Solutions through youth & family partnerships


 

In Honor of Those Who Serve

 

On September 11, 2002, StarrVista commemorated the day by honoring our local heroes.  The local police, fire department and the Warrant Enforcement Bureau (W.E.B.) joined the staff of StarrVista at a hot dog cookout in their honor.

This day was not filled with sadness and dispair, but hope for the future.  The day was filled with honor, remembrance and thank you's to those who serve and make our community safe.

We wish to extend our thanks to the local businesses and StarrVista staff who made generous donations of food and their time.

 

Detroit Area Kids Go To College

Early on the morning of August 5th approximately eighty Detroit area young people and over twenty adult chaperons boarded buses for a three-day trip to Michigan State University. The purpose of this trip was for the young people to participate in the first Positive Youth Development Academy, which is part of the Positive Youth Development Initiative launched earlier this year.

This remarkable opportunity for our young people was the result of a collaborative effort between area care management organizations, neighborhood organizations, Wayne County, the Mayor’s office for the city of Detroit, Michigan State University and numerous others. StarrVista served as the coordinating agency for this major undertaking and not enough praise can be given to Ms. Jeri Fisher, Manager of the  Provider Network/Community Relations Department, for her tireless efforts and the numerous hours she spent planning and making arrangements. Ms. Fisher managed all aspects of communicating with the numerous agencies and families involved. 

Early on the morning of departure dozens of anxious smiling young people began arriving at StarrVista to complete their final check in and board the buses. Once aboard, the buses departed for the hour-long trip to the Michigan State University campus. 

During the bus trip the  young people from throughout the metropolitan area had the opportunity to get acquainted with each other. By the time the buses arrived at the Breslin Center new friends happily got off the buses in excited anticipation of the coming activities and experiences. 

After lunch and a brief orientation activities began with the young people being assigned to three separate groups. Perhaps the most amusing incident was the look of surprise on the faces of the young people when they discovered that their mode of transportation for most activities was “foot power”. Startled eyes were evident as each participant became aware of the incredible size of the sprawling campus…  and the fact that (like most students) they’d be walking most of it. 

Mike Williams (President of StarrVista and designated Dad for the trip) lead the charge heading the first group on their walking journey through the campus, (he’s yet to admit that he was exhausted at the end of the first day). Parents, kids and tour leaders from MSU toured numerous facilities on the campus including the Cyclotron, the farms, computer workshops and others. As the evening of the first day approached everyone headed to Snyder Hall (the dormitory and home for the next two days). After claiming their luggage each person was given their room assignments and the process of “musical rooms” began. Needless to say after a day together new friends were determined to room together and this process caused “settling in” to be a little longer than expected. Once settled in everyone headed to dinner in the dormitory cafeteria.

Of course the day was far from over, after dinner everyone headed to the Student Union for an evening of bowling, pool and video games…  rumor has it that the excited kids closed the Union. Finally after a long day it was time for everyone to get to their rooms and relax for the evening…  at least that’s what was planned, rumor has it that like any new freshman away from home for the first night most of the crew stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. Another amusing moment was 8:00AM when everyone was awakened for breakfast and the start of another long, busy day. More than one little head was seen bobbing during the orientation for the second day…  first taste of what it’s like to be a freshman student facing the first day of classes after being “independent” the night before. 

After the orientation the activities for the second day began and most of the kids discovered their second wind, not all, but most… we were now confident that they’d be much more ready to sleep when the time came on the second night…  yeah right! The kids were amazing, they adapted quickly to the rigors of campus life and soon the adults were fighting to keep pace with the enthusiastic youngsters that were full of wonder and awe at the things they were being exposed to.

When the end of the second day finally came all of the youngsters were anxious to get the party started and that’s exactly what they did. Under the watchful eyes of the chaperons the kids danced the night away at their first campus party. Finally the party came to a close and “Big Daddy” aka Mike Williams ordered pizza for everyone…  finally, time to turn in for the second night.

On the final day there was a group discussion about the experience and a chance for the participants to hear from students at the university, student athletes and coaches. After lunch each group departed for their final activities and then it was time to head back to the dorms to check out and board the buses for the trip back home. After the ride back (where most everyone seemed to be asleep) tired but very happy kids and adults chatted with each other about the trip with many inquiring about when the next opportunity to visit the campus would be made available…   we’re shooting for next summer for another academy. 

The thanks owed are so many and there’s not enough space to thank everyone that helped make this special event possible but we would be remiss if we failed to mention Ms. Annette Abrams, Director of the university’s community outreach program and her staff, the volunteers from StarrVista and Dr. Carl Taylor.  It must be mentioned here also that our kids were amazing, each behaved in a fashion that was admirable and each is to be commended. One of the brightest moments for those of us involved in arranging this trip was when we were complimented by the MSU staff on the behavior of our kids…  this was truly a wonderful experience for everyone and a shining example of what can happen when we give our kids a chance.

 

Send mail to thiesmeyerd@starrvista.org with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: 07/29/08