School’s winding down and soon Detroit kids will be out enjoying summer vacation. Amid fun and sun, loom clouds of concern, educationally, though. Three months away from the books can throw students off their learning trajectory. Parents, are you looking for activities to keep content fresh and extend lessons during the summer? Check out these educational, entrepreneurial and community activities.
The Hub of Detroit
Located at 3611 Cass, Detroit, Back Alley Bikes features their YEAB (Youth Earn a Bike) program. Old bikes are collected and distributed to kids who practice rebuilding and refurbishing them. On Fridays and Saturdays in summer, kids can drop in and work on bikes using shop tools. They can customize using donated parts. There are volunteer bike gurus and mechanics who teach students about bike repair, safety and construction. If kids show enough initiative, they might get a job. They’re taught to pay it forward and help other kids. The Hub participates with the Detroit Public Library’s teen H.Y.P.E. Makerspace program where kids ages 13-18 design and make products in many media (crafts, textiles, print-making, technology).
Brightmoor Youth Garden
When it comes to revitalization, Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood shines the beacon. Brightmoor (in the area near Fenkell and Eliza Howell Park) struggled with urban blight, drugs, prostitution and crime. Residents decided to fight back. Their weapons were trowels, spades, paint brushes, music and joy. Brightmoor hosts an urban youth garden where kids grow food and sell it at a farmers’ market. That’s blossoming into a farmway project, says the Detroit Free Press . Area youth built an Edible Playscape, Treedome Park, butterfly and bird gardens, and a nature trail connecting Eliza Howell Park and the neighborhood. They built a walking path joining Brightmoor’s 20 existing parks and gardens in the Brightmoor Farmway target area. And there’s still lots to do and enjoy. There’s a Friday night teen activity center, a weekly kids’ corner and a summer full of fun and learning.
Getting dirty is the stuff of childhood, but concrete-bound city kids often lack access to soil. Earthworks seeks to change that with two summer programs. Growing Healthy Kids connects kids to garden at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. Kids learn about science, nature, health, agriculture, nutrition, environmental responsibility and sustainability. The Youth Farm Stand program gets kids growing and selling produce in their communities. They learn marketing, math and self-advocacy. Earthworks hopes to expand from their 1264 Meldrum St., Detroit address into Hamtramck, Highland Park and other communities.
Check this resource for job connections, internships and community connections. Jobs change frequently, so register to be kept abreast. D:Hive hosts workshops and business seminars too.
Lemonade Day Detroit
This one’s past, but it’s a great business opportunity to explore for next year. Kids in grades preschool to high school set up lemonade stands. A “caring adult” mentor registers children and helps them track progress. The website gives all details. Participants get backpacks (available at Art Van locations) with an Entrepreneur Workbook covering 14 Lemonade Day lessons. Activities include writing a budget plan, marketing, setting profit goals, customer service, repaying investors and community give-backs. Lessons give hands-on experience in life skills of goal-setting, problem solving and business sense. Young entrepreneurs get to keep proceeds (unlike some school-based marketing classes). They’re taught about saving, spending, reinvesting and sharing. June 8, 2013 is the official Lemonade Day. Huntington Bank sponsors the Detroit event. Coordinators say 5,000 kids participated in years past.