The following bios contain direct responses which were obtained through brief interviews and translated onto text from both current students and active tutors/employees involved in the program. The purpose of these bios are to show the result of the program and to provide students with the opportunity to illustrate their hard work, tell their own stories, and explain their goals in their own voices. The students are categorized by grade year and listed in alphabetical order depending on involvement in the program up to three months.
“Nothings too big if nothings too small”
I’ve been in the program a little over five weeks; I think I work better at the clubhouse online because I like to work online at my own pace.
Gail tries to stay on you when you’re doing your work and she encourages you; I see her as my teacher. The teachers at school aren’t that helpful in school verses here where it’s hands on. Gail talks to me on my level, and is better than teachers at school because I understand more when she talks to me. I learn better with someone like Gail because she’s someone I know versus strangers at school.
So far I’m starting to learn a lot more and I’m not losing focus like I used to. Gym is my favorite subject because I like playing basketball, my brother who passed liked to play basketball.
Here at the program we get to do a lot of stuff you usually wouldn’t do at school, like being able to draw or learning how to paint with your friends for fun. I felt good to be a part of the art because it says Black Lives Matter and that Black people don’t need to be disrespected. I also helped paint “Love is love”; what that says to me is to be more respectful to everyone. With art, sometimes I would draw or paint outside of the clubhouse. My favorite thing I’ve ever drawn is a picture of my brother; when painting I like using the colors red and blue since blue is my brother’s favorite color and red is my favorite color. I think I would like to continue art even after I leave the clubhouse. Even though painting the mural scared me because I had to stand on the ladder, I was still excited because I got to paint the clouds. I’ve also started playing the flute but I think I want to switch to piano because it seems a lot easier for me since I have a piano at home and I have been playing around with it since last year.
For the future, thinking of high school, I think I’d rather be in person for school; I think I would like to go into something like a business because I like the process of making money and money management. Thinking about college, I think I would like to go somewhere close and in state, and I think I would like to study sports broadcasting since I like sports so much.
“Reality is wrong, dreams are for real” – Tupac
I have been in the program for almost 2 months now and it has been a great experience for me. If I wasn’t in the program, I probably would just be at home.
One of the things that I like most about being here is the help that you get with your schoolwork. While I am here, there are people always here to help me with my schoolwork. Everybody here is very friendly, and I really do appreciate all the help I am getting with math. The tutors really help me understand the materials that confuse me. Sometimes my teachers don’t make things simple, so the tutors do a good job in making it all make sense.
In 5 years, I can see myself in the 11th grade, getting my first job and hopefully learning how to drive and getting my driver’s license.
“Reality is wrong, dreams are for real” – Tupac
I have been in the program for four months. I feel good about the program and I enjoy it because I get help with my work and paid to do it. I feel like I have benefitted by being with the program because my grades have improved a lot since last year when I was not in the program.
The art I participated in at the clubhouse is important because of the important messages behind them such as “Love is Love”; I painted “Reality is wrong, dreams are for real by Tupac in the front room of the clubhouse, and I helped with the “ Love is Love” mural, and the mural with Curtis. I had fun while painting with Curtis, we all worked as a team, and I especially feel good because I can go to school and brag about being a part of the murals. My favorite art piece is “Hope” in the front room, above the white board.
In five years, I will have a job and be in the 11th grade at Pioneer Highschool; I will be
working towards getting accepted to Harvard to study law.
“Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee!”
I have been in the program for over 2 months now and I have to say that the program has been a great experience for me. Besides the fact that we get good food everyday, everyone here is extremely friendly and helpful. The tutors and mentors help me with all of my homework and my grades have improved because of it. Also, my peers are funny and supportive and I like everyone here. They are funny and make me laugh a lot. My favorite thing about the program is how helpful the tutors are. When they are not helping me with homework, they are helping me with trying new things and perusing my dreams.
In 5 years, I see myself finishing high school and getting a high school diploma. Then afterwards, I want to go to Eastern Michigan University where eventually, I want to transfer to a law school and become a lawyer. I want to help people who find themselves in trouble. Not only that, I want to offer people counseling services to help them find their way in life. Further in the future I want to adopt 2 kids, a son and daughter and live a long and happy life.
“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth” – Maya Angelou
I have been in the program for a little over a month now and my experience here at Educate Youth has been nice. I have developed trust with people here and I am not someone who typically trust people. I am happy to be here, and I am excited to come here each day. My favorite part of the program is the music lessons. I have always wanted to learn how to play the piano and Educate Youth has given me the opportunity to achieve that goal. Playing the piano has been a fun experience and I am excited to see all my practice pay off.
In 5 years, I can see myself owning my own laundry matt to make some money for myself and my family. Once I make enough money, I would like to move to California and start my own community center in a low-income area. I also have another ambition to play in the NBA one day.
“There is always a tomorrow”
I have been in the program for about a month now and I have had a very positive experience since I have been here. The staff here is very friendly and supportive and the students that I have met here have been very welcoming and helped me feel like I belonged here.
One of my favorite things about the program is how helpful the staff is here. You can tell that the tutors really care about us and the work that we do. Whenever I get confused, they are really good at explaining things in a way that I can understand it. I think it is really cool that I can put Educate Youth on my resume. Also, whenever in need of things such as clothing, food, hygiene products or first aid materials, Educate Youth has it ready for me.
In 5 years, I see myself going to college, particularly the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, or Calvin University, to become a doctor. I’ll have my own apartment with a Husky and a cat and hopefully in a healthy relationship. I also see myself making my own money to be able to provide for myself comfortably. Also, being able to give to the poor or those less fortunate than me.
I have been in the program for about 2 months now and it has been a positive experience for me. Since I’ve been in the program, I have met a lot of new and different people. It is nice to make new friends and engage with different people. My favorite part about being here is that everyone here is very helpful and they are always there whenever you need them. Everyone is very welcoming and very supportive and I am happy to be here.
In 5 years, I will have graduated from high school with my diploma and I am excited to see where life takes me as I find what I am truly passionate about.
EJ is a freshman in high school and has been attending the HOPE program for 3 months. He is growing to enjoy his time at Educate Youth, especially after seeing how his grades have improved since he began attending. He also likes that he can use the stipend he earns to purchase things he’d like.
In 5 years, EJ will have graduated high school. He hopes to be attending college, preferably out of state, to study music.
I have been in the program for about 2 months now and honestly, it has been pretty fun and productive. During my time in this program, my grades have gone up and I find myself being more productive than I have been before. There are people here always ready to help me whenever I ask. My favorite thing about the program is the many opportunities that come along with it. From learning how to paint, to learning test taking strategies that I can use in school. I am looking forward for seeing what else we are going to learn here.
In 5 years, I will have graduated high school and I strive to become an entrepreneur one day. I also see myself with a steady job truck driving, and making a good amount of money to eventually buy my own house and live my life on my terms.
I came into the program in February of last year, so I have been in the program for almost a year. I’ve never really gone to any after school program like this. When I do all my homework here at Educate Youth I feel like I have free time at home to relax. I can also connect with people from different backgrounds, friends, and others I don’t normally get to work with. I feel like the program has prepared me for getting back to school in person. In the past I was a lot more closed minded before entering the program but because of discussions and things we do here I am a lot more open at this moment in time.
I am currently enrolled in classes at Washtenaw Technical Middle College (WTMC) in a program that allows you to take college classes and high school classes. I like school way more now in person because I learned a lot of interpersonal skills when I do interact with people.
Here at the program we got to paint a mural with Curtis Wallace; it was really cool talking and painting with Curtis. It feels good to be a part of something like that because I hadn’t done many projects in the community. I think the mural stands as a sign of unity; all people can see it and have it serve as a symbol of pride.
I’m starting auto mechanics in the fall; I hope in 5 years I will have graduated with my Bachelors degree. Michigan Tech sounds promising right now and I would like to study automotive engineering. I’ve always really liked hand on things, computers, cars, and things like that. I’m not sure where I’ll be but if I’m anywhere close to the program I’d like to come back as a tutor.
“Life is too short to tolerate stuff that doesn’t make you happy” – Rod Wave
I have been involved with Educate Youth for about 2 months, however I have known about it for longer than that. I like being involved in things that are bigger than me, which is one of the reasons why I decided to join the program. So far, my time here has been pretty good. The people here are very nice and funny, I find myself laughing a lot while I am here. I do like that there is tutors always here to help me with my schoolwork, because my teachers that I have now are not really helping me understand the materials.
One of the things that I like most about the program is that I can be who I want to be without any judgement from others. The staff and other students are very supportive of me being my own person. I also do like that transportation is provided.
In 5 years, I see myself going to an HBCU. I have been on a few virtual tours before of some HBCUs and I really like what I saw. I want to go to school to learn how to become a nurse and perhaps move out of state and be able to support myself in every way.
“Life without fear is meaningless, being meaningless is nothing” – Deshawn Chambers
I have been a member of this program for about 4 1/2 years and it has been quite a journey for me. This place has helped me move along with my life and helped me grow into the man that I am today. This program has helped me catch up in classes and has provided a safe place for me to be productive and interactive with others. It has kept me out of the house to encourage me to do new things and find new passions in life to peruse. My favorite part of the program is that the staff not being forceful, rather they are being helpful and help us feel ok when things feel like they aren’t. They respect your space you and help you become the best version of yourself. Also, the field trips are really fun and always a memorable experience.
In 5 years, I’ll be graduating college with a degree in engineering so that I can work on cars and different tech. I would also like to play football. It has always been a passion of mine and a lot of fun to do.
“My main goal is to be an educated black woman”
I have been in this program for three years now and I feel like I can count on this program whenever I need help. This is a great place where I’ve built friendships; ever since I came here my grades have been improving and moving to a place I’d like them to be. My grades have improved a lot compared to before I started. For example, Gail is helping me as well as teaching me. In general she teaches me to be a better person. The purpose of the program is to graduate and find a quiet work space since I can’t work at home. Gail provides that for us and is building us up to become better people.
We participate in different art related projects during our time here. I started doing art because quarantine was boring, I found an outlet through it. I try to keep a positive mindset and whenever I have freetime I like to paint. I also write positive messages around the clubhouse because it’s for anyone that just looks up and can read it. It’s always important to keep a positive mindset. I just truly enjoy art and I’m really good at it when I’m guided through it. My favorite piece is a sunrise with birds because I worked so hard on it. I also love art because of Curtis; he makes it so fun. We started doing art with him around 2019. I originally started blending colors and eventually it transformed into blending a lot more colors into different fazes. When I paint I paint more bible verses than regular words because they speak positivity.
When I graduate high school I’d like to go to school for business, but I also like cosmetology. I see myself having my own business. I wanna take one step at a time. As I’m starting a business, I’d like to continue to grow. One of my biggest goals is to make my parents proud.
I’ve been in the program for three years now; it’s nice and cool that people get help with their school work because not everyone has that opportunity to get free help with school. It’s a great resource that helps with school work.
I think this program helps me be less lazy and be more focused, not just in school but in day to day tasks but it also helps me feel more focused to strive for more in life. Through the program we have the opportunity to visit several different colleges but personally, I thought Bowie and Howard were especially nice.
The program gave me the option to have some form of musical outlet; I’ve been learning to play the flute for a few months about three and a half months.I also have the opportunity to participate in different art projects through the program. My favorite art piece that i’ve done is the waves (see picture). I wanted to paint something and I couldn’t think of anything at the time but the inspiration soon came from a tsunami; basically a huge wave. I feel positive about my painting, but I always see an opportunity or places where I could’ve done better. It serves as a reminder for me to do better in the future. Later on I hope to see my art hung up somewhere in a museum.
In five years I see myself going to college all while searching for a good handful of careers to prepare me for the future and beyond. I also see myself as an artist, an explorer, and someone who researches through languages and cultures while being at those locations. I am currently learning Spanish, but in terms of learning on location, I have nowhere specific in mind, I just wanna go anywhere possible. I would like to study different people and languages, how they function as a whole, how useful they are, how they teach other people, and how people become accustomed to their own languages and to just learn as a whole.
I have been in this program for two years and I like the help that I get here; in the past it was just me doing work at home, and I just didn’t have that much help in the past work wise.
Through the program I’ve had better grades than before, I’ve also met a lot of new people, and I’ve truly enjoyed my time here. The best part of the program is meeting new friends and people that come throughout the program. I also enjoy the college visits we go on; we had the chance to go to Michigan State which I really enjoyed.
The program gave us the opportunity to participate in the mural and I felt good about it as a person to be a part of it. What the mural says to me is that things are going to continue to grow with new things to come. I was also introduced to the saxophone here through the program; I’ve been playing the saxophone for longer than a week but my progress is improving. Honestly, we all love music and having the outlet of music here is a good thing because it introduces people to new things we need in everyday life today.
In five years I would like to get a career in technology and go to school to pursue programming and hands-on technology. I like making programs and things like HTML coding within a specific program for computers.
“You get what you work for…Not what you wish for”
I have been in the program about three and a half years; It’s a really good program. I feel really comfortable being here, I’ve gotten really great opportunities to help the community, and I’ve met a lot of great people. I had never been on any college visits until coming to the program, but through the program I was able to visit the following: Owens College, Wayne State, Bowie State, University of Toledo, and the EMU Rec Center. I’ve also had the opportunity to be featured in several articles and the Educate Youth “Spiritual Warriors” book (See page 10 -LINK-).
Though I only do art here, through this program I realized that you don’t have to be an artist to make good work. In the past I wasn’t really into painting or drawing but once I came here I realized not everyone was an artist and no one judges here.
I was also introduced to other forms of art through the program such as music. I’ve been playing piano since I was 11 but I didn’t take actual lessons until I started coming here. Gail introduced all of us to lessons and instruments since the Ypsi schooling doesn’t have music classes or anything so she brought music to the clubhouse so we could have that music opportunity.
For me, a lot of things have changed and a lot of good things are coming my way because of Educate Youth.
For my five year plan I want to be finished with college, and I want to be a paralegal because my stepmom is a paralegal and I find myself inspired by her work. I would also like to go straight into the workplace after school. I plan on going to Washtenaw because I only need two years for what I want to do.
I’m currently enrolled in American International University online in Atlanta for my Associates degree in business. I work better when I can work on my own in an asynchronous setting since I like to move at my own pace. If I did school in person I would have to do school in the morning, and it fits better in my schedule to work at night.
I started the H.O.P.E. afterschool with Educate Youth in 7th grade; I think the program helped me accept the fact that homework has to get done and it installed that discipline. Gail teaches things that we usually don’t get taught in school during the summer program. For example, before the program I had no clue there were more than two genders, but now I am more informed.
The volunteers that come to the program genuinely come to try to help which was encouraging. As I said before, Gail allowed a free space to discuss topics not usually looked
at in school such as gender communication and other important conversations we should be having. Personally, this program helped improve my own speech and shaped me as an individual person. I’m able to be myself a lot more now; I started closed off but now I’m out, starting conversations, engaging with others, and laughing and other things.
In present time, I am still partially involved in the program as I’ve created a new five year plan for myself. I will not lose myself again; a year ago I was in dark space and I had to pull myself out of there. I owe it to myself to not go back down that road and to push through. When I graduate in 2023 I would like to take a gap year, get my teaching degree, move to Texas, and go to school for cosmetology.
I am a senior at Wayne State majoring in NeuroScience; I got into this research program called “ReBUILD Detroit” which prepares students for conducting research; we then had to connect with a research mentor over the summer, and present it at a research conference. Originally, I was contemplating going into biomedical engineering but since I got into the research program I decided to switch to neuroscience.
I started Educate Youth freshman year of highschool until my senior year, then I came back and started mentoring my junior year of college. When I first started the program it provided me with a space to focus and do homework outside of school and converse with other people. The best part of the program was the overall support and connections I gained from other people. English was not my best subject but through the support, guidance, and tutoring of the program tutors I was able to become a better writer.
The program shaped me as a person by providing me with resources and allowing me to be involved in different discussions that include current events or topics we usually don’t talk about elsewhere. The program allowed us to discuss what happens and get more familiar with our society. It helped me have those discussions and be willing to have those discussions. It helped me to better support others and have guided conversations.
When I became a tutor I realized helping the children was something that I would like to continue doing so I eventually became a peer mentor at my university; I help to direct them rather than answering questions.
I am still currently involved in the program and I plan on staying on as a tutor. As for my new five year plan, I’m planning on taking a gap year then I’m going to med school to become a pediatrician. I am also thinking of working in the hospital as a senior in med school.