Youth Development

Focus: HOPE has been driving successful youth development for years through it’s out of school time and summer programming.Youth programming works to guide community youth to the highest levels of personal achievement through concentration on academic achievement, leadership development, personal development, community involvement, regional relations, and cultural competence/diversity training.

CDF Freedom School

Beginning in summer 2016, Focus: HOPE partnered with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) to launch the CDF Freedom Schools and promote the development of strong, literate, and empowered young people in Detroit. The full-day summer program lasts six weeks and features a multicultural reading curriculum with the theme, “I can make a difference.” All programming is completely free to families.

Programming Includes:Multicultural reading curriculum Science, technology, engineering, arts, and math Weekly field trips Weekly family engagement sessions Civic engagement and social actionIntergenerational leadership developmentHealthy breakfast, lunch, and snacks

Program Outcomes:CDF Freedom Schools combat summer learning loss, a phenomenon that disproportionately affects low-income children. Instead of declining over the summer, CDF Freedom Schools students’ reading levels increased by an average of nine months over the course of the six-week program.

Additional outcomes include:Love of readingPositive attitudes about schoolSelf-esteemPositive racial identityConflict resolution skillsParent engagement

Plans for the Future:In 2016, the first CDF Freedom School served 50 children in grades K-2. Due to the students’ success and the overwhelmingly positive response from community members, Focus: HOPE is working to expand the summer program in 2017 to serve children in grades K-5 and then begin offering after-school programming in the fall. In order to create a pipeline of supports and attain the HVI’s 2031 goal, we aim to serve an even larger number of  children and families in 2018.

Excel Photography Program

Excel Photography Program engages Detroit elementary and middle-school students in an after-school, project-based photography and leadership development curriculum coupled with exciting field trips throughout southeastern Michigan such as the Historic Eastern Market, Cranbrook Educational Campus, Detroit Institute of Arts, Historic Trinity Church, Belle Isle, downtown Royal Oak, Mexican Town, College for Creative Studies, Yates Cider Mill, U of M Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Greenfield Village, The Heidelberg Project, and more.

This semester long program provides instruction in the technical and aesthetic aspects of 35mm digital photography. Photographic assignments are outcome-based in that students plan and execute their ideas, and evaluate their finished projects through student-led critiques.

Excel also serves as an outlet to elevate success levels of participants. Each student participates in self-development and leadership activities with the goal of cultivating self- confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, and a heightened interest in lifelong learning.

Residents of HOPE village or other Detroit communities
Current 5th-8th grader
Strong commitment
Reliable form of transportation

Fall (October-December)
Tuesdays, 4:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Get the latest Focus: HOPE news via email