The Michigan football program made quite an announcement Thursday evening, officially committing to a Youth Impact Program focused on economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in the city of Detroit in order to benefit and assist at risk boys in the community.
The program itself aims to instill the same values into the youth as the Michigan football program itself ingrains in it’s student-athletes.
“We are excited to have our football program working and associated with the Youth Impact Program,” said Jim Harbaugh in a statement.
“This will be a tremendous growth opportunity for the youngsters participating in this program. It will also provide an opportunity for our student-athletes to learn valuable leadership skills as mentors, coaches and teachers.”
Harbaugh and his coaching staff, as well as sophomores in the football program, plan to work alongside members of the United States Marine Corps and local educators in order to teach life skills, the game of football, language arts and Sciences/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics based curriculum.
The age group for participants in the program ranges from sixth grade to eighth grade in the city of Detroit, including 100 boys looking for discipline and direction as potentially at-risk youth.
“The impact of the program will develop leadership skills so the students can have the courage and confidence to make the right decisions at the right time under stress and confrontation,” said Riki Ellison in a statement, the founder of the Youth Impact Program. “The program enables trust and strong relationships over sustained periods of time that these at-risk boys do not have with men five years from their age, some from their same background that they idolize.
“It enables the development of trust and respect between the University of Michigan and its nearby community by providing access to those underprivileged that may never of seen the inside of a great academic institution,” added Ellison. “The program will provide the discipline, the skills and classroom management for these young boys to excel in academics. Our short term goal is high school graduation for all of these boys and the long term goal is new-found leadership to lead other young boys in the right direction when they return home.”
The University of Michigan Youth Impact Program will be held July 6-18. On top of the two-week program, participants will be monitored periodically throughout the year to keep in touch.
The Wolverines zeroed in on youth in the city of Detroit in part because of the relative proximity to Ann Arbor, also based on the need for leadership in the area.
“The impact on inner city at-risk youth in Detroit by Michigan Football, the student-athletes participating and the University of Michigan with Jim Harbaugh will be significant,” commented Ellison. “It is a great opportunity for these young boys to change direction with leadership skills, trust and love for the University of Michigan that will make a difference in the Detroit community.
“We are honored and very fortunate to be a part of this. Having my daughter attend Michigan, combined with the respect we had playing against Michigan and against Bo in the Rose Bowl when I played for USC, Michigan has always been a special place personally for me.”