5716 Michigan Ave #2200, Detroit, MI 48210
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Our missionTo motivate at risk young adults to mature responsible, productive adults

Life Directions

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Ways to help youth thrive

Peer Mentor Program

The Peer Mentor Program establishes positive peer-to-peer and intergenerational mentoring relationships by engaging school administrators, teachers, student families, Adult Coaches, certified peer achievers; and at-risk 8th graders in a community-wide response to eliminate violence and self defeating attitudes that keep students from successful graduation. In this process, achieving 10th and 11th graders, who have graduated from Life Directions' Peer Motivation Program, are trained as Peer Mentors. After school they mentor 8th graders from nearby grammar schools to prepare them for a positive transition to high school. Peer Mentors receive support, encouragement and guidance from trained Adult Coaches recruited from neighborhood and business communities. Together they form a "pyramid of support" that advances the academic and social achievement of the Peer Mentors and their 8th Grade Mentees. The quality of relationship between ethnically diverse Adult Coaches, students, and families is enriched through leadership summits, community service projects, and seasonal gatherings. These out-of-school activities are planned by Adult Coaches in cooperation with student peer leaders. The activities emphasize cross-cultural interactions that celebrate hope, and the positive values necessary for living a good life within supportive communities. This type of cultural enrichment has proved to be profound for all involved, and builds up the following developmental assets of participating students: 1. Positive Identity with the culture of the home and family by allowing students to tell others about value and good they experience in their culture. 2. Intercultural Competence as students gain knowledge and comfort with people of different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. 3. Awareness of Equality and Social Justice Issues across cultural, racial, ethnic and neighborhood boundaries.
  • Academic Support
  • Weekly
  • Friendship/Socialization, Healthy Behaviors
  • Formal
  • Education, Emotional, Social Skills
  • Middle School
  • Same One-to-One, Peer
  • Academically at Risk, Differently-abled, LGBTQ+
  • After School, School
  • Teens
  • Individuals
  • 1 Full Year, More Than A Year
  • 1 Hour/Week
  • Weekday Afternoons
  • In-depth
About usLife Directions was born out of the issue of violence. In 1973, Detroit was called the “Murder Capital” of the United States. On average one young adult was dying every twelve hours. The founders of Life Directions — Rev. John Phelps, C.Ss.R., Rev. Alex Steinmiller, C.P., Sister Rosalie Esquerra, O.P., and Alex and Judith MacDonald arrived at the intuitive understanding that it was necessary to “get to the cause of the violence.” The dynamic of “Peers Inspiring Peers through Forgiving” was forged through a series of neighborhood discussions directed at determining its root causes with people who were experiencing its effects.
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