The Flint & Genesee talent continuum begins with YouthQuest, an afterschool and summer enrichment program that focuses on six key pillars, including academic support, enrichment activities, leadership development, nutrition and nutrition education, physical fitness, and family and community engagement. In 2022, the program served more than 1,400 K-12 students at 14 school sites in Flint Community Schools, International Academy of Flint, and Flint Cultural Center Academy.
A cornerstone of the YouthQuest program has long been the professional development of its employees. To continue delivering high-quality programming, YouthQuest introduced the new role of site support and training specialist in early 2022. This staff member was promoted from within the program and was responsible for coordinating a tiered professional development calendar based on data and feedback from staff and external assessors. Collectively, employees logged more than 2,400 hours of professional development in topics including building community, creating structure, and reframing conflicts.
Additionally in 2022, YouthQuest leaned into continuing partnerships with community organizations to create a greater impact for students. Through working with the Flint Community Education Initiative, for instance, YouthQuest successfully launched the Clubhouse Sports model after piloting the program in 2021. This allowed Flint students to participate in organized team sport competitions for cheerleading, flag football, girls’ and boys’ basketball, and girls’ volleyball. In addition, a collaboration with Flint Fresh and the Crim Fitness Foundation allowed for the Chop It Like Its Hot Club to take place at multiple sites. While FoodCorps members taught students how to make a healthy meal, Flint Fresh provided the necessary ingredients—once during program and again with their families at home.
YouthQuest partnered again with Genesee Intermediate School District and the Youth Entrepreneur Institute to offer the YQ Biz Youth Entrepreneurship program. As part of the program, students were challenged to start an entrepreneurial venture and gained real-world experience as they sold their products monthly at the Flint Farmers’ Market and at other community events, earning a total of $7,996. Not only were these young entrepreneurs invited to share their business concepts at YouthQuest’s “Hustle Hard” Pitch Competition in front of a panel of local business owners, four attended the NextGen Summit in New York, where they heard from inspiring speakers and networked with other young leaders.