The Eastside Youth Strong (formerly Kalamazoo Center for Youth and Community) was envisioned in 2003 by a group of community leaders who are committed to changing the negative outcomes for youth in the Eastside and Eastwood neighborhoods of Kalamazoo, MI.
In 2011, with startup funding from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and subsequent program funding support from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, Eastside Youth Strong began implementing quality youth development approaches aimed at increased classroom achievement. Since then, several partnerships have been developed to support changing the outcomes in the served neighborhoods. We now serve over 300 youth through the following partnerships:
- Kalamazoo Public Schools
- Northeastern Elementary
- SLD Read
- Kalamazoo Nature Center
- Western Michigan University Medical School
- Kalamazoo Valley Community College
- Eastside Neighborhood Association
- Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kalamazoo
- Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center
- Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. – Zeta Delta chapter
- Stories Told Sincerely From
Our mission is to support youth and families in their personal growth, educational attainment, health and wellness, civic engagement and social change. Eastside Youth Strong is applying best practice methodologies to support neighborhood assets and address neighborhood needs and to provide capacity building, collaboration, and evaluation to align services. Ultimately, Eastside Youth Strong seeks to help transform the Eastside and Eastwood Neighborhoods into a community where youth can reach their fullest potential by being economically self-sufficient, having healthy family and social relationships, graduating from high school on time, and contributing to their community.
Quality Programming at Eastside Youth Strong
Eastside Youth Strong uses the Youth Program Quality Assessment as the quality measurement tool to provide quality youth development. Today, we have met and exceeded national standards for providing quality in youth programming.
Social Emotional Tools for Youth Success
Eastside Youth Strong uses the Devereaux Student Strength Assessment DESSA to support youth in building strong social emotional skills for life. The DESSA is used by staff and partners engaged with youth and helps staff understand where they can work with a youth to address skill building.