With the belief that they could accomplish more together than alone, these organizations shared resources, knowledge, and networks to expand their reach and bring about lasting change for the youth they served.
“We couldn’t get into some of our schools for after-school programming [through COVID], and I asked him if we could use space at the center for our program.”
Rebecca Limbaugh and Eric Reed have had very similar career paths. They are executive directors of youth-serving organizations, Rebecca at Boys Hope Girls Hope of Detroit and Eric at Say Detroit’s Play Center. They both have dedicated their lives to serving the youth of Detroit, Michigan, and they both happen to be from the same small city. Today, this relationship had led to a wonderful partnership in which the Play Center hosts Boys Hope Girls Hope of Detroit’s Academy.
“Eric and I are both from Highland Park but didn’t know each other,” Rebecca said. “We connected out in the community at various events.”
One of those events was back in their neighborhood at the Highland Park Recreation Center. Rebecca led a social justice program, and Eric ran a drone program at the center.
They stayed in contact throughout the years. When Eric started his position in 2021, he wanted to start a social justice program. He reached out to his friend from Highland Park.
“The students loved the program they put on,” Eric said. “The students were so engaged, and the Boys Hope Girls Hope team was so responsive to our students.”
“This past year was the first time all our scholars could be together during the week for programming. They loved being together and making friends.“
After the social justice program finished, Rebecca approached Eric about using space at the center to start the academy program back up during COVID.
“We couldn’t get into some of our schools for after-school programming, and I asked him if we could use space at the center for our program.”
It was a no-brainer for Eric to help an organization he deeply admired.
“Our space allows them to bring the scholars to one site,” he said.“We even provide them transportation from two high schools and dinner.”
Prior to partnering with Say Play, the Detroit affiliate ran three academy sites at their partner schools for years. The affiliate partners with : Detroit Cristo Rey High School, Loyola High School, and Detroit Edison Early College of Excellence.
“This past year was the first time all our scholars could be together during the week for programming,” said Kathrine (Kate) Schueren, the program director at the Detroit affiliate, said.
“The scholars loved being together and making friends.”
“With the support of Say SAY Detroit and the connections they are helping us create, we will be able to support any young person in the community.”
Scholars can also use the space when they aren’t meeting, and their families can take advantage of services offered by SAY Detroit.
SAY Detroit is involved in various programs that address many issues affecting the city and its residents, such as poverty, education, homelessness, and health care. Some of the initiatives undertaken by SAY Detroit include providing food, shelter, and support services for homeless individuals and families, funding college scholarships for underprivileged students, supporting literacy programs, and assisting in neighborhood development efforts. The acronym “SAY” stands for “Super All Year.” Best-selling author of Tuesdays with Morrie, and Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom founded the organization.
The partnership will also allow the affiliate to reach more students than ever before.
“With the support of Say SAY Detroit and the connections they are helping us create, we will be able to support any young person in the community,” Rebecca said.
The hope is also to have the center serve as a pipeline for the affiliate as they plan for a middle school program in the future.
The Play Center has also benefited from working with the Detroit affiliate, with the affiliate bringing in an influx of high school students compared to the elementary and middle school students that normally participate in the after-school program.
James Williams is the Director of Postsecondary Success and Strategic Partnerships. James leads college, career, and alumni programming for the Network, supporting affiliate capacity in these areas, and managing partnerships with universities, intern placements, and peer organizations.
The alliance between Boys Hope Girls Hope of Detroit and SAY Detroit was born from the belief that they could accomplish more together than alone. The organizations shared resources, knowledge, and networks to expand their reach and bring about lasting change for the youth they served.
Eric is hopeful that this partnership will last for years to come.