Youth Development Commission partners with Detroit Public Schools, Detroit PAL and others to develop scholar athletes in Detroit

Coaching for College Initiative Unveiled to Promote Academic and Athletic Achievement

IMG_4185DETROIT – Youth Development Commission, along with partners Detroit Public Schools, Education Achievement Authority, Detroit PAL, GradeCheck, Wayne State University VAC Training Program, Maximum Output Track Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, local coaches, as well as former college and retired professional athletes, announced a collaborative relationship to develop student athletes in Detroit and help them prepare for the next level through the Coaching for College initiative.

A formal press conference took place on Tuesday, December 16 at the Youth Development Commission.

“We are very excited about this program to help develop student athletes in Detroit and help prepare them for the next level,” said Donna Givens Williams, President of Youth Development Commission. “Athletes learn many valuable lessons while on their field of play, we want to make sure they are prepared and can translate those skills beyond sports. They need to be prepared for college. They need to be prepared for their careers. They need to be prepared for life.”

Currently, only 33% of NCAA-evaluated student athletes in Detroit are academically eligible to play at the college level. There is a great need for coaches, parents, teachers, schools, and other partners to not only prepare student athletes for NCAA-eligibility but to prepare them for the next level of education and careers.

“At Detroit Public Schools, we are excited to be one of the founding partners of Coaching for College,” said Alvin Ward, Executive Director of the Office of Athletics for Detroit Public Schools. “We all have one goal in mind: To help ensure our middle and high school students are fully prepared for college, careers and beyond through wrap-around services that will engage not only our athletic departments, but the City of Detroit and dozens of community organizations.”

Student athletes must be supported as students first with high academic goals and career goals beyond sports. The Coaching for College program will:

  • Implement community standards for academic achievement and character development of student athletes
  • Train coaches to influence student achievement on and off the field
  • Build parent and student awareness
  • Establish ranking standards for programs
  • Promote health and wellness initiatives to help prevent or exacerbate injuries
  • Administer mini-grant funds to incentivize teams and programs that adhere to these standards

As a result of this program, the partnering organizations expect to see an increased rate of NCAA eligible athletes coming out of Detroit schools. Student athletes will also improve their academic performance, as well as be an example of character, citizenship, college matriculation and persistence to their peers.

“If we can’t develop students academically, socially, emotionally as well as athletically, then we’re doing a disservice to our kids,” said Robert Giles, Jr., Athletic Consultant, Education Achievement Authority. “Coaching for College is one major step to help with the overall development of our student athletes in Detroit.”

Coaching for College will hold a community summit in February 2015 and community forums throughout the year in order to inform and engage more students in the city of Detroit about this program.

Coaching for College will require a community-wide effort to ensure its success. Volunteer mentors, tutors and supporting partners are welcome to contact Youth Development Commission by visiting or calling 313-963-8916. 

About Youth Development Commission:

Youth Development Commission, formerly known as the Youth Sports and Recreation Commission, is a nonprofit youth-oriented organization providing college and career readiness programs and services to students in Detroit. Since 1994, Youth Development Commission has been assisting youth with summer and year-long employment programs, sports and recreational opportunities, after-school activities, as well as academic skills training, test preparedness, college financial aid research and character development.  Youth Development Commission is also a pioneer in providing capacity building training to youth serving organizations in Metro Detroit. Financial support, gift-in-kind donations and volunteer labor allow Youth Development Commission to continue serving more youth in Detroit. For more information please visit or call (313) 963-8916.


About Detroit Public Schools

Detroit Public Schools is creating Neighborhood-Centered, Quality Schools at 97 campuses with a mission to provide a comprehensive educational experience that is high-quality, challenging and inspires all students to make a positive contribution to society. DPS offers a wide variety of educational advantages to students and parents including Individualized Learning Maps for all students. New this year, arts/music and sports leagues for boys and girls are being offered at every elementary/middle school. Prekindergarten offerings have been expanded to 70 schools across the district for all qualified 4-year-olds. Twenty-one schools are now open as Community Schools, offering extended hours and services. Students in grades 8-12 enjoy take-home Netbooks and students in grades 6 and up have access to Netbooks in school. An outstanding Fine Arts program with instrumental music, vocal music and dance is also offered. Ongoing advantages include eight parent resource centers, Parent University and additional parenting programs, enhanced safety initiatives, a district-wide Customer Service focus, nine Detroit Rising College Preparatory Schools and DPS-authorized charter schools led by educators with proven track records of raising achievement. In 2014, DPS graduates earned $138 million in grants and scholarships. To learn more about Detroit Public Schools, visit or call 313-240-4DPS.


About Education Achievement Authority

The Education Achievement Authority of Michigan is a reform district created via a 2011 inter-local agreement between Detroit Public Schools and Eastern Michigan University. The EAA oversees 15 schools — nine elementary/middle schools (of which three are charter schools) and six high schools.


About Detroit PAL

Detroit PAL is a nonprofit organization positively impacting the lives of nearly 11,000 children each year through athletic, academic and leadership development programs with roots dating back to 1969. Detroit PAL empowers the community by training volunteer coaches and creating safe places for kids to play. Each year, Detroit PAL teaches nearly 1,500 caring community members how to be encouraging and effective mentors.


About Grade Check Foundation

GradeCheck provides students and their parents the ability to understand current academic performance, set goals for improvement and monitor performance against those goals to ensure that each student has the opportunity to fully engage in higher education and its rewards. GradeCheck also provides academic support services for clients through a “high-tech, high-touch” approach. is a web-based application that gives students, parents and educators visibility to students’ current academic status, accountability to map future academic plans and the empowerment to recognize the opportunities that are available to all students.  Incorporated into the site are key metrics surrounding core course requirements for high school graduation, weekly progress tracking, test scores and eligibility status for college scholarships and acceptance, to name a few.

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