Eastside Youth Strong supports Eastside youth in their goals to graduate and be socially and emotionally strong. We offer programs that offer youth an opportunity to grow as individuals and be successful in their own unique way. We value our responsibility to hold youth accountable and encourage them to try new things.

Our History

Eastside Youth Strong (formerly Kalamazoo Center for Youth and Community) was envisioned in 2003 by a group of community leaders who were committed to changing the negative outcomes for youth in the Eastside and Eastwood neighborhoods of Kalamazoo.

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 partnerships with numerous organizations.

Learn more about Eastside Youth Strong Programs

Drop-in, high quality after school programGrades K-12

Individual Literacy TutoringGrades 1-3

Arts and Science Experiential LearningGrades 1-5

Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and MathGrades 5-6

After-school entrepreneurship program for teensGrades 8-12

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 meet and exceed 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. 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.

Our Mission

To empower Eastside youth through transformative relationships and evidence-based practices.

Our Vision

To create an environment where all Eastside youth can reach their fullest potential.

Meet our board and staff