Detroit Youth Emerges as Leader in YMCA's Youth In Government Program
This February a delegation of Detroit youth from the YMCA’s I Can Achieve program participated in the State Youth In Government (YIG) Conference in Lansing. Both programs were made possible in part through support from the Skillman Foundation.
During the four-day conference, YMCA-Detroit YIG students were able to serve as lobbyists and members of the press corps, house and senate, and national issue committees. Students got hands-on experience practicing democracy in the Capitol Building where they wrote and amended bills, petitioned in mock trials, and sat in committee meetings.
Four outstanding participants were awarded at a closing ceremony: Dionte Gardner of Detroit Leadership Academy, Matthew Kinsey of Renaissance High School, Tierra Moore of Southfield High School, and DaVante Cole of Cody High School.
DaVante Cole took home the top award of “Statesman” for his focused and earnest participation, and was invited to take part in YMCA’s National Advocacy Days in Washington DC. Here, he attended legislative visits with Y-leadership to discuss prominent issues in Detroit’s communities. The Y is extremely proud of DaVante, and all students, who designed, advocated and spoke to important issues.
Like most participants in the I Can Achieve program, DaVante has endured many trials and tribulations, but always uses his challenges as motivation. His transition through high school is a prime example. DaVante started his freshman year at Renaissance High School but quickly found he wasn’t meeting the expectations needed to succeed. He failed out of school with a 0.7 GPA. Determined to earn a diploma, he enrolled at Cody High and began putting his best foot forward.
Now in his senior year, DaVante holds a 3.0 GPA. He gets a lot of slack from his peers for always “speaking up” or being “too smart.” His hunger and tenacity for success is apparent. DaVante participates in the I Can Achieve program year-round. He regularly travels by bus and is always the first to show up. He has become a leader among his peers and can bring resolution within groups. He balances his studies and participation in extracurricular activities well, and has become a great navigator in seeking out programs and opportunities that will enrich his life.
DaVante’s goal is to help others, and he is well on his way to achieving this. To date, he has been accepted to Florida Memorial, Western Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University and Northern Michigan University. He plans on pursuing a degree in Pre-Nursing at MSU, contingent upon additional financial scholarships.
DaVante Cole is a star example of what youth can achieve when they are met with support and opportunity. We know he is capable of tremendous things – and most importantly, he does too.
ABOUT OUR GUEST BLOGGER
Kiylise Crutchfield is Director of Outreach for the Metro Youth YMCA. A Detroit native, Kiylise has worked in youth development for over a decade, helping youth aspire and plan for their dream life. She received a Master of Science in Education, Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications with a minor in Ethnic Studies from Bowling Green State University. Kiylise is a former youth participant in the I Can Achieve program and a prime example of what the program aspires to do in the lives of Detroit youth.