Dominic Buffa – Youth worker & Community Liaison
Dominic has been working with Dedicated to Make a Change for the past three years. He started off a student volunteer, then moved onto a 400 hour internship, and then upon completion of his Bachelors in Social Work, was hired as the agency’s youth worker and community liaison. Dominic is dedicated to the academic success and mental wellness of teenagers in Ypsilanti. He always enters and leaves the clubhouse with a smile. “Everyday I come in, I’m excited to work with America’s newest generation of scholars, leaders, and earthshakers.”
Dominic is in the process of receiving his LLBSW. He plans to someday open a restaurant that employs youth, utilizes resources from the community, and promotes art and wellness for people in Ypsilanti.
Cleo Ku – IT and Consulting
Cleo has been working with Educate Youth/Dedicated to Make a Change since he was 14 years old. Now a junior at Eastern Michigan University, he still has a passion for service and improving the lives of others. He has been a participant, intern, tutor, office manager, and volunteer at EY/DTMAC, and co-created our sex ed program, Prevent and Prevail. Today, he is a Public Health major with the intent of completing an MD/PhD joint degree in Epidemiology post-graduation. When he’s not doing computer work for Educate Youth, he works at the EMU LGBT Resource Center, walks dogs as a volunteer at the Humane Society of Huron Valley, and chaperones Prevent and Prevail. Hobbies include writing about himself in the third person.
Gail Wolkoff – Executive Director
Gail is an educator who resigned from teaching and administration in May 2010 to pursue her desire to develop an educational program that connects youth with the world and to promote a love of learning. In Fall 2011, Gail started Dedicated to Make a Change, L3C (DTMAC). In January 2017, Educate Youth 501c3 was started with the mission of increasing the Ypsilanti Community School high school graduation rate and post-high school plan, one student at a time. All of the youth programs and classes were moved from DTMAC to Educate Youth.
Gail has a rich and varied history as an educator. At the Evergreen State College, Olympia Wa, Gail studied Earth Science and Social Work. She earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching in 1985 from the University of Pittsburgh. Gail was invited to teach at the College Learning Center/Campus West, CLL/CW, in Buffalo New York. She taught in a self-contained 3/4th grade. Gail is proud of her inner city work in Buffalo, NY; she worked with the same group of students’ for four years before moving to The Nichols School. She helped the students attending CLL/CW drastically improve their standardized test scores — scores went from four to five years below grade level to just below or slightly above grade level. This was her first introduction to the inequities within the world of education. At Nichols School, Gail was the science teacher in 5th and 8th grades. In the mid-1990’s Gail moved to Ypsilanti for love. She worked at Greenhills School, Ann Arbor, for 17 years. Gail was the team leader 6th grade for ten years and a 7th- 8th grade a Wellness and Health teacher, and the Director of Service Learning.
Gail has developed and continues to update the following curriculums: HIV education, Drug education, Greenhouse gas experiments, Brown VS Board of Education and the impact for Middle School, Comprehensive Sex Education, Orientation, Expression, Identity 101, to name a few. Gail’s five-year plan is to have Educate Youth be self-sufficient and to continue to have high school graduations. In five years, our first high school graduates will be two years out of college and/or seven years into to the working world.