will prepare for the 2016 Ethics Bowl.

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DTMAC Youth represent Ypsi Community High in the 2015 Ethics Bowl

Prevent and Prevail is Back!

DTMAC is hosting our teen-run HIV/AIDS and sex education program, Prevent and Prevail, at the Jim Toy Community Center in Braun Court in Ann Arbor near Kerrytown. Wednesday evenings sessions begin September 23rd through November 11th from 6 to 8 pm.

Youth oin us in an open discussion of sex, identity, STD prevention, and more.

Prevent and Prevail Fall 2015

August Newsletter

The H.O.P.E. summer program is in full swing! Every morning we read for two hours, and then plan activities for community youth.
About the literacy program, Jasmon, a YCS student, said, “in the beginning of the program, I didn’t like to read very much and two hours was a long time, but now I like to read and two hours is nothing. It’s much easier now.” Click here to see more of our August 2015 newsletter!

July Newsletter

Our school year finished very well. We had a party at the end of June to say goodbye to Megan and DJ, who are starting college soon, and to celebrate the work of all of the H.O.P.E. participants. Yesterday, we went to the DIA to see the pictures and mural of the great artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Frida once said, “at the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” Click to see the rest of our July 2015 newsletter!

Indiegogo Campaign

We have started a new Indiegogo campaign to help fund Prevent and Prevail. Please check it out and share it with others!! http://igg.me/at/prevent-and-prevail/x/10401028

YouthSpeak: Safety

On November 10th, from 4 to 6 pm, at the Washtenaw County Administration Building in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was the 2014 YouthSpeak meeting.

YouthSpeak is an annual youth public forum that empowers young people to advocate on their own behalf. Represenatative Rutledge, Sheriff Clayton, Washtenaw County prosecuting attorney Brian Mackie, Superintendents of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, State Representative Adam Zemke, Washtenaw Department of Human Services, and WISD all attended this forum. Youth were asked to write and present a 2-3 minute speech telling local decision-makers what safety meant to them.

Here’s what an employee of H.O.P.E. said:

What Safety Means to Me
“I am an 11th grade student at Ypsilanti High School. I work as a tutor for Dedicated to Make a Change. In school, I feel pretty safe, but as a student, I don’t think safety is the biggest issue in the school. I really think that, as a community, [we] should focus more on education. If we had a strong focus on learning, there would be fewer safety problems. For example, I have a class without a teacher. In this class, the students walk into class not expecting to learn, but to sit there and waste an hour of class that should be used to gain the privilege of a public education. Thank you.”

Valentine Road Film: Blogs

Documentary Film

Valentine Road

Dedicated to Make a Change, L3C is an all-inclusive youth organization. We support learning in a holistic and civic-minded fashion and provide high-quality, diverse opportunities for youth to learn through action about justice, diversity and social responsibility. We work with teens in Washtenaw County to support their dreams and restore their excitement in learning. One program in particular is focused on helping young teen’s combat academic iniquity and thrive in spite of a school system that is failing them: H.O.P.E., or Having Opportunities for Positive Education. Another of our program is Prevent and Prevail which is a comprehensive sex education program where youth-facilitate HIV prevention program. The teens host discussions of sex, empowerment, identity, orientation, expression, and prevention for STIs and HIV for their peers.

The youth who wrote the blog entries were from the H.O.P.E. program. The blogging opportunity gave a opportunity to look objectively at youth concerning youth “hate” crimes. Most of the youth have witnessed gun violence in their community, but analyzing and understanding impact of gun violence in regards to hate crimes was an eye opening experience. Viewing this situation offered a chance to critically think about what it means to “hate” without knowing someone. We discuss sexual and gender identity, and what it means to be an ally.

The youth at DTMAC are dedicated to making a positive impact on the community they reside in. when they were presented with the opportunity to go see the documentary Valentine’s Road they were overly ecstatic. When asked to record some of their thoughts they did so…

The movie told a lot of hurtful things. I did not know what to expect of Larry’s appearance, but before the movie I visualized what everybody was going to look like. All of Larry’s friends were very hurt to lose him. Brandon took a young man’s life, and by doing so he made a grown man decision. Larry was a young man with a joyful heart but it was took by a peer. If you haven’t watched this movie you should go see it

Class of 2016
-Juan Davis

My experience with watching the film “Valentine Road” really put me between a rock and a hard place. It was challenging on the thought of whether the defendant should be sentenced life or a hand full of years. This film sent out so many messages, and eye-openers. It also shows us the type of society we live in, and have to survive through on an everyday bases. It would be best for this film to be spread around internationally not just targeting teens and minors, but everyone! Once again this is a fantastic film.

Class of 2016
-Maia Byrd

The documentary Valentine’s Road was a very emotional, interesting, and detailed film. The film was based on a young boy who was shot and killed by his middle school classmate because of sexual orientation. It expressed the terrible feelings of Larry’s fellow classmates and friends. In my opinion this is a great documentary.

Class of 2016
-Justin Thomas

Valentine rode was one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen this year. This movie was more than I can put into words. Its so hard to come to an understanding about how you feel after you watch it. It was more of a documentary in a movie form. Its breath taking. Its something you would want to watch over and over again just to make sure you didnt miss anything. If you haven’t seen this film yet, YOU NEED TO!!!!

Class of 2016
Otha Nash

Valentines Road was a very amazing and beautifully directed documentary. It opened my eyes to the reality of how judgmental society can be towards the Trans community. It also showed me that hate crimes are rarely ever handled fairly in the justice system. I hope that one day victims of hate crimes are not made to like they are the blame for their own harassment, assaults, and even murders.

Class of 2015, BSW
-Douglass Harvey

Anthony Interviews Tyree

Tyree’s favorite hobby is working out and making music on Fl Studio programs. As we continued the interview, I wasn’t aware that one of his favorite rappers besides Tyler, the Creator, is Domo Genesis, one of the rappers in the rap collective group called Odd Future. Tyree’s favorite color is Blue, because he feels it’s one of the greatest primary colors of them all. His favorite game system is the Playstation, Sony has been dominating Microsoft lately, so I understand why that’s his most favorite. Ty’s favorite Television show is Monday Night Raw, ironically, we both love professional wrestling. Tyree doesn’t usually watch Sports he once said, but If he had the chance to watch a sport, it’ll have to be the National Football League, I’m also a huge fan of Football as well. I was in utter shock and amazed at how many siblings that Tyree has. Tyree said “I’d say I have about 9 siblings total.”….yeah…crazy isn’t it? After that, I asked him “What is your favorite shoe brand?” Tyree replied “My favorite shoe brand is Adidas, it’s such a suitable shoe brand for me.” Tyree’s favorite teacher is our Geometry teacher Mr.Perry, everyone loves Mr.Perry. I then asked “What type of music do you listen to?” Then Tyree said “Of course I listen to Hip-hop *laughs*, and Dubstep as well!”, we definitely have a lot in common. Tyree’s favorite Holiday is Christmas, everyone has to love Christmas, such a special Holiday. Tyree’s favorite song is Collard Greens by Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar, that’s my favorite song as well. Tyree’s favorite dessert is Ice Cream and his favorite movie is Stephen King’s IT.

Bruce interviews Darius

    1. What is your middle name? “My middle name is Marteze.”
    2. What is your favorite sport? “My favorite sport is Football.”
    3. What is your favorite food? “My favorite food is Hotwings.”
    4. What is your favorite car? “ My favorite car is a Lamborgoni.”
    5. What is your favorite drink? “My favorite drink is Brisk.”
    6. How many girlfriends have you had?” I had 27 girlfriends.”
    7. What is your favorite color?”My favorite color is Red
    8. What is your favorite brand?” my favorite brand is Nike.”
    9. What is your favorite movie?”My favorite movie is Friday.”What is your favorite song? “My favorite song is Love No Thotties By Chief Keef”
    10. What is your eye color?”My eye color is Light brown”
    11. What is your favorite Hair style? “ my favorite hair style is Dreads”
    12. How much you weight? “I weight 150 pounds”
    13. What is your favorite restaurant?”My favorite restaurant is McDonald”
    14. What hand do you write with? “ I right with my right hand.”

Saviontray interviews DeShawn

What is your fav color? “My fav color is red”.

What is your shoe size? “My shoe size is 11/1/2-12.

What kind of Shoe’s you like? “The kind of shoe’s I like is nike.

What kind of clothes do you like? “My fav kind of clothes is nike”.

What is your goal in life? “My goal in life in life is to go to collage”.

What is your hobby? “My hobby is playing basketball”.

When where you born? “ I was born Feb.12 1998”.

What is your fav food? “My fav food is pizza”.

What is your fav game system? “My fav game system is X-Box 360”.

What is your fav game? “My fav game is 2k14”.

Who is your fav actor? “My fav actor is Tyler Parry”.

Where is your place to eat? “My fav Place to eat is Bw3”.

What is your fav song? “My fav song is show the world”.

What is your middle name? “My middle name is Mike”.

What is your nickname? “My nickname is Sammy Sosa”.

Dominick interviews Justin

Whats your middle name? “ My middle name is Lawrence.”

Whats your favorite sport? “ My favorite sport is basketball.”

How many times  have you moved? “ I have moved 3 times.”

Whats your favorite restaurant? “ My favorite restaurant is Tonys.”

Whats your favorite type of movie? “ My favorite type of movie is action.”

What do you want to be when your 37? “ I want to be rich.”

Whats your favorite type of car? “ My favorite car is a  Lamborghini.”

How tall are you? “ Im 5ft 6.”

What hospital were you born in? “ I was born in Saint Joe s hospital.”

Whats your favorite shoe brand? “ My favorite shoe brand is Nike.”

Where do you want to go? “ I want to go to Japan.”

How many states have you been to? “ I have been to 5 states.”

Have you been out of state? “ I have been to Canada.”

Darius interviews Bruce

What is your name? “ My name is Bruce David Jones.”

What is your favorite sport? “ My favorite sport is football.”

What is your favorite food? “ My favorite food is nacho’s.”

What is your favorite car? “ My favorite car is a Masseriti.”

What is your favorite drink? “ My favorite drink is a Brisk.”

How many girlfriends have you had? “ I had 6 girlfriends.”

What is your favorite color? “ My favorite color is red.”

Whats your favorite brand? “ My favorite brand is Nike and Jordan.”

What is your favorite movie? “ My favorite movie is Friday.”

What is your favorite song? “ My favorite song is Chief Keef Love No Thotties.”

What is your eye color? “ My eye color is dark brown.’’

Whats your favorite hairstyle? “ My favorite hairstyle is an Afro and Taper

How much do you weigh? “ I weigh 205lbs

What is your favorite fastfood restaurant? “ My favorite restaurant is McDonald

What hand do you write with? “ I right with my right hand.”

Tyree interviews Anthony

Anthony’s favorite hoppy is to” play the drums.” As we kept talking about the new things we didn’t know about each other i found out that anthony’s favorite rapper is “change the rapper” and  also his favorite is from chance the rapper “ Favorite song” Ft Childish gambino.” Anthony’s favorite color is “orange.” Anthony’s favorite game system is “PS4.”His favorite T.V show is “NBA live.” Anthony favorite sport is “Basketball.” Anthony has “3 sibling” Eric,Ramal,Kenny. His favorite shoe brand is Nike.His favorite teacher when he was in school was “Mr Perry.” His Geoart and math teacher.The music he likes is “gospel and AandB” His favorite season is “Summer .” Anthony favorite dessert is “ ice cream.” His favorite mover is Frie day after Next.

Kwaylin’s Interview with Octavia

  1. What’s your favorite christmas? –
    1. “My favorite Christmas was in 2008 when my dad was with me.”
  2. Do you stay with both of your parents?-
    1. “I stay with my mom and her boyfriend.”
  3. How many siblings do you have?
    1. “I have 3, one brother & sister and an unborn sibling.”
  4. What is your favorite color?
    1. “My favorite color is red, and has been every since I was little.”
  5. What is your favorite holiday?
    1. “ My favorite holiday is May 4, which is my birthday.”
  6. What is your shoe size?
    1. “I wear a size 9 in woman.”
  7. What is your favorite sport?
    1. “My favorite sport is football and my favorite team is Green Bay!”
  8. How tall are You?
    1. “ I am 5 foot 7 inches.”
  9. What is your middle name?
    1. “My whole name is Octavia Lyna Arnett.”
  10. What is an important fact about you?
    1. “I am a very outgoing person.”
  11. In 10 years where do you want to be living and what would your job be?
    1. “I want to be living in Alabama and I want to be a lawyer.”
  12. Your 80 years old, what have you done with your life?
    1. “I have gone on to become a lawyer and am successfully accomplished being a lawyer.
  13. You have 500 dollars what are you going to do with it?
    1. “ I would start a business with younger children.”
  14. Who is your hero?
    1. “My dad would have to be my hero, because he always was there for me.”
  15. Use three words people would use to describe you.
    1. Crazy, Mean & Solid.

Devyn Interviews Maia

  1. What’s your favorite color?
    1. “My favorite color is royal purple.”
  2. What’s your fathers full name?
    1. “My father full name is Tyrone Bridges.”
  3. What’s your favorite food?
    1. “My favorite food is hot water corn bread with spicy crawfish.”
  4. What’s your mother’s full name?
    1. “My mother’s full name is Cantrese Rene Byrd.”
  5. What do you want to do after high school?
    1. “I want to graduate a university or college.
  6. What would you do if you had $500?
    1. “I would spend $100 and save the rest.”
  7. What’s your Ethnicity?
    1. “I’m black and native American.”
  8. What color would you want a Rose to be?
    1. “I would want it to be Indigo.”
  9. Where would you want to live after high school?
    1. “I would want to live in New York.”
  10. What’s your favorite animal?
    1. “My favorite animals are pandas and cheetahs.”
  11. Where were you born?
    1. “I was born in Ypsilanti.”
  12. When is your birthday?
    1. “My birthday is June 22.”
  13. How many brothers do you have?
    1. “I have five.”
  14. What high school will you go to next fall?
    1. “I’m going to Lincoln High School.”
  15. How many sisters do you have?
      1. “I have five.”

Dev Interviews Juan

1. What day where you born? “ I was born January 29, 1998.”

2. Who do you admire the most, and why? “ I admire my mom because she acts and does things the way I would, she’s like a homie sometimes.”

3. When is your Mothers birthday? “ She was born on September 21, 1969.”

4. What is your favorite food? “My favorite food is Pizza?”

5. What is your favorite color or colors? “ My favorite color is Red.”

6. What are some of your future goals? “ I would like to be very wealthy.”

7. What sports do you play? “ I sometimes play basket ball.”

8. How many siblings do yo have? “ I have four sisters.”

9. What is your dream car? “My dream car is a Chevrolet SS.”

10. What is your favorite TV show? “Spongebob is my favorite TV show.”

11. What are your favorite shoe brands? “My favorite shoe brands are Jordan, Nike, and Chuck

Taylors.”

12. What is your favorite song? “ My favorite song is Koolin by Lil Herb.”

13. What is your favorite artist? “ I don’t have a favorite artist but I listen to, GBE, Taylor Gang,

YMCMB.”

14. What are some of your hobbies? “ I like to chill with my friends, and play my game.”

15. Who is your favorite NBA player? “ My favorite NBA player is James Harden.”

Otha Interviews DJ

 

  1. How tall are you? “I am 5 feet and 7 inches tall”
  2. Whats your full name? “My full name is Douglass Deon Harvey.
  3. Where are you from? “I am from Oak Par.”
  4. What do you want from your career? “I want to be a social worker/ life coach”
  5. Whats your favorite color? “My favorite color is white.”
  6. What is your favorite kind of car? “My favorite kind of car is a Ferrari.”
  7. What is your favorite sport? “My favorite sport is dance.”
  8. What is your favorite kind of pet? “My favorite pet is a pit bull.”
  9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? “Working with youth.”
  10. Do you plan on living in this state? “No, I’m leaving in April.”
  11. What is your favorite shoe brand? “My favorite brand for my shoes is Cole Haan.”
  12. Have you ever been out of state? “Yes I’ve been to almost 28 states”
  13. If you had a million dollars what is the first thing you would buy? “the forst thing I would buy is a Ferrari”
  14. What would you want your headstone to say? “Turn up/ I was here.”
  15. What are 3 words that you think people would describe you as? “goal-driven, Well respected, and cool.”

Melinda interviews Montasia

When’s your birthday? “July 27th,1999”
How old are you? “I’m 15”
What’s your favorite food? “Pepperoni pizza rolls.”
What’s your favorite color? “Pink”
What do you want out of life? “I want to be a first grade teacher or an actress”
What do you like to do? “Cheer because I was a cheerleader”
What school do you go to? “I go to Belleville High School.”
What’s your favorite car? “A buggatti or a mustang.”
What’s your favorite sport? “My favorite sport is football.”
What’s your favorite restaurant? “My favorite restaurant is El’ Georges.”
Who’s your idol and why? “Trey Songs is my idol because he so fine.”
What’s you favorite song? “Who do you love or stay.”
What’s your favorite movie? “Love and basketball, I love that movie.”
Where are you from? “Muskegon.”
What’s your biggest achievement you’ve made in life so far? “I guess knowing that I want to go to Western in Kalamazoo.”

Maia Interviewing Devyn

  1. What is your favorite color? “My favorite color is Red.”

  2. What is your father’s full name? ”My father’s full name is Carlos Carthage.”

  3. What is your favorite food? “My favorite food is Pizza.”

  4. What is your mother’s full name? “My mother’s full name is Sandra Carthage.”

  5. What are you gonna do after High School? “I am going to attend College.”

  6. What would you do with $500? “ I would spend $500 on candy.”

  7. What is your ethnicity? “My ethnicity is black and white.”

  8. What color roses would you want? “I would prefer my roses white.”

  9. Where do you wanna live after High School? “After High School I’d like to live in Mexico.”

  10. What is your favorite animal? “My favorite animal would be Lion.”

  11. Where were you born? “I was born in Ann Arbor,MI.”

  12. When is your birthday? “My birthday is August 24th.”

  13. How many brothers do you have? “I have 2 brothers.”

  14. What school will you be going to in the Fall? “I will be attending Lincoln High School.”

  15. How many sisters do you have? “I have zero sisters.”

TeWan interviewed by Ann

TeWan Rolax is 15 years old and has lived in Ypsilanti his entire life. TeWan’s favorite food is macaroni and cheese. He hates pasta salad! TeWan loves to play football. This fall he’ll be a freshman in high school and will play running back on his school’s junior varsity football team. He’s hit some golf balls, but never played a game of golf. Golf is the sport he’s most like to try out. TeWan has visited Kentucky, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois. If he could visit any place in the United States, TeWan would pick California. In his spare time, TeWan likes to play football and talk to girls.  His favorite subject in school is math. TeWan is right-handed and his favorite color is red. TeWan’s favorite professional sports teams are the Baltimore Ravens and Oklahoma City Thunder.  He enjoys Subway’s ham and cheese sub on toasted cheddar bread and stuffed crust cheese and pepperoni pizza. He hopes to play professional football some day and then be a NFL coach. One movie he wants to see this summer is The Purge.

Steven interviews Joseph

1. Josephs’ dream Job is “working at a coffee shop for the next couple years.”

2 Joseph favorite thing to do in his Spare time is “cycling”.

3 When asked, “whats your favorite sport, Joseph said,  “cycling  -racing and performances”

4 What’s your favorite color? “Purple,” Joseph responded.

5 His favorite book is “The Disappearing Spoon”.

6 Joseph’s favorite form of communication is “Face to Face”.

7 How did you first start working at Dedicated to Make a Change? “Hanging with Nils, Gail’s son, at EMU”.

8. Joseph’s favorite TV shows are “Dexter or Dr.Who”.
9 On a scale of 1-100 how awesome are you?  He said “81”.

10 Joseph’s favorite restaurant is “Bomber”.

11 What weather do you hate the most? “Heat, summer time are weather I hate”

12 When is your birthday? Joseph is a winter baby, “12/18.”

13 What animal are you? I am a homonculus a specie that generates”.

14 Favorite beverage is “Kenyan coffee”.

15 Worst subject is “speech” during school.

Dev being interviewed by Juan

What is your date of birth?

“I was born on November,20th,1995.”

Who do you admire the most and why?

“I admire both my mother and father because they taught me how to be independent.”

When is your mothers birthday?

“My mom birthday is May,1,1959”

What is your favorite food?

“My favorite food is Mac and chesse.

What is your favorite color?

“My favorite color is green.”

What is some of your future goals?

“To be able to go to college and get a degree.”

What sports do you play?

“I play basketball.”

How many siblings do you have?

“I have 3 siblings.”

What is your dream car?

“My dream car is a Jeep Straight 8.”

What is your favorite Tv show?

“My favorite show is Martin and The NBA Summer League”

What is your favorite shoe Brand?

“My favorite shoe brand is Nike and Jordan.”

What is your favorite song?

“My favorite song is Gucci Gang by Chief Keef.”

What is your favorite Artist?

“My favorite Artist is Lil Wayne,Drake,Chief Keef and Wiz Khalifa and La Capone.”

What are some of your hobbies?

“I play Basketball,Rap sometimes and I play 2k14?

Who is your favorite NBA Player?

“I like Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson.”

Megan Interviews Michele

  1. What is your full name? “My full name is Michele Diane Dodson.”
  2. Where were you born? “I was born in Detroit, Michigan, at Grace Northwest Hospital.”
  3. Where do you live now? “I currently live in Lincoln Park, Michigan.”
  4. What plant would you be if you could be any plant? “I would be an Aloe Vera plant.”
  5. Who is in your family? “In my family, I have a husband, three children, my two parents, two sisters and one brother.”
  6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? “In five years, I see myself having my masters degree in social work, and I see myself working at a job I love.”
  7. Do you like going barefoot or wearing shoes? “I like wearing shoes, but I hate wearing socks.”
  8. Do you have a favorite food? “I really love any kind of cheese.”
  9. Would you rather live in a big city or a small town? “I would rather live in a big city, because of the diversity.”
  10. What was your first job? “My first job was being a hostess at Denny’s.”
  11. Have you ever been to a foreign country? “I have been to Windsor and Toronto in Canada.”
  12. Do you like older or newer houses? “I live older houses that are in good condition.”
  13. Do you have any career goals, and if so, what are they? “ I want to be a social worker, especially one who does community service work.”
  14. What is your favorite movie? “I love any movies by the Coen brothers.”
  15. If you were to get a tattoo, what would you get? “If I were to get another tattoo, I would get a Chrysanthemum on my stomach.”

Sex, Cookies, and Money

Every Thursday this month, a group of teenagers gathers at the Dedicated to Make a Change clubhouse to talk about sex, eat cookies, and get paid. This is Prevent and Prevail. Prevent and Prevail was started to educate youth ages 12-21 on how to prevent HIV, and the topics covered have branched out from there. Continue reading

Get ready for Give OUT Day 2014!

May 15th, 2014 is our annual Give OUT Day for Prevent & Prevail! Give OUT Day is a national day for groups and organizations that support the TBLGQ community to raise money for their work. For our celebration of Give OUT Day, we team up with the Jim Toy Community Center to raise money for Prevent & Prevail, our innovative peer-facilitated HIV prevention and education program. Please help us end the spread of HIV/AIDS in Washtenaw County by supporting and sharing our campaign. Visit our official campaign page to donate: http://giveout.razoo.com/story/Washtenaw-Rainbow-Action-Project-Wrap.

For more information, check out our Facebook event and the Give Out Day website.

Link

Earn $60 with Prevent & Prevail WHO: Prevent & Prevail is for people between 11 and 18 years WHAT: Prevent & Prevail hosts open discussions of sex, empowerment, identity, STIs and HIV with a focus on well-rounded knowledge about HIV prevention. WHERE: Meetings are held at the Dedicated to Make a Change Clubhouse. 104 South Huron Street. Ypsilanti gail@dedicatedtomakeachange.com for information WHEN: January 14, 21, 28, February 4, 11 from 6:15-8:15 P.M. WHY: Two Reasons. Prevent & Prevail was created, by youth for peers, to give accurate information to address the statistic that youth between 12-23 are at the highest risk of HIV infection in Washtenaw County. Everyone needs money. Earn $60.00. Participants are paid $5/hour to attend Prevent & Prevail sessions. Pay will be received for each session at the end of that session. There is an additional $10 bonus available at the end of the program for participants who attend all six sessions.

Experience with Prevent and Prevail

During these sessions at prevent and prevail I have learned a lot of new things. We talked about safe sex,what causes pregnancy , how to avoid it, the different forms of birth control , just things that we were not learning in school. There was people from ages 19 and under in the room besides the facilitators. Nobody in the room was judging each other we were all very anxious to see what one another had to say. The things we talked about was confidential, and you did not have to speak about anything personal. While we were doing this program for two hours a day, we got 10 dollars at the end , if you behaved well. We all were able to be together in a room as random teens who wants to know about how to be safe. It actually made a big impact on myself joining this program and I’m glad did. Now I know how to protect myself at all times, and make smart decisions.

Our Clubhouse

our-clubhouse

Come on by, Sit a few, Share a cookie, See our Clubhouse.
104 South Huron Ave
Ypsilanti 48197

Define Your Own Terms

The first need of the people is to define there own terms.

When i was born i was considered black , When i die i will be black.

When I was little i was considered a little girl , when I grown up i will be a Woman.

When my mom named me, my name was Kwaylin,When people ask my name i Say Kwaylin , Why because i define my own terms. People do not know whom i am. But are very quick to comment on the word Kwaylin . To me Kwaylin is a black girl, who will soon turn into a woman,she is beautiful,intelligent,outgoing,and a christian with big dreams. I refuse to have somebody else define who I am, beacause at the end of the day only God can judge who i am.

Hope Scholarship Program and Me

HOPE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM AND ME

Posted on November 26, 2013

I have been a part of the hope scholarship program for a month now and it is really an awesome project. Most kids can’t really find something to do, that’s legal, makes money, something to do after school, that’s fun or helping them out in their lives. Being in high school in Ypsilanti there is not enough support out here for the teens , that want to make money and get educated. Working with the Hope Scholar Ship program makes earning money and getting educated possible. Continue reading

PREVENT & PREVAIL, SESSION #2

The second session of Prevent & Prevail brought new participants, new strategies and new knowledge to our groups. Our facilitators met on Monday to review and practice their lesson plans before returning on Wednesday to teach.

After dividing into groups, the facilitators reviewed the rules and conduct agreements created the previous week before going into more in-depth discussions of sexuality, gender, contraception and reproductive health. Icebreakers, interactive games, conversations and laughter helped foster group connection and encourage participants to ask questions.

Tomorrow is Session #3, where we’ll be talking about bullying, relationships, relational power dynamics, and consent. We’re more convinced than ever of the need for the knowledge and space provided by Prevent & Prevail, and we look forward to telling you how it goes.

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU

Thank you to everyone who voted for Dedicated to Make a Change. The Chase small business wanted 250 votes; we had 241. Just missed the 11:59 deadline.

We are honored you voted for us. Please continue to follow the change everyday youth do to create a world filled with learning, safety, hope, and kindness. And if you, like Chase Bank, happen to have $250,000 and want to review our application, please let us know! :)

PREVENT & PREVAIL, SESSION #1

Last night, DTMAC hosted the first official session of Prevent & Prevail, our comprehensive, peer-facilitated HIV/AIDS prevention program. After weeks of preparation and practice, and an introductory meeting for participants, we were finally ready to begin. Our teen facilitators came in with a lot of energy and excitement, a little bit of nerves, and the support of the chaperones and of Gail and Jorge.

After introducing everyone, we divided our group of participants by age and hosted discussion sessions to go over our grounding vocabulary – the words and terms we use to talk about HIV and other STIs along with gender, sex, sexuality and identity. The facilitators also worked with participants to develop their own set of ground rules and create a group agreement to maintain a conversational space that feels safe, open and healthy. Having the freedom to develop and contribute to that agreement helps participants to own their own space and encourages them to hold themselves and their peers accountable for sustaining a respectful and compassionate environment.

The session went really well! The participants were all able to articulate the new knowledge they were walking away with, and a lot of healthy first steps were taken towards creating the kind of rapport between facilitators and participants that is going to make Prevent & Prevail successful. Facilitators and chaperones met after the session with Gail and Jorge to reflect and plan for next week. We’re excited to dive deeper into all our topics, and we look forward to keeping you updated.

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

LATE NIGHT SHIVERS

I saw a small light in the parking lot. It was a very dark night. It was raining and I started to hear chanting, of strange words. All of a sudden I saw Zar’Reia she was holding a light. She was very scared because she had just got off work. Nobody was around so she thought she was fine, all of a sudden she started to hear quiet voices. Zar’Reia stopped and took a deep breath, and panicked. Whose there she asked? It was silent, so without hesitation she took off running.  She ran all the way until she got home, she went home sighed and jumped right in her bed and went to sleep.

When I heard the loud chanting, stopped paused and noticed that Zar’Reia was gone . I cried and said please don’t hurt me , show yourself . A tall white guy, he was trying to rob me, I said what do you want? He said your purse, i said okay follow me, he followed me. As soon as he started walking behind me, I ran back to Zar’Reia’s house climbed in the window and went right to bed.

Kwaylin Coats

LATE NIGHT SHIVERS

I saw a small light in the parking lot. It was a very dark night. It was raining and I started to hear chanting, of strange words. All of a sudden I saw Zar’Reia she was holding a light. She was very scared because she had just got off work. Nobody was around so she thought she was fine, all of a sudden she started to hear quiet voices. Zar’Reia stopped and took a deep breath, and panicked. Whose there she asked? It was silent, so without hesitation she took off running.  She ran all the way until she got home, she went home sighed and jumped right in her bed and went to sleep.

When I heard the loud chanting, stopped paused and noticed that Zar’Reia was gone . I cried and said please don’t hurt me , show yourself . A tall white guy, he was trying to rob me, I said what do you want? He said your purse, i said okay follow me, he followed me. As soon as he started walking behind me, I ran back to Zar’Reia’s house climbed in the window and went right to bed.

Kwaylin Coats

 

HOPE SCHOLARSHIP IS GOOD FOR ME…

Being in HOPE scholarship is good for me because I can learn things that I never new before. Hope scholarship helps me and not get in trouble. I am learning how to be smarter with my money and save. Also I can be a kid and a young adult at the same time. These are the reasons i enjoy and the things I learned from being here.

Hope scholarship helps me stay busy and not get in trouble. When I say that I mean by coming here I cannot be out on the streets doing what I am not supposed to. I have a place to be when I get angry and/or whatever instead of being on the streets. Also keeping myself entertained on the side. This kind of might not explain what I learned but honestly I have learned a lot because its teaching me to be a young individual that is responsible for my actions instead of a young individual who doesn’t own up to them.

Lastly I am learning how to be smart with money and save. When i have money I usually always spend it and never have any left but now it’s to the point where i still have money because I save. By putting money in the bank I don’t always want to spend, spend, spend like some people say out of site out of mind. It’s better for me to put up money for up coming events so i don’t have to ask my mom. I am so very glad and happy to be in the hope scholarship because if I wasn’t I don’t think I would have managed any of this.

ZarReia Brand

KWAYLIN COATS

Hello, My name is Kwaylin Coats and I am a freshman at Ypsilanti Community High school. Im The Oldest out of all my siblings. Im currently staying with my mom & two little brothers . My favorites are and movies , Hanging out with my friends “fab four”. I am a singer,dancer , and do part time modeling for John Casablancas Modeling Agency.

I have a job, I am apart of the Hope Scholarship program. I first started off by coming once in the summer with a friend of mine, Zar-Reia, to an Dedicated To Make A Change event. On my first day I came just to check everything out and to see if I liked it. Everybody here was just really kind and friendly to me, I felt welcomed. Now were back in school and working with the Hope Scholarship Program. Everyday after school, I come to the Clubhouse to work. We do lots of fun things here, but I’m also learning while having fun and getting paid . I’m really glad to have met Gail, she is helping me out a lot with learning how to be a successful young lady.

 

K- karate was a big part of my life when I was younger

W- when i was grow up i want to be successful

A-Attitude is a huge thing I have to work on

Y- yellow is a color that best fits me

L- love is my most strongest trait

I- Intelligent girls , are always the best ones

N- Not Trying , is always the worst mistake .

Kwaylin-Coats

A picture of Kwaylin to accompany her introduction

MY EXPERIENCE SUNDAY AT PREJUDICE TO PRIDE

My experience, at Prejudice to Pride struggles for Equality and how the LGBT community is affected by bullying, homelessness, and the legal system, was I learned things I did not know.  I had a good time. The day  wasn’t boring but at the same time it wasn’t super exciting. Being there taught me somethings but not much because I already knew most of what was being talked about. The topics where: Bullying, and that subject was talked about by Gail Wolkoff and Jim Toy. They talked about how bullying is bad. She shared it is the adults responsibility to protect youth.  I think bullying is bullying, cyber bullying included, is awful.

The second topic was homeless. Heather Steenrod talked about the work of the Ozone House and how they protect kids. She also talked about LGBTQ kids and the percentages of them with no home. I’ve been to the Ozone House in Ypsilanti and it was a good safe place to be.

Lastly, Bethany and Scott T. Jason talked to us about legal rights. Bethany talked to us about health rights and Scott talked to us about taxes.  I was falling asleep because what they were saying did not have anything to do with me.

The best part of the day was the cookies! I got to bring a plate of cookies and fruit home with me.

Zar-Reia Brand

PREVENT & PREVAIL TRAINING #3

Prevent & Prevail had a pretty information-dense session this week. Our trainers brought in all their expertise and our facilitators took in a lot of new knowledge along with a more in-depth understanding of information they were already familiar with.

First, Chloe presented information about birth control methods. We compared the different characteristics of different categories and kinds of birth control and talked about the strategic, economic and cultural factors that go into deciding which kinds of birth control will work for a particular person or couple. She also provided information about abortion, including research and statistics that helped create a better understanding of how those same factors influence decisions about abortion too. Over the course of both presentations, she made sure facilitators were also learning about skills for facilitating conversations about controversial topics and making everyone in the room feel heard and respected.

After Chloe, Jorge talked about STIs, STDs and HIV. He created a chart demonstrating known and possible risks for several of the most common STIs and how they can be contracted, then went into detail about the ways someone can (and cannot) contract HIV, and what the current medical picture for the diagnosis and treatment of HIV looks like. He led what can be an uncomfortable discussion with compassion and humor, and showed how charts like the one he used can help clarify information when there’s a lot to get through and a lot to take in.

Every week our facilitators become better-prepared to lead the discussions ahead for Prevent & Prevail. This coming Monday is our final training session before the official sessions start. Tune back in soon to hear about it, and get ready for the start of one of the programs we’re most excited about!

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

DTMAC BIO: ALLISON MELCHER

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Meet Allison Melcher! Allison is the 17-year-old dynamo behind most of the blog posts here. She’s also a facilitator for Prevent & Prevail, and does a variety of other jobs for DTMAC depending on the week, the day and the hour. She’s been part of DTMAC for a long time, and attended two of the NOLA service trips. She attends Eastern Michigan University as part of the Early College Alliance. She’s also worked on a farm and at a library, and there’s really nothing she can’t handle.

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

DTMAC BIO: CHLOÉ GURIN-SANDS

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Chloé Gurin-Sands has been coming in as a trainer for Prevent & Prevail and is a longtime friend and helper with DTMAC. She works at the University of Michigan’s Spectrum Center in support of the university’s TBLGQ community and lives her life as an all-around social justice advocate. She graduated from University of Michigan in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, Gender & Health, and Latino/a Studies.

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

DTMAC BIO: FIONA CHAMNESS

Fiona

Hello DTMAC friends! In the coming weeks we’ll be adding more bios for other DTMAC staff members and affiliates, but I’ll start by introducing myself: I’m Fiona. I’ve been working for DTMAC since July. I create and edit much of our administrative writing and promotional material, including some (but not all) of these blog posts. I also assisted with HOPE Summer Program, am currently among the trainers for Prevent & Prevail, and assist with other tasks as they come up. I’ve lived in Ann Arbor most of my life, and I’ve returned to the city after graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio this past spring. I’m also a writer, poet, songwriter, nanny and bookworm, and I bake a mean loaf of bread. I love my work with DTMAC and I’m so happy to be a part of it. Stay tuned for more bios along with further updates about Prevent & Prevail!

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

ROCK THE BLOCK

This past Saturday, September 14th, the Corner Health Center hosted its third annual block party in Ypsilanti. Dedicated to Make a Change had a table at the event along with the Ozone House, the Ypsilanti library, We Got Your Back, and the sheriff’s department. There was also music, food, airbrush tattoos, a photo booth, and games: all for free. Rock the Block was a fun way to get to know what organizations exist for youth in Ypsilanti.  Last year Dedicated to Make a Change worked with the Corner Health Center to provide peer to peer AIDS information sessions and we continue to work with the Corner Health Center as a way to become more involved with Ypsilanti.

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.

AN INVITATION FROM DEDICATION TO MAKE A CHANGE TO YOU

All youth, ages 13-18,

are invited to join Dedicated to Make a Change, L3C on our 8th Service Experience to New Orleans,  

April 6 – 13 or April 26 – May 6, 2014

The Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans was one of the hardest hit communities, from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The storm displaced almost all of its residents. To this day, the community still has not been rebuilt and residents are still not in their homes. Our goal is simple; to change the hopeless attitude in the community to hopefulness.

For more information contact Gail by text or phone: 734 218 2953 or gail@dedicatedtomakeachange.com

To earn and receive the most financial help, sign up by November 15, 2013.

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PREVENT & PREVAIL, TRAINING #2

The second Prevent & Prevail training dove straight in to work on some of the most important skills our facilitators will be using during the Prevent & Prevail sessions. Learning to effectively facilitate group discussions is an involved process, and the youth facilitators at DTMAC care about doing it right. This week, they heard from Jim Toy, longtime activist, facilitator and leader in the Ann Arbor TBLGQ community.

Jim talked about the CLARA method of successful facilitation: Center, Listen, Affirm, Respond. He also led a discussion about what makes a good discussion and what makes a good facilitator – what questions to ask, how to manage group dynamics, how to handle difficult moments and controversial topics – based in his decades of experience hosting hard conversations about gender and sexuality.

After Jim spoke, Gail provided some crucial information about the ways in which participants’ past and present experiences of abuse, assault and other violence can affect the dynamic of any conversation about sexuality and sexual education, and shared strategies for supporting participants and creating a safer space for discussion.

Fiona then went on to hold a discussion about expressions of sexuality geared toward providing a broad, inclusive, affirming atmosphere in which participants can ask questions. She also gave some context on self-education among youth on sexual topics – where most young people are getting their information, what guidance they are and are not receiving, and what support they’re most likely to need in sorting through the information they find independently.

Next week, Gail and Chloe Gurin-Sands will go over important information about STDs, HIV prevention and sexual health. The further we get into our training sessions, the more our youth facilitators feel confident and well-prepared to serve as a resource for their peers. Keep checking in to hear what happens next!

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility. 

PREVENT & PREVAIL, TRAINING #1

On Monday night, our youth facilitators had their first training session for Prevent & Prevail. For the next three Mondays, they’ll be meeting to talk, train and prepare for this fall’s Prevent & Prevail sessions. At Prevent & Prevail, they’ll be hosting discussions for other youth about HIV prevention and related topics, providing a safe and informed space for young people to get the resources they need to help curb the spread of HIV among adolescents and young adults.

The first training was full of laughs, good questions and moving testimony. Jorge Guzman began the training with a history lesson on the beginnings of HIV and the AIDS crisis, through the lens of his own work in the 1980s and 1990s with AIDS activist organizations in San Francisco. He spoke of the grassroots effort it took to support the first generation affected by the disease, of the difficulty of finding any support or help at all and the ways the community rallied when government and the medical establishment left sufferers behind. The work he and his friends and colleagues did in those days is nothing short of extraordinary, and it provided both context and inspiration to the work we hope to accomplish at Prevent & Prevail.

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Next, Fiona Chamness and Jennifer Pan gave a short presentation on the idea of the spectrum as it relates to sexuality and gender identity, and all the different ways we have of conceptualizing orientation, gender and attraction. The more you think about it, the more complicated it becomes, and the youth facilitators asked smart, challenging questions that helped further understanding and push the conversation forward. These are some of the hardest questions for youth to find informed, compassionate spaces to bring up, and we look forward to the discussions the facilitators will be able to host about them during Prevent & Prevail.

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Next week, we’ll be hearing from Jim Toy, one of the foremost TGLB activists in the Ann Arbor area, and talking about relationships and communication. We can’t wait to let you know what happens, and we can’t wait to see how Prevent & Prevail grows and expands this year. Talk to you soon!

Dedicated to Make a Change’s mission is to connect youth with the world to promote peace, greater understanding and a love of learning. We provide an experiential learning environment to learn justice, diversity, poverty, and social responsibility.