Metropolitan Youth Program

Daily Point of Light # 1292 Jan 15, 1999

The Metropolitan Youth Program (MYP) was founded in 1986 by a group of individuals who were concerned about the lack of educational ambition, positive role models and access to meaningful leisure time activities for disadvantaged youth in the Metropolitan Quad City Area.

The primary goal of the MYP is to assist children and adolescents to build a positive sense of self-worth and set significant yet realistic scholastic and personal goals. These goals are achieved through a number of different activities such as Precision Drill Team & Drum Corps, Metro Youth Choir, Summer/Fall Junior Achievement Company, Junior Photography Program, Jr. Soccer Program, 3rd &4th Grade Basketball League, MYP Tutorial Program and the Computer Familiarization Program.

"Once we reach them, we can teach them" is the foundation of the MYP. The targeted age group is 7-20 years old and the main activity which serves as the "kid attractor" is the precision drill team & drum corps. This activity served as the group's initial undertaking and started with 17 young people; today it numbers more than 150 youth members. The Metro Choir consists of 40 youth members enrolled and the Junior Soccer Program has 30 members. The Summer/Fall Junior Achievement Company has 18 young people and the Junior Basketball League has 12 young people enrolled.

It is from the aforementioned activities that the entire youth membership is steered into personal self-development and scholastic activities such as the tutorial and computer basics training as well as seminars covering positive thinking, goal setting, self-esteem, leadership, problem solving, personal hygiene, etc., which are offered on a continuous basis. A major portion of the future programming will be dedicated to preparing our youth for college and identifying sources of college scholarship opportunities.

The MYP operates solely on donated time and dollars. The staff of volunteers donated approximately 63,000 contact hours to youth members in 1997. To date, fund raising projects and donations have provided income for operating expenses.

A large part of the organization's success is due to the unique relationship between the youth members and the adult role models that has been built over the past 12 years. These adult role models teach the youth members to set goals, both personal and scholastic, and strive to reach their greatest potential. By enhancing their overall development, the young people have come to realize that the key to a brighter future is in their hands.

The MYP provides the Quad Cities community with 10 activities that are designed to give young people a sense of belonging. Subsequently, with belonging comes responsibility, which is enhanced by accomplishment and achievement.

Throughout the Midwest, 28 communities have asked The Metropolitan Youth Program to aid their communities. Last year, Clinton and Burlington started youth groups. Clinton has 20 youth and Burlington 80. Prembrook, IL will start later this year.