OU partners with Metro Detroit Youth Groups

Bridget Janis, Staff Reporter

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With helping out in the community being a main focus for many staff, faculty and students this year, Oakland University decided to partner with Metro Detroit Youth Groups to provide guidance and mentoring help in the process.

While partnering with the Metro Detroit Youth Groups, OU will help many young lives, especially within the Durfee community and Durfee Elementary-Middle School in Detroit.

“Our talent will help them reach more young people who are striving to improve their lives and the lives of the community,” said Dr. Kevin Corcoran, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “In doing so, our students will learn so much about themselves as well as about the community.”

The Metro Detroit Youth Clubs has a mission to help the younger generation reach its full potential. They have been offering many programs for 60 years, working with schools, businesses, volunteers, the community and other organizations along the way.

“We partner with a number of local groups and organizations in our effort to advance community engagement at Oakland University,” said Glenn McIntosh, vice president for student affairs and chief diversity officer. “It’s one of our four strategic goals, along with student success, research, community engagement, [and] diversity, equity and inclusion, so this is really an extension of that goal.”

OU plans to bring outreach, academic, sports and mentoring programs to the partnership this year.

“I am always impressed by the grit and dedication on our campus,” Corcoran said. “We hope to match our talents and skills with community needs and aspirations.”

Students on campus are able to get involved in volunteering by attending different volunteer days. For the mentoring programs, OU hopes to get Oakland University Student Congress, Residence Hall Association and other student organizations involved in the project.

“We will be working through different academic departments and Student Affairs departments to offer opportunities for students to volunteer,” McIntosh said. “The Center for Student Engagement will have different volunteer days.”

The OU community hopes to help improve the academic values within this atmosphere. When looking at the Durfee community, the rate for both academic and literacy performances tends to be lower. OU sees a mutual benefit from partnering with Detroit on the Durfee Project that can be impactful for both parties.

“Our sweet spot is taking our students who, while they’re here at the university, they grow and develop, so when we talk about revitalizing a community, it’s a perfect fit,” McIntosh said. “We learn and we grow as a result of being in those kinds of communities and they benefit from us being in their community.”

As well as partnering with the Metro Detroit Youth Clubs, OU has been working with Marygrove College by doing a teach-out. This allows students to transfer to OU after the closing of the college at the end of the year.

OU plans on continuing its presence in the Detroit community and allowing partnerships with Metro Detroit Youth Groups to grow more in the future. OU also has hope in creating partnerships with more organizations in the coming year.