Skip to main content
U-M Poverty Solutions Logo U-M Poverty Solutions Logo


Back to news

Developing youth leadership to end youth homelessness

U-M Poverty Solutions staff work with youth in the Detroit Phoenix Center’s Summer Leaders Academy in 2023. (Photo by Nina Williams | Poverty Solutions)

By Nina Williams
Poverty Solutions

Fifteen Detroit teens and young adults spent this past summer developing communications skills to share their expertise and experiences with decision makers, through a partnership between the Detroit Phoenix Center and the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions. The workshops were part of DPC’s Summer Leadership Academy and offered various ways for youth to share their perspectives – ranging from poetry to advocacy statements to vision boards and video interviews – so the teens and young adults could engage in a way that felt authentic to them.

The workshops focused on youth casting a positive vision for their future and a strength-based approach to maintaining their mental health  – a topic that youth leaders at the Detroit Phoenix Center have identified as a priority. The Detroit Phoenix Center is a nonprofit that provides critical resources, wraparound support, and a safe, nurturing environment to youth who are transitioning out of homelessness and poverty in Detroit.

“We at DPC believe that those who are closer to the problem need to be driving the solutions, so we uniquely position them to do so,” said Courtney Smith, CEO of the Detroit Phoenix Center.