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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

Downtown Boxing Gym’s New Commercial Kitchen Nourishes Student Athletes in Myriad Ways

Detroit, MI (March 2024)—When chef Molly Mitchell is whipping up a meal in the sparkling new commercial kitchen at the Downtown Boxing Gym, it’s not uncommon to find 10 eager helpers by her side. “What are you making? Can I be your assistant? What new techniques can you teach us?” These budding chefs are so curious and excited to be a part of the journey from prep to plate, they’re happy to take on any task, even the small ones, like folding towels and sorting silverware.

The

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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

Racquet Up Engages Detroit Youth in Academics through the Sport of Squash

Detroit, MI (May 2023)—Derek Aguirre, Executive Director of Racquet Up Detroit (RUD), has a picture hanging on his office wall that means a lot to him. It’s 2010 and he’s standing with a class of 5th graders in the MacDowell Elementary School gymnasium. He remembers trying to convince them to try out for Racquet Up Detroit – a new afterschool program in the neighborhood that combines squash with academics. SquashBusters began in Boston in 1996 and its successful youth development formula spread to more than 20 member programs across the country, including Racquet Up Detroit. “I remember the kids looking up at me thinking, “Who is this guy?” he says, with a laugh.

Litt

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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

University Prep and Detroit Zoo Partnership Fosters Interest in Zoology and STEM Careers

Detroit, MI (January 2023)—Studies show that when it comes to college studies and careers in zoology, African Americans are enormously underrepresented. In fact, less than three percent of all zoology degrees are awarded to African American students. University Prep Schools, which has a 98 percent African American student population, wanted to change that statistic, and cultivate a strong pipeline from its science classrooms to university zoological studies and careers.

Univ

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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary Develops Tomorrow’s Environmental Stewards

Alpena, MI (April 2022)—“The best way to get someone to protect something is to get them to love it and the best way to get them to love it is for them to experience it.” That’s one of the mottos driving the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (The Sanctuary), says Superintendent, Jeff Gray. Located in Alpena, the 4,300 square-mile, federally-protected marine sanctuary is the nation’s first freshwater sanctuary and contains over 200 of the world’s best-preserved historic shipwrecks.

One

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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

Pivoting in the Pandemic to Help Families Thrive with Downtown Boxing Gym

Detroit, MI (November 2021)—The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be an incredibly challenging time for students, parents and teachers alike. The stressors of online schooling and work-from-home set-ups created less than ideal environments for families. Luckily, spaces like the Downtown Boxing Gym (DBG) exist, a free academic and athletic program that provides Detroit students with the tools they need to succeed. Since 2007, the organization has provided tutoring, mentorship, enrichment programs, college and career prep, social-emotional skills building, and basic needs support.

Duri

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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

City Year Detroit Gets At-Risk Students on Track for Graduation

Detroit, MI (February 2021)—Research by Johns Hopkins University shows that students who are most likely to drop out of school can be identified as early as 6th grade. This is determined by looking at early warning indicators: poor attendance, disruptive behavior and course failure in English or math. In Detroit, a disproportionate number of students exhibit these indicators.

At t

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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

Supporting STEAM-based Learning in Detroit with Brilliant Detroit

Detroit, MI (September 2020)—Kindergarten readiness is a powerful predictor of success later in life. Science shows 80 to 90 percent of the brain is developed by age three, making early childhood the critical time for children to experience high-quality programming. In Detroit, STEAM-based learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) is not readily available for families in need.

Bril

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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

Helping Children Read and Learn with the Downtown Boxing Gym

Detroit, MI (June 2020)— Khali Sweeney grew up in the Detroit Public Schools not knowing how to read or write. He remembers the narrative that was reinforced to him over and over again — “it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re going to be dead or in jail by the time you’re 21.” It’s a narrative he never forgot, and one of his motivations in creating the Downtown Boxing Gym.

The

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