SRSLY Dexter will be launching a free after-school program to help youth develop the skills they need to change their community, and reduce youth drinking and drug use again this year.
The YES program, which stands for Youth Empowerment Solutions, was created by the Prevention Research Center at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. It is designed to teach youth how to become effective leaders, assess their community, and plan their own community improvement projects.
Last year’s YES students planned “Operation Open Gym” at the Dexter Wellness Center. The idea came about because students felt that the Wellness Center wasn’t a place for youth. They were able to work with the staff to provide a space for kids to enjoy the center as well. During their 3 hour event, kids used the gym to play basketball, pickle ball, dodgeball, and other games. The program not only encouraged health and fitness, but also provided kids with a safe space to have fun on a Friday evening.
This year, students in grades 5-8 are invited to participate in six in-service trainings on February 12, February 26, March 12, March 26, April 16, and April 23 from 3:20-6 pm at Mill Creek Middle School, Classroom 101. Highlights of the program include a discussion with community leaders, and a “windshielding” activity, during which youth will learn how to identify community assets and liabilities. Students will present their project proposals at SRSLY’s May Coalition Meeting. All members of the community are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Teachers and other adults can nominate students based on demonstrated responsibility, work ethic, and the ability to motivate others. Youth who would like to participate in the YES Program can find more information and the permission slip on the SRSLY website at www.srslydexter.org/skills.