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Youth employment program offers mentors, life skills

By Safiya Merchant
The University Record

U-M Summer Youth Employment Program participant Alexandrie Lintz-Suarez oversees daily operations at Maggie’s Marketplace, the recently launched food pantry for patients at the Ypsilanti Health Center. (Photo by Austin Thomason, Michigan Photography)

Inside Maggie’s Marketplace, the food pantry for Michigan Medicine’s Ypsilanti Health Center, Alexandrie Lintz-Suarez hands a paper bag to a woman and her 13-year-old granddaughter.

The grandmother then peruses the shelves with great detail, picking out cans of peaches, mixed vegetables and corn with no salt. She often talks to her granddaughter about what they should bring back home.

During the shopping trip, Lintz-Suarez, 18, tells her she can take as many Fig Newton bars as she wants. The grandma takes three. She gets excited when she learns the pantry has fresh radishes on hand; she grabs a couple along with some onions.

On her way out, the grandmother says thank you. “I’m not gonna cry,” she added, softly.

Lintz-Suarez is one of 40 youth participants working in departments across campus this summer as part of U-M’s Summer Youth Employment Program, an initiative spearheaded by Poverty Solutions, a major U-M initiative dedicated to the prevention and alleviation of poverty, in partnership with the Edward Ginsberg Center, Youth Policy Lab, University Human Resources and several community partners, including the Washtenaw County government and Michigan Works! Southeast.

Read the full story at The University Record.