For our third challenge of the 2023-2024 program year, we partnered with the Joe Louis Greenway Partnership (JLGP), a nonprofit whose purpose is making the Joe Louis Greenway a space that celebrates the strength and resilience of its surrounding communities through inclusive programming, ongoing beautification, and intentional community engagement. The Fellows on the Youth Programming team focused on creating programming for youth at the Midwest Tireman section of the greenway. The team collaborated alongside Executive Director Leona Medley, JLGP partners and community stakeholders to create deliverables – learn more about the project from the Fellows! 

Our team’s objective for this project was to design engagement opportunities on the greenway for youth. Through intentional interviewing with eight different stakeholders including JLGP board member Mariam Noland, Construction Project Coordinator for the City of Detroit Candace Calloway, and Tom Habitz, executive director of Hamtramck Parks Conservancy, we were able to gain insights regarding our design question: How might we create programming for youth at the Midwest Tireman section of the greenway?

Tom Habitz shared the following which stood out to us during this project, “It is important to remember that children are leaders and influence the future. If they are using the space now they will pass along those habits to their future families.” Tom was able to give us great insight to understand how the youth would interact with the Midwest Tireman section of the JLG and how we could maximize it with different youth programming activities for this upcoming summer. 

Breaking down geographic, racial, and economic barriers, as well as long term impact were important design considerations for youth programming on the greenway.

We discovered the importance of involving the youth in outreach and engagement practices prior to planning programs, making sure all the programs are inclusive and educational, and focusing on creating programs that are based on the interests of 12-17 year olds to get them interested and excited to attend. With these insights, we made three Youth Programming recommendations. First up, a Youth Advisory Board for the Joe Louis Greenway Partnership. We agreed that establishing a platform for youth leadership would be most effective. Who better to shape youth programming and engagement than the youth and young adults themselves. Secondly, we recommended Passport/ Youth Programming Menu for Leona Medley to use for this upcoming summer. We wanted to offer the partnership with a comprehensive overview of the diverse youth programming options feasible along the greenway.

This has been a great experience for our team and we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Leona, the Joe Louis Greenway Partnership and multiple stakeholders.