The Center for Arab American Philanthropy’s Teen Grant-making Initiative (TGI)  has announced 12 grants to benefit organizations in metro Detroit that serve youth. The grants, which total $4,600, will enhance and support youth leadership training, service learning, health education and the performing arts.

TGI consists of 20 Arab American young people dedicated to improving their community through grant-making. The group has been meeting for the past seven months to ascertain the needs of youth in metro Detroit and release a request for proposals. TGI received 24 proposals and selected 12 organizations for their first grant-making round. Some highlights from two of TGI’s grantees are below, but you can access the full list by visiting our website.

Southwest Solutions: In recent years, Detroit has become a prime location for far-flung “urban explorers” to visit and photograph abandoned buildings. While these explorers often produce beautiful photos and bring home good stories, these buildings pose a threat to Detroit citizens, especially students.

One community development organization, Southwest Solutions, has engaged teens to raise awareness and take action against these buildings – which all too often become hotspots for gangs and drug dealers. TGI funding will be used to produce a documentary video called “Abandoned Houses Detroit Initiative,” which will address the issue of blight in Southwest Detroit and provide teens with new skills to spread awareness about community challenges.

The Heidelberg Project, an internationally recognized arts institution, brings art directly to students through their Art, Community and Environmental Education program (ACE2). Working primarily in third-grade classrooms, ACE2 supplements art education in metro Detroit public schools.

With TGI funding, Heidelberg will train high school students to shadow and assist docents in the classrooms. ACE2 develops leadership skills while helping students imagine new artistic possibilities, teaching them the value of creativity to reshape their environment and community.

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