Our Downtown Boxing Gym students are wrapping up a jam-packed summer of learning, fun, and growth filled with lessons they will carry with them for a lifetime. More than two dozen of our students took part in Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT), a citywide summer jobs program that trains and employs young adults ages 14 to 24 for up to 120 hours.
Our students served as literacy mentors, provided academic support to fellow students during math tutoring, were junior coaches as part of our athletics program, and provided support during our summer electives, our “Drop Everything and Read” program, and Field Trip Fridays. The icing on the cake? They received paychecks for their work and the chance to earn up to $1,400 each.
“I really enjoyed mentoring and helping younger students like me find ways to succeed,” said Garrett, a sophomore at U of D Jesuit. “GDYT helped me build skills to be a good boss someday.”
“Being a mentor helped me learn important things for life like scheduling, preparation, and being productive,” added Keenan, a sophomore at Martin Luther King High school. “Participating in GYDT also helped me build confidence and taught me to be more comfortable in a leadership role with my peers.”
In addition to the satisfaction of mentoring their peers and helping younger students learn and grow, our GDYT students gained valuable professional work experience in a familiar and comfortable environment.
“Our GDYT participants were able to build deeper connections with DBG’s coaches and our younger students,” said Kevin Holman, DBG’s high school coordinator who oversaw the program. “They also had the opportunity to work on hard and soft skills like typing, work reflections, accountability, time management, workplace boundaries, peer mediation, communication, collaboration.”
Serving as mentors gave our student leaders the perspective of being in their coaches shoes and understanding what it’s like to be a staff member at DBG. High school students still had the chance to participate in our summer electives, field trips and free time activities – everything from insect explorers to music, art, cooking, building a business, sports science, financial literacy and more.
“I loved being part of this program because I was able to make decisions for myself and my peers and contribute in a new way,” said Antonia, a sophomore at Regina High School who served as a cheer coach. She has won national awards for cheer and loves sharing those skills with our younger students who look up to her.
“All of the high school students matured over the course of the summer,” Homan added. “There were many small moments of compassion, understanding, patience and guidance that were shared between the elementary and high school students.”
Pursuing Healthcare at Henry Ford
One DBG high school student, King, took part in an on-site program at Henry Ford Health in Detroit. The RYSE MED program, which stands for Readying Youth Scientists for Excellence in Medicine, Health Equity and Discovery, aims to help students with diverse backgrounds become future healthcare professionals in the Detroit area.
King was able to shadow physicians, learn medical skills, explore healthcare careers, develop college success skills and more.
“King expressed a new interest in studying dermatology after high school,” said Chay Buckner, our college and career readiness coordinator. “Through a partnership with one of our longtime volunteers, we were able to get him connected to this internship opportunity.”
The Grow Detroit’s Young Talent partnership impacted everyone at DBG from our youngest third graders, to high schoolers, to seasoned staff. Our staff helped GDYT students learn to implement hard and soft skills like time management, listening, communication, leadership, mentorship, self-reflection, and more. Most of all, this partnership provided an opportunity to highlight one of DBG’s core missions: mentorship.