36th Annual Metro Detroit Youth Day to be held July 11, on Belle Isle

40,000 kids and 1,800 volunteers expected to participate, pre-registration required

DETROIT - One of the highlights of summer for nearly 40,000 youngsters from the Metro Detroit area is the annual Metro Detroit Youth Day (MDYD). This year (2018) the colorful event for children will celebrate its historic 36th anniversary on July 11. It is the largest youth event in Michigan, and one of the largest in the nation.

Metro Youth Day began following altercations between youth and Detroit merchants in the summer of 1980. Two youngsters and one owner were killed. The event was created to show youngsters that businesses, the community and civic organizations do care about our youth.

“Metro Detroit Youth Day is a success story about people and organizations working together to motivate students to do better in school, and to encourage harmonious community relations,” said Ed Deeb, co-founder and coordinator of the event. He is also founder of the Michigan Food and Beverage Association (MFBA), one of the event’s main sponsors. Today, more than 340 community groups participate in Metro Detroit Youth Day.

“The fun-filled day gives kids a chance to enjoy time away from home in the middle of summer while participating in a supervised, constructive setting with 1,700 volunteers helping,” Deeb continued. “The day emphasizes education, sportsmanship, fair play and leadership.”

Youth Day is a catalyst in channeling children’s energy in a positive and constructive setting. Special games and activities are also included for the growing number of disabled or handicapped youngsters participating.

In addition Metro Detroit Youth Day will feature entertainment from musicians and singers from various schools. Also, the 12th annual Metro Detroit Youth Day Youth Idol Contest will be held with performances from students at Youth Day.

“Today, we are more than fun and games,” Deeb Said “Originally, the goal was to offer games and inspire community goodwill and harmony. ” Following receipt of the Presidential Point of Light Award (No. 477), in 1991 MDYD became more serious and was expanded to include youth guidance, mentors, role models, anti-substance abuse activity, motivational speakers, entertainment and awarding more than 100 college scholarships to graduating high school seniors each year. To date more than 1,800 scholarships have been awarded to area graduating high school seniors from the tri-county area.

Metro Detroit Youth Day also honors 10TH & 11TH graders from area metro Detroit high schools for academic achievement and community service each year.

Youth between the ages of 8-15 years will be able to participate in various sports clinics, contests, races, entertainment, and visit the education area including College Row chaired by John Ambrose of Michigan State University. Some 14 colleges and universities will be on hand. Also there will be groups who display their activities in the Exhibit and Education tents who plan to participate. In addition, there will be mini-workshops on anti-bullying, fighting crime and anti-obesity. An entrepreneurship workshop will also take place to help teach the kids the basics of starting and running a business and being your own boss.

Sports stars, government officials, media celebrities and others attend the event and provide upbeat messages and encouragement to the youth. At noon a free lunch will be served to youth participants and volunteers, provided by Michigan’s food industry and members of Michigan Food and Beverage Association, Deeb said.

More than 360 community and youth organizations participate in Metro Youth Day, including more than 240 businesses, civic organizations and government agencies as sponsors.

Metro Detroit Youth Day began in 1980 following altercations between a dozen youngsters and food store owners on Livernois Ave. in Detroit. The youngsters were running into stores, grabbing bottles of wine or liquor and running out of the stores with the store owners chasing them during a two-week period. Community people and the Detroit area food industry were upset over the incidents and called for a stop to what was going on.

Mayor Colman A. Young called Deeb and said the community was quite angry over the altercations. He said he would try to calm parents, but wanted Deeb to calm the angry grocers.

The late Tom Fox and Jerry Blocker called Deeb and wanted to help on the event to show that youth were basically respected and appreciated.

Hence, Metro Detroit Youth Day was formed 36 years ago.

“When we help and work with our kids, we provide meaning to their lives and service to humanity, which I feel is the best work of life,” Deeb said. “We want to inspire our youth to do the most good, in a crime-free environment.”

To learn how you can participate in the future as organizations, volunteers, sponsors, or to register youth, contact Michigan Youth Appreciation Foundation at (586) 393-8801 or visit our website at www.metrodetroityouthday.org 





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