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2,000+ Take Part in MDHA Summer Youth Program | 2012-08-16

August 16, 2012
More Than 2,000 Take Part in MDHA Summer Youth Programs
Non-Profits Give Students New Experiences to Develop Well-Rounded Adults
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As students head back to school, the excitement of reuniting with friends is usually combined with stories of summer experiences. For nearly 2,300 young people from Nashville’s underserved neighborhoods, the opportunity to experience a college campus, work in a business environment or even explore career options came through the MDHA-sponsored Summer Youth program.
“Working with our non-profit partners, we give young people a chance to experience something they might not otherwise experience,” said Phil Ryan, executive director, MDHA. “Some may develop a skill which leads them down a path to college or training program or a career. At the end of the summer, they’ve learned a little bit about themselves as well.”
$446,000 in grants were awarded by MDHA on a competitive basis to 30 local non-profit organizations to provide a variety of programming for young people ranging in age from six to 18. Since its launch in 1997, more than 35,000 young people have taken part and more than $5 million has been awarded to local organizations to strengthen neighborhoods by providing learning opportunities to young people. Highlights from the 2012 program includes:
-         Classes in film editing, music and songwriting, dance and art for children from the J.C. Napier and Sudekum housing developments were held at Rocketown, with performances and exhibits by the camp attendees. One of the organizers discovered an untapped passion for fashion design in one of the campers, a skill learned from a mother who passed away the previous year.
-         The Bethlehem Center’s Vocational Success Institute organized internships for 28 teenagers in order to gain valuable workplace experience and several teens were able to obtain ongoing, part-time employment through the program.
-         Programs conducted by the YMCA and Christ Centered Ministries organized visits to 10 different college campuses for summer campers to open their eyes to the possibilities of higher education.
-         Campers at the Village Community Development Center learned the importance of healthy eating habits and how paying attention to what you eat can pay dividends later in life. At the end of the summer, they had prepared more than 1,940 healthy meals.
-         Metro Parks is an important partner of the Summer Youth Program. More than 60 young people learned how to swim and the importance of water safety during programs there over the summer.
-         The Oasis Center held a variety of programs for young people in the Bailey Middle and John Early Middle School clusters, as well as for immigrant youth in South Nashville. As part of a program to assemble and repair bicycles, campers built more than 40 bicycles from parts – 30 they were allowed to keep and 10 were donated as part of a service project.
-         Moves & Grooves, Inc. held dance training for  young people in the Edgehill and Glencliff areas as part of their instruction on ways to avoid childhood obesity. The campers also received instruction in math, science, nutrition and Pilates. An end-of-summer dance showcase drew more than 200 attendees.
“When young people return to school this fall, they’ll have plenty of experiences to tell their friends about and lots of new skills to share,” said Executive Director Ryan. “Our hope is that their eyes have been opened a little bit to the possibilities resulting from a focus on doing well in school and living a healthy lifestyle.”
A complete list of Summer Youth grant recipients is below:
AAOC Summer Camps
Backfield in Motion
Bethlehem Centers of Nashville
Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee
The Charles Davis Foundation
Christ Centered Ministries, Inc
City of Life Corporation
Family Affair Ministries
Fannie Battle Day Home
Fisk University
Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee
The Joe Gilliam Football Camp
Martha O’Bryan Center
McNeilly Center for Children
Metro Board of Parks and Recreation
Moves & Grooves, Inc
The Oasis Center
Salama Urban Ministries
Samaritan Ministries
Tennessee Thunder
Village Community Development Corporation
YMCA Youth Development Center
Youth Encouragement Services
Youth Life Learning Center
The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency administers a variety of urban and community development projects, works to increase the availability of affordable housing, and leads and supports revitalization efforts in downtown and neighborhoods throughout the city.