Grosse Pointe-Harper Woods NAACP to host Youth Day

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published May 14, 2019

HARPER WOODS — The Grosse Pointe-Harper Woods branch of the NAACP will host a Youth Day program for members of the community on Saturday, May 18.

The program will take place from noon to 3 p.m. at the Wayne County Community College District’s Mary Ellen Stempfle University Center at 19305 Vernier Road in Harper Woods.

“This is our first Youth Day for the Grosse Pointe NAACP,” said branch President Cynthia Douglas. “Our intention is to get youth together to talk together and provide some youth program opportunities that can provide leadership skills and develop agendas for groups that they care about.”

Officials said this is a way for local young people to discover opportunities for themselves and get involved in activities that improve the community.

“It’s very important to get youth to understand there’s an NAACP and to show kids from a young age why diversity is important,” said Harper Woods Mayor Pro Tem Valerie Kindle. “Plus, any chance to get kids out, active and involved is something I think communities should take advantage of.”

The Grosse Pointe-Harper Woods NAACP branch was founded in 2016, and many of the members believe events like this play a key role in establishing the new group.

“People understand what diversity means in a historical sense, but this is a way we can come together with all people to understand what it means for people today,” said Kindle. “They have to understand how we all have to live together and how black people can’t just live with only black people, or white people can’t just live with only white people. We all have to move forward together and see how the world is different than it used to be.”

The event will be structured as an open format with several displays from local organizations providing information to interested youths. There will also be a few speakers who will address everyone in attendance.

“We have some young people who are coming in to speak on behalf of the NAACP, and another who will speak on the importance of being a young leader in 2019,” said Douglas. “We’ll meet them at their own maturity level and present a message. We’ll have individual tables set up with groups like Beaumont Hospital or Wayne County Community College that young people can check out, and then we’ll have some speakers that everyone can sit down and listen to.”

Local groups taking part will include educational bodies, businesses and nonprofits.

“Wayne County Community College and Harper Woods Schools will be showing what they offer — Harper Woods actually will be showing off its new (College and Career Institute) facility,” said Douglas. “We have a couple giveaways as well so they can take home something, and there’s a free lunch for those who RSVP. … We also have a speaker coming in to discuss bullying, sex trafficking, and other things to young people.”

Those wishing to attend can RSVP by calling (855) 576-2227 or by emailing gphw.naacp33aa@gmail.com.

“I think reaching out to young people is a priority for any community,” Douglas said. “I’m not a young person anymore, and we need to start developing our youth to be leaders, because they will eventually be the ones making policies and leading as the rest of us get older. They need to be able to take over where we leave off.”

Douglas said reaching out to students and other young people is crucial in helping both the youths and the community as a whole.

“A lot of children in Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods schools are developing their own personalities and have a lot on their minds,” said Douglas. “In order to develop those voices, they need to have an avenue to speak about their own truth and express what they want to see in their future. We as adults should be helping to get to that point.”

She added that the Youth Day program will provide a variety of options for people.

“This is an opportunity for a young person to become involved in the community in which they live,” said Douglas. “It’s a great chance to express themselves among their peers. We all want what’s best for our kids, and this is something that can benefit them by advancing them toward the opportunities they want to seek.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.