YOUTHVILLE DETROIT MISSION
To benefit Youth by facilitating effective partnerships.
The Detroit Youth Foundation (DYF) formed in 1999 as an outgrowth of a previous initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Initially, DYF focused on engaging youth, their communities, and organizations that assisted in fostering positive youth development and community change. This was accomplished by re-granting dollars to organizations for program activities to work directly with youth on leadership building, and philanthropy (grant making). Such collaborative efforts worked to improve outcomes for youth. As DYF transitioned to a separate foundation, funding needs were met entirely by the Kellogg Foundation.
In recent years, DYF moved toward change making versus grant making to impact youth developmental outcomes. To create this change, DYF implemented a conceptual and program model called YouthVille Detroit. The goal of this model was to create a safe place for youth by providing program opportunities and personal support. This model was developed in consultation with several youth and family organizations, some of which later became tenant partners in the YouthVille Detroit facility.
Dr. Gerald K. Smith, Founder of YouthVille Detroit, conceived YouthVille Detroit as a youth development center (not just a recreational facility) based on the belief that young people need:
• A Safe Space
• Responsible, caring adults engaged in their lives
• To be intentionally involved in their own development
• Broad supports and opportunities
Communicating the concept of positive youth development as the mission of YouthVille Detroit was a key initiative. The inclusion of youth parents, teachers, school administrators, business leaders, legislators, and the governor brought commitments and enthusiastic support from various stakeholders in the Detroit community and southeastern Michigan.
YouthVille Detroit is more than a youth center—it is a concept, a new approach to developing youth and enhancing their well-being. YouthVille Detroit is the culmination of Dr. Smith’s lifelong commitment to positive youth and community development.