$ 380,000 grant supports after-school program ideas for teens in Washtenaw, Livingston Counties

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Teens from Washtenaw and Livingston counties received funding for their after-school program ideas.

Grants were awarded by Generator Z, a think tank launched in 2020 to help teens reinvent extracurricular activities.

The platform awarded 93 grants totaling more than $ 4 million. The Washtenaw and Livingston County programs received $ 381,846.

Generator Z, run by paid teens, focuses primarily on teen programs in Southeast Michigan and western New York State. Participants were asked how they would reinvent the future of after-school in a changing world and their ideas were turned into activities by local providers.

Although the program was not created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it escalated at the right time, said Abir Ali, a Detroit resident, co-creator and director of the initiative of the organization.

Each after-school program focuses on a topic generated by adolescents, such as growth and well-being or mental, social and emotional health. All groups will have one year to bring their idea to life after school, while providing updates via Generator Z website.

The programs funded in Washtenaw County are:

  • Group of girls to Ann Arbor, who received $ 50,000 to run a program called “Owning Our Voice, Inspiring Change”. The program will train a group of young leaders to lead discussions and activities surrounding social and emotional support.
  • The Student Advocacy Center to Ypsilanti, who received $ 63,900 to create a flexible, youth-led after-school space that will provide homework help, social connections, self-advocacy and more.
  • Youth Arts Alliance to Ypsilanti, which received $ 33,000 for a three-part project for adolescents affected by the foster care system. The project will include public artwork, artistic practice, and leadership and entrepreneurship skills building.
  • the Regents of the University of Michigan to Ypsilanti, who received $ 19,709 to run a program called “Telling It” that will use the expressive arts as tools for healing and exploration of identity.
  • the Ypsilanti District Library, which received $ 24,000 to create take-home activities that allow teens to learn skills and get creative.
  • Neutral zone to Ann Arbor, who received $ 30,000 to start a group for young men of color to connect with their peers, organize events and build community, skills and activism.
  • Growing hope to Ypsilanti, which will use a grant of $ 40,857 for a teen-led program aimed at making a difference in their local food system.

The programs that receive funding in Livingston County are:

  • HERO Hartland Youth Center, who received $ 14,000 to commission the greenhouse at the center. The center will work with a senior center and a garden club to grow and use the produce.
  • The Ruche teenage center to Howell, who received $ 20,000 to fund Creative Labz, a totally convenient creative space for the youth and adolescent center.
  • the Howell Nature Center, which received $ 30,000 for the Outdoor Teen Adventure Club. This group will focus on personal growth and well-being through outdoor activities.
  • North Star Scope to Pinckney, who received $ 56,380 to create a safe space for adolescents with health concerns to build community.

The funds for each group were determined by the cost of the idea, and no organization could request more than half of its organizational budget, Ali said.

The grants are supported by Lakeshore Connections and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.

The teenage groups in Wayne, St. Clair, Oakland, Monroe and Macomb counties also received grants. Learn more about programs aimed at adolescents in these other counties. here.

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