Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies receives grant to build youth skills and promote civic engagement

A grant from the Gordie Howe International Bridge to Wayne State University will promote community safety and wellness in the Delray Southwest area.
A grant from the Gordie Howe International Bridge to Wayne State University will promote community safety and wellness in the Delray Southwest area.

DETROIT — A $638,283 grant was awarded to Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies for the initiative, AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program (AMUS).

The grant was provided by the Gordie Howe International Bridge to promote community safety and wellness in the Delray Southwest area. The program will be delivered through thirteen Detroit Youth Service Corps (DYSC) members from the Delray Southwest area and full-time staff will help increase public health and safety by focusing on providing residents with prevention activities and interventions.

“The goal of the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program is to engage youth — our Detroit Youth Service Corps — in outreach to neighborhood residents and local businesses to identify local public safety needs and implement events and activities to meet those needs,” said Ramona Washington, program director for AMUS. “The program helps to build youth skills and capacity for civic engagement, community service and problem-solving and prepares them to participate in our next generation of community leaders. The program service of our youth members helps to ensure that public safety is enhanced by sustainable, effective, community-driven solutions.”

Using the Detroit Police Department Part I Violent and Property Crime Reports to identify and understand the areas of crime “hotspots” and times of occurrence, this program will mobilize member/resident bike watch rides in hotspots. To reduce the vulnerability of residents’ cars, AMUS members will provide 250 VIN etchings, 250 twin-hooks anti-theft auto clubs, and 250 wheel-locks to residents in areas where theft and larceny are a concern. Along business corridors, members will raise awareness about public safety issues and remedial actions by facilitating a business watch survey to engage the interest of businesses in participating a business watch group.

“Throughout the Delray Southwest neighborhoods, we will assist in organizing, implementing, and supporting a community patrol for the area,” said Washington. “To remove threats to public safety and create a positive presence in Delray Southwest neighborhoods, members will board up five open and vacant properties, clean 15 vacant areas, and host five health and safety community events at Clark Park. To support neighborhood students who walk to and from school, we will implement five safe routes to schools at neighborhood schools. Finally, members will identify health and safety hazards specific to a resident’s home and provide 250 indoor home safety assessments and 100 indoor senior healthy safety risk assessments to provide safety resources to residents at no cost to eliminate these threats.”

In addition to these service activities, the DYSC members will attend 30 college and work readiness/development learning seminars designed to build skills for success in post-secondary education and/or employment. Seminar topics will include administrative aspects of college entry, college learning skills, and academic preparation for various career fields. DYSC members will participate in 10 panel discussions with Detroiters who have achieved success in the nonprofit, private, and public sectors. Seminar topics will also include resources for networking and resume building. Additionally, members will participate in four college tours to learn more about skilled trade schools, community colleges, and universities.

“This project is an example of how Wayne State University is committed to empowering the health and well-being of our urban neighborhoods,” said Ezemenari M. Obasi, Ph.D., vice president for research at Wayne State University.  “The leadership provided by our Center for Urban Studies will help make substantial contributions to improving the lives of residents in Southwest Detroit.”


About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit research.wayne.edu.


Contact info

Julie O'Connor

Director, Research Communications
Phone: 313-577-8845
Email: julie.oconnor@wayne.edu