With new year comes renewed energy, glimpse of what's to come

What does the new year mean for you? A fresh start? A renewed opportunity to make good and be good?

If you’re anything like me, a new year starts with a list. Goals for the year, things I plan to do, places I plan to go, and skills I plan to learn before it’s all over.

Resolutions for a new year

The Parade Company shares with Communications Officer Krista Jahnke (left) hopes for 2013, including creating more magical memories through The Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest, a part of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and innovating its educational programs.

Call them resolutions if you like. That word often feels too intangible to me. A list is concrete, pen on paper, stuff that will happen, boxes that will be checked off.

At the Foundation, there is plenty to put on that list. We’re smack in the middle of a strategic planning process, so 2013 will bring a reexamination of our work to improve the lives of kids in Detroit. It will also bring an exciting transition, as we say good-bye to Carol Goss, who retires as president & CEO at the end of the year, and welcome COO Tonya Allen as the Foundation’s fifth president and CEO.

And so in that spirit, we polled some of our grantee partners from the last year and asked them which items they would put on their 2013 lists. What has them excited about the new year? What things are they committing to accomplish by the time 2014 rolls around?

Below are some of their answers. Let’s peer into Detroit’s future together and see what’s in store for Detroit in the months ahead.

Dan Bandrowski, co-director Wellspring: Wellspring is looking to expand its reach in 2013 by placing an addition on its existing Wellspring Center facility. We typically have 50 to 100 youth on our waiting list for our Academic & Recreation Program and an expanded facility would help us to reach these youth. We are also excited about the collaboration between Brightmoor and Cody Rouge neighborhoods that has been spearheaded through The Skillman Foundation. Beginning in January of 2013, a collaboration between Wellspring (Brightmoor) and Developing Kids, Peeps and Don Bosco (Cody Rouge) will deepen an impact on youth through providing Wellspring's math and reading Kumon curriculum to youth affiliated with these organizations. We are excited about building community around the lives of youth while providing effective programming. 

David Cherry, City Connect Detroit: City Connect Detroit is excited about the number of youth who will secure meaningful, paid employment experiences in Detroit this year, especially through the Grow Detroit's Young Talent program, which we anticipate will serve more than 1,500 youth. 

Denise Dalrymple, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan: We at GSSEM have a great program called Journeys that is helping girls learn how to be leaders “by doing” in a girl-led, cooperative environment. GSSEM is also excited about our new series and events offerings in 2013, including the Be A Best Friend First anti-bullying series. For 2013, we have a new website and an e-newsletter to enable everyone to catch up on all that we are doing.

Jasmin DeForrest,Special Events Director, The Parade Company: In 2013, The Parade Company looks forward to creating more magical memories for our community and continuing to innovate our educational programs such as the “Parade of Arts” Summer Camp and The Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest to make a positive impact on youth across the Detroit area. 

Brooke Franklin, Detroit Chamber of Commerce: As 2013 ushers in, we are preparing for collective impact. We will introduce the opportunity for business leaders to dive deeper into education reform by considering becoming board members for potential new charter schools or partnership advisory boards that we help schools to build. We will look at where our greatest needs lie with our talent pool and ask our business leaders to consider providing programming or direction on how best to align workforce and entrepreneurship with our schools. We are excited about our evolution as a community of educators and business leaders. The Education Engagement Project is a great representation of the collective will it takes to "raise a child.”

Barbara Israel, Detroit Urban Research Center: The Detroit Urban Research Center’s policy advocacy workshops and mobilization efforts will provide tools to mobilize youth and adults to work together for lasting change – from blight-free neighborhoods to schools where children can learn and thrive. The commitment, dedication and enthusiasm of the staff, parent leaders and students we have met and are working with in schools have us feeling energized and hopeful. They see the light and promise of what a quality education can provide for students and for our city's future.

Lisa Johanon, Executive Director, Central Detroit Christian CDC: We have an interior designer who is heading up teams to do bedroom makeovers for all the children in our tutoring program. The kids are very excited! We are also looking forward to more and more teens becoming a part of our youth program AND helping them get jobs. 

La’Leatha Ryan Spillers, Director of Marketing and Communications, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan DetroitIn 2013, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit looks forward to increasing the number of young people positively impacted through one-to-one mentoring. We are excited about holding ourselves accountable to metro Detroit’s young people by providing increased educational related success, helping young people avoid risky behaviors and improving socio-emotional competency. This goes a long way toward impacting communities. By increasing self-confidence and competence through one-to-one relationships, we will increase graduation rates and ultimately create positive and productive citizens for our community’s future. 

Mike Tenbusch, VP of Educational Preparedness, United Way for Southeastern Michigan: I'm excited because the first graduating class of the turnaround schools at Cody and Osborn are graduating this spring. As juniors, they gained almost a full point from the year before on the ACT. I'm excited to see what our neighborhoods and city will look like as more and more young people are given the opportunity to discover and use their God-given talents and passions.

Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit: I am excited for a global Detroit, one that embraces immigrants, refugees, emerging ethnic groups, and diversity in all its forms. We can and will be the most welcoming city on the planet. 

Karen Tyler-Ruiz, Senior Director of Financial Stability, United Way for Southeastern Michigan: In 2013, we look forward to launching a new Greater Detroit Centers for Working Families site with Henry Ford Community College. This new collaboration will assist individuals and families reach financial stability and educational success by offering budget coaching, financial supports and workforce training. It is just one of several initiatives that will help us reach our Big Hairy Audacious Goal -- Making Greater Detroit a top five place to live and work by 2030.

In the comments or on Twitter using hashtag #DetroitKids2013, tell us: what will you make happen for kids in Detroit in 2013? 

-- Krista Jahnke is communications officer at The Skillman Foundation. Contact her at kjahnke@skillman.org.

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