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Matrix Human Services is partnering with the Black United Fund to bring education and career planning opportunities to local Detroit youth. The program will also provide free tablets to those who sign up for the program.
In addition to the standard services offered by Matrix including case management, conflict resolution, tutoring and extracurricular activities, the social service organization is looking to help all youth across Detroit get prepared for their future. Through education and proper career planning, at-risk youth will be able to thrive in different areas and enroll in apprenticeships in various career fields.
The Matrix Youth Assistance program is offering five new programs intended to connect Detroit’s disadvantaged youth, starting at age 10, to experience careers and post-secondary opportunities. Children would be able to participate in programs geared toward enhancing their all-around future while exposing them to career fields many inner-city children do not get the chance to experience.
“This partnership came about because we wanted to be intentional about the time we had in COVID-19 and us being locked down in the pandemic. So, Matrix began to provide free tablets to all the youth we were providing support to pre-pandemic and then all the youth who wanted to get involved because there was a lack of things to do in the pandemic,” says Kerrie Mitchell, vice president of marketing and development for Matrix. “BUF of Michigan already had a well-run workforce development program that honed in on those initiatives. We wanted to partner with the experts in workforce development to bridge that gap to make sure that the youth can come out of this pandemic stronger than they were before.”
Financial literacy courses will be offered to help students learn about money management and the importance of financial stability. In addition, beginning at age 11, Project Aviation will expose Detroit-area youth who have an interest in planes, aviation, aerospace, or avionics to a career that can take flight, literally.
“This program is going to hone in on workforce development. What we have learned is these are six-figure jobs that most of the demographic we work with, which is African American and Latino youth, don’t want to go in that job atmosphere and it’s just from a lack of knowledge,” says Mitchell.
Matrix and the Black United Fund are also partnering to bring health and wellness courses to develop coping and problem-solving skills. The Future Docs of Tomorrow program will help expose children to medicine and nurture their natural interest in medical fields, while the Achieve and Accelerate program is a curative program that used scratch coding to help kids who have a hard time with math and reading. With this program, students will learn to create stories, animation and play interactive games to learn skills that will help advance their areas of opportunity.
As the pandemic shifted normalcy, children were no longer able to engage in school activities, lost learning structure and the ability to communicate with their peers. As restrictions are lifting and life is slowly beginning to move again, getting the youth prepared for their futures has become even more critical.
“I think this is going to be pivotal for the youth of Detroit because it provides them with that accessibility. Often times, during the pandemic, we as adults, we forget that we’re going through a traumatic time, but so are the kids and we need to provide them with the hope and the structure that they can still be successful even though their lives were paused for a whole year,” says Mitchell.
With the help of Matrix Human Services and the Black United Fund, all Detroit-area youth who are looking for some additional help will be able to immerse themselves in their studies, finances and their future.
To sign up, visit https://www.matrixhumanservices.org/programs/youthassistance/ or contact the Matrix Youth Assistance Program at (313) 831-7927.