YouthQuest program focused on areas of greatest need

FLINT TWP. — After a two-year run, YouthQuest, the after-school enrichment program is no longer being offered at Carman- Ainsworth Middle School.

“YouthQuest – at the middle school level – is resourced for about 50 students. And, at Carman- Ainsworth, we had much lower attendance,’’ said Elaine Redd, director, Communications & Public Relations, for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the operation of YouthQuest through the Genesee Area Focus Fund.

“This, in large part was due to Carman having multiple after-school programs, which caused all programs to compete for the same students,” Redd said in a statement.” In the end, student attendance was fragmented across the various programs and YouthQuest’s per-pupil costs increased significantly. Ultimately, we did not have enough students to justify the costs of the program.”

The good news is YouthQuest is still offered at two Carman-Ainsworth elementary schools — Dye and Randels.

YouthQuest continues to serve students where there is the greatest need, Redd said.

Aided by a $2.8 million grant from the C.S. Mott Foundation, YouthQuest has expanded this academic year to offer after-school services to all Flint Community Schools, including the high schools, according to press release.

“Research has shown that too many high-school age students have no place to go, nothing to do, and no one to be with,” said Jennifer Liversedge, a program officer for the Foundation’s Flint-Area grantmaking team. “We hope that by expanding YouthQuest to a K-12 model, not only will more area children and young people have access to a safe and supportive space for learning, but that the hours after school will be used more productively.

A total of 18 YouthQuest sites served this year also includes the International Academy of Flint Elementary and Middle Schools, both charter schools.

YouthQuest activities are designed around six core content areas: academic support; the visual and performing arts; enrichment activities, such as field trips; physical fitness and healthy behaviors; youth development and leadership skill-building; and family and community engagement. Participating students also have the opportunity to join clubs based on their personal interests.

Details: Call 810-600- 1404. — Rhonda Sanders

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