The went is expected to draw more than 34,000 youths to the island for a day of fun, education, healthy living, exercise and camaraderie.
Metro Detroit Youth Day (MDYD) runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, at Belle Isle’s athletic fields.
“This year’s theme is Planting Seeds for our Youth to Grow and lead us in the future,” said Ed Deeb, co-founder and chairman of Metro Detroit Youth Day and founder of the Michigan Food and Beverage Association. “Our main goal is to reduce crime and bullying by exposing our youth to Michigan’s education and entrepreneurship opportunities, as well as showing the next generation that we support them.”
This year, MDYD will continue its tradition as the region's premier youth-centric event by providing sports clinics, education stations, entertainment and workshops for students focused on anti-crime, anti-bullying, health and wellness and entrepreneurship.
Area youth will test their skills and explore new interests at sports clinics that feature martial arts, golf, tennis, weight lifting, boxing, track and field, football, basketball and more.
A partnership with the NFL Alumni Detroit Chapter and the Gridiron Institute will bring former NFL players, including Lem Barney, Damian Gregory and Ron Rice to Belle Isle to offer fundamental skill drills, instruction and games to future football stars. Wayne State University football players also will be on hand to assist and sign autographs.The Detroit Pistons will host the Sprite Ultimate Challenge championship. Approximately 500 kids were selected from summer camps through the Detroit Recreation Center to compete for various Pistons & Sprite prizes.
MDYD’s parent organization Michigan Youth Appreciation Foundation will award more than 60 scholarships to deserving students who submitted an application and essay to be considered. Since 1991, MDYD has awarded more than 1,000 scholarships. Each year, MDYD provides more than $35,000 in scholarships. Scholarship funding is provided by Michigan colleges and universities, event sponsors, companies, organizations and the general public. The chairman of the scholarship program is John Ambrose of Michigan State University. Additionally, MDYD will recognize area high school students for community and academic achievement. The scholarship award presentation begins at 8:30 a.m.
The General Motors Foundation is the lead sponsor of the education area, which includes MDYD’s College Row. This area provides an opportunity for students to visit with and learn more about Michigan’s colleges and universities. This year’s lineup includes: Michigan State University, University of Michigan, University of Michigan Dearborn, University of Michigan Flint, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Oakland University.
The Education and Exhibit areas will include opportunities for the kids to interact with organizations including: Belle Isle Nature Zoo, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Detroit, Detroit Public Library, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Michigan Amazing Girl Pageant, Meridian Health Plan and many more.
Other MDYD event exhibitors include: Crime Stoppers of Michigan, Detroit Historical Society, Detroit Public Schools Foundation, Detroit Community Health Connection, Forgotten Harvest, College Readiness Plan, Greater Detroit Restoration Project U.S. Department of Homeland Security, YMCA and more.
Motown legend Martha Reeves will kick off the opening ceremony with a performance of the national anthem during the opening ceremony, which starts at 10 a.m. But that’s just the beginning as kids 8 to 15 years old will provide entertainment for event guests by singing, dancing and showcasing their talents on the Pepsi Stage. The Detroit Opera House Children’s Chorus will give a special performance. Also performing will be MSU-Detroit’s Community Music School, The Mosaic Theater group and various high schools.
“As it was 32 years ago, our goal is for today’s youth to recognize that the community, business people and civic groups are here to support them and help provide a brighter future,” said Deeb. “It’s been truly astounding to watch this event grow and inspiring to see our youth come together for a day of camaraderie, positivity and, of course, fun.”
About Metro Detroit Youth Day
Chaired by Ed Deeb, Metro Detroit Youth Day was founded in 1981 by Deeb, the late Tom Fox and former WDIV-TV news anchor Jerry Blocker. Metro Detroit Youth Day has established itself as the largest youth-focused event in Michigan.
After fatal altercations in 1980 between youth and area retailers in Detroit, Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young directed community leaders to provide resolution. Metro Detroit Youth Day has grown annually from 1,000 attendees the first year to more than 34,000 youth attending. More than 1,600 volunteers, from more than 500 businesses and civic groups, donate their time to supervise the sports clinics, games, contests, luncheon and various other event activities.
Metro Detroit Youth Day expanded in 1991 to include youth guidance, mentors, role models, anti-substance abuse activity, motivational speakers, entertainment, awarding of 80 or more scholarships yearly, and honoring outstanding students for academic excellence and community service. Metro Detroit Youth Day has been awarded the Point of Light Award No. 477 from President George H.W. Bush and the Points of Light Foundation, the Michigan Governor’s Award on Physical Fitness as the top youth event along with numerous honors from local and national governmental agencies.
More information about Metro Detroit Youth Day can be found at www.metrodetroityouthday.com or on Facebook.