Sarah-Grace Motley, Author at Alternatives For Girls

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LIVE CHAT

A Greek Life Goal for Female Empowerment

Apr. 1 2021 |

Written by Kaley Plaxton

In just one day, Tri Delta, a sorority at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, raised over $9,000 for Alternatives For Girls through an online fundraiser.

Emma Lucken, the sorority chapter’s next president, created and organized the fundraiser with the approval and support of the Tri Delta executive board.

With an original donation goal of $4,000, the fundraiser well exceeded everyone’s expectations.

When the fundraiser was announced to sorority members, Lucken shared AFG’s mission and community efforts. Members then posted graphics to their Instagram stories on Feb. 17. The fundraiser remained published for one day, but donations accumulated a few days after as well.

Lucken was drawn to AFG after discovering the programs and services offered in the Detroit area. She admires how AFG helps girls and women in the community by providing different types of support to those in need.

“I was drawn to the fact that AFG focuses on immediate care but also that so much of the focus of AFG is female empowerment,” said Lucken. “Giving women the tools to succeed and take control of their future is something that resonated with me and the girls in my chapter.”

The sorority’s fundraisers occur approximately four or five times per academic year, with one or two utilizing the social media bingo card format. Their typical charity is St. Jude Children’s Hospital, but AFG was an exception due to the sorority’s recent recommitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“AFG exemplifies all of these traits so well and we felt it was only fair to use our privilege to support such an incredible organization that gives opportunities to so many,” Lucken explained. “I heard about AFG through Instagram this summer but began donating monthly so I was connected to [the organization] which made setting up the fundraiser easy.”

The bingo fundraiser format has recently begun to replace standard fundraising events for fraternities and sororities around the country, in part due to the remote requirements of COVID-19. Members of Tri Delta encouraged their followers to send in the amount of money listed in one of the bingo squares on the graphic. Upon receiving each donation, the girls running the accounts filled in the corresponding boxes to fill the board as much as possible.

Reaching thousands of people, this fundraiser left Lucken feeling incredibly proud of the girls in her sorority.

“They worked so hard to collect donations and I know how passionate each of them are about what AFG does,” she said. “I also had members of the community not related to my sorority who reached out to me saying they were moved by what AFG does. The donations are incredible but [a bonus] is that AFG has caught the attention of many people in the community.”

Planting a Seed for a Hopeful Future

Mar. 26 2021 |

Written by Kaley Plaxton

Felton Mackiehowell, an inmate at the Lakeland Correctional Facility, recently sparked an inspirational fundraiser for Alternatives For Girls (AFG) raising $1,608. This amount is to be matched by the prisoner benefit fund making the total $3,216.

Mackiehowell first became familiar with AFG in the summer of 2020, when he spotted a close friend reading something new.

“I love reading, and Jayson was always into the type [of] material that contained meaningful [stories] and just my kind of reads. So instinctively, I asked him what was it that had his attention. That’s when he handed it to me.”

It was a pamphlet about AFG’s history and purpose, which Mackiehowell began to read as his friend shared that he was a regular AFG donor.

Mackiehowell expressed that this information inspired him to get back to his previous goals of practicing philanthropy.

“Reading the pamphlet and hearing about how Jayson was a donor, took me back to my childhood,” Mackiehowell said. “I reflected when I was already in the streets hustling, living a double life, but it was my mother who had such a beautiful heart and who showed me how to give back, which I think planted a seed within me.”

Mackiehowell’s mother became pregnant with him at the age of 15 and struggled as a young single mother. As a woman who related to many girls growing up with struggles in the city, she grew motivated to make a difference and asked him to join her at a home for girls on Detroit’s eastside where she styled many of the girls’ hair.

Mackiehowell suggested to his mother that they get the girl’s clothes and shoes too, and they went to a couple of stores where he spent his “dirty money.” Although he was embarrassed to admit where that money came from now, he recalled that the moment brought tears to everyone’s eyes.

Mackiehowell shared that this story felt like it came full circle 17 years later when he heard about AFG. “Correlating to now, that was the drive for this,” he said. “Me wanting to make a difference in my community despite my circumstances of being incarcerated is what fueled it.”

When describing the hurdles he had to overcome to gain the facility’s support, he explained that he had to get each warden to hear his idea and win them over. He also had to develop a thorough plan which was presented to a forum for approval.

“Many of my incarcerated peers here were excited and enthused; even generous enough to secure some donations like Rayrond Carr and L. McPherson,” Mackiehowell said. “Despite the many stigmas and stereotypes of those incarcerated, good-giving-hearts became the reality.”

Mackiehowell and his close friend Darrell Ewing hope to give back and make a major difference in the future. When he drafted up a flyer they both immediately got to spread the word.

“We both work so close at defying the odds while working on our projects like writing our memoirs and formulating our plans to cause change within criminal justice reform. So, when I told him my plan it was a no-brainer.”

This fundraiser was an opportunity for Mackiehowell and other incarcerated individuals, many of whom have daughters, mothers, and sisters fighting similar battles, to leave a positive impact on the community. He expressed that it left both the girls and young women, as well as the inmates better off.

“This means that bringing value to young women and especially young girls is bringing value to the future because not all but some will bring children into this world, and if AFG provides them with safe havens and resources based on some of the funds that we allocated, then we invested in our very own future because children are the future.”

Ewing added, “This means that we are contributing to the mission for AFG which helps curve girls and women from adding to the incarceration rate, where today women recidivism rates have risen [greatly] since the launch of the prison industrial complex.”

AFG is grateful for the seeds that Mackiehowell planted, following in his mother’s footsteps, and to all the individuals who contributed to help girls and young women reach a hopeful future as a result.

Volunteer Spotlight: James (Jim) Maier

Mar. 22 2021 |
Safe Choices volunteers Marissa Graziano and James Maier

If you’re driving around southwest Detroit on a Wednesday night between 6:30 – 9 PM, you just may see the AFG van driving around. And, the person you’ll see behind the wheel is James (Jim) Maier. Jim has been volunteering for AFG for five years, and he specifically chose the Safe Choices street outreach program.

“I found out about AFG on a website through my church,” said Maier. “I was looking for a new organization, and as I was looking through their website, I noticed street outreach was one of the areas they needed volunteers. There was just something, I don’t know. Once I saw they offered that, I knew right away that’s what I wanted to do.”

Volunteers in our Safe Choices program go out into the community twice a week, on Wednesday, in Jim’s case, and Thursday. Their goal – to find sex workers and provide them with resources (food, bleach kits for drug use, and information about AFG), and let them know AFG is available to them if they want help. Jim is usually joined by one or two other volunteers, usually Marissa Graziano (pictured above). There’s always someone in the front window handing out bags. If there’s a third person, they’re in the back of the van taking notes, and looking around to make sure no one is a threat.

“We are probably the only people that are doing something good for the women we stop for, and they are so grateful for anything we have to offer, just even to know somebody cares for them,” said Maier. “It’s just really moving when they say “thank you” or “God bless you.”

On average, Jim and the rest of the Wednesday crew make 10-15 stops a night year-round. Some days are lower, and some days are higher. The most stops he has ever made in one night was 25. Jim drives around 50 miles every Wednesday, covering the southwest area up to John R. and 8 mile.

The ultimate goal of the Safe Choices program is to get these women off the street, and into our New Choices program at AFG.

“There have been several women who have joined the New Choices program because of us stopping and talking to them on the street, it’s just so rewarding, and it makes it worth it – going every week,” said Maier.

AFG cancels 31st Annual Role Model Dinner scheduled for the end of March

Mar. 13 2020 |

As Alternatives For Girls (AFG) continues to monitor the rapidly changing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we are also mindful of its potential impact on our participants, staff, donors, sponsors and community partners.

Our first priority is everyone’s health and wellbeing.  We are taking all reasonable steps to continue to serve and protect our participants, who may be more vulnerable now than ever, and also to protect our staff, volunteers, and all from this virus.

We appreciate the many donors who have reached out to us out of concern for our participants and our overall community.  Because of your commitment and investment in AFG as a donor, volunteer, and/or supporter, we intend to keep you apprised of our plans and actions as we cope with these challenging circumstances.

A few things of note:

  1. We are committed to both continuing to serve the homeless and high-risk girls and women who depend upon us, and also to minimize the risk of the coronavirus to all in our care, and on our team.  To that end, we are taking many precautions (see below) but our critically important services—shelter, outreach, prevention—are sustained, with modifications as needed as the situation evolves.  We are also working together with our partner organizations throughout Detroit and beyond to collectively develop and implement best practices for serving all of our participants in the safest possible ways.
  2. After discussion with the AFG Leadership Team as well as the AFG Board of Directors, and a number of our event corporate partners, along with considering the increasing precautions many Michigan companies and organizations are taking, we made the difficult decision to CANCEL our 31st annual Role Model Dinner scheduled for Thursday, March 26, 2020, at the Renaissance Center Marriott Hotel. Our decision is based on our commitment to contribute to the safety and well-being of our honorees, participants, donors, sponsors, and staff.  While this cancellation puts a serious dent in our fundraising for the year, we remain committed to doing what it takes to sustain our critical services and will reach out to all in our supportive community as needed in the coming months. 
  3. Concrete precautions we are currently taking include following the recommendations of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services:
    • Cleaning all surfaces:  We are instructing all staff and participants to be even more diligent about cleanliness than usual. 
    • Hand Sanitizing and Washing:  We have and will continue to have hand sanitizer stations throughout our agency. We are asking all staff, participants, and guests to please use upon arrival and exit of our agency.  We are also asking that we refrain from handshaking and consider “elbow bumps” when meeting/greeting others. 
    • Coughing/ Sneezing Etiquette:  To help stop the spread of germs, we are advising all staff, participants, volunteers, and guests to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or with the upper part of your sleeve. 
    • Staying Home if Sick:  We are asking all staff, participants, volunteers, and guests to please stay home if you are experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath.  We have provided our staff with specific instructions on the updates to our sick leave policy during this time, designed to provide them with a safety net as needed.  We will do everything we can to ensure our employees are supported to stay home and see a doctor if needed. 
    • AFG Community Events:  At this time we are canceling or postponing large gatherings and conferences (i.e. greater than 50 people in a shared space). 

If you have any questions or concerns about any of AFG’s actions or needs during this time, or about ways to help, please feel free to reach out to me directly at agood@alternativesforgirls.org or at313-361-4000.

If you have any immediate questions regarding the 2020 Role Model Dinner, please feel free to reach out to Dawn Barrack directly at 313-361-4000, ext. 230 or dbarrack@alternativesforgirls.org.

Resources and Additional Information:  For additional information and resources about COVID-19 please refer to the following:

We appreciate your support and caring during this unprecedented health crisis. 


Wishing you good health,

Amanda (Amy) Good, CEO

Meet the Role Model: Flagstar Bank’s Laura Chavez to Receive 2020 Role Model Award

Feb. 20 2020 |
Laura Chavez-Wazeerud-Din

Meet Laura Chavez-Wazeerud-Din, one of our 2020 Role Models. Chavez is a Branch Manager for Flagstar Bank in Downtown Detroit. She has dedicated over 15 years to strengthening the community’s in the City of Detroit; from working with Southwest Solutions to Mexicantown Community Development Corporation to the Henry Ford Health System. She is focusing on spreading resources about health, financial literacy, and education. By providing free workshops and volunteering her time to communities in need. Chavez has worked diligently to establish the Hispanic Employee Relations Group (HERG). She is being recognized for her outstanding professional accomplishments and has demonstrated leadership throughout her career at this year’s Role Model Dinner.

Here are some clips from her recent conversation with AFG

Alternatives For Girls (AFG): For many of the women we serve, AFG provides the support system for them to help them make positive choices. Was there anyone in your life/career who helped guide you in making important decisions?

Laura Chavez: The people who were not my family loved me supported me, and at times saw me for what I couldn’t see myself as strong, vibrant. Ms. Beavers, third-grade teacher took her personal time to teach Laura to read. I would go to the house after school, on lunch breaks. She saw me for me in the special ed system. Mr. Palco was a great coach in high school. He knew I had my own apartment at 15 and was working hard. He believed in me and let me know to keep going and that he was always there to lean on. Sports are important for young people to belong to. Good friend’s mom loved me and supported me. Loved her like a fifth daughter. I can still reach out to her to talk because she’s still there for me.

AFG: Clearly, you have felt inspired to give back to the community. Is there any part of your personal story that has led to this?

Laura Chavez: One of the biggest things is, I grew up through foster care, knowing we really had nothing, almost made me say I want more for myself, my family, and when I had friends-more for them. Even starting out in the foster care system, jumping from home to home then coming back to a single parent. I saw great examples of what I didn’t want but I also saw great examples of what could be. I was never placed with a Hispanic family in foster care. I had a caseworker that I would see pretty frequently, she was Hispanic too, I don’t know that she necessarily said or did anything differently than what she did with anyone else. But, having someone who was representative of me in that role made me feel very comfortable and made me feel like she cared about us. I had that feeling that everything was going to be okay when I saw her. Never be afraid to talk to someone.

AFG: Who are your role models?

Laura Chavez: I see things that I like in a lot of people. I don’t know that I’d like to be just like them but there are certain characteristics that I would like to put into my own toolkit. I have a banker who works for me, getting ready to retire. Watching her interact with customers makes me want to be like her, and I’m her boss! It doesn’t need to be someone above me for me to admire them. My caseworker is also a role model. Saw her 2 years ago, remembered our case, my siblings and my family, I always thought “that’s what success is”. Ms. Beavers was a true role model. I wanted to be a teacher like her because of what she did.

AFG: Which of your accomplishments are you the most proud of?

Laura Chavez: Being a mom. My son is 10 years old now. As a youth, I can’t imagine my child going through what I went through. When he was born I remember thinking I would do everything I can to give him the best life. I feel so grateful that I could provide such a loving and sound environment for my son.

AFG: What advice would you give to the young women that AFG serves?

Laura Chavez: One thing I would say is, you have value. It’s really important to know that you have value. You have so much opportunity and it’s really important to know that you can do whatever it is that you want to do, as long as you want to do it. Having a game plan and an action plan is important to get it done. Tell your story, talk to mentors, the more you tell your story the more they will see your strengths and can give you support and encouragement. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

AFG: Why do you believe that it is important to empower girls and young women?

Laura Chavez: We’re so strong and we don’t know it. We think muscles make you strong, or height. But, there’s that inner strength that is so much more valuable. We don’t know we have it all the time and it may take someone else pointing it out and being a motivator and catalyst for your strength. As a manager, I try to highlight positive things with my team. As an educator, I always wanted to communicate to my students that they have value.

The 2020 Virtual Role Model Recognition Event and Auction will take place April 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm – April 26, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Registration opens Friday, April 17, 2020. Click here to register!

Meet the Role Model: Ilitch Enterprises President Denise Ilitch to Receive 2020 Role Model Award in March

Feb. 20 2020 |
Denise Ilitch

Meet Denise Ilitch, one of our 2020 Role Models. Ilitch is the President of Ilitch Enterprises, LLC.  She previously served as president of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. from 2000 to 2004, a privately held business that manages Little Caesar Enterprises, the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Tigers, Olympia Entertainment and Olympia Development. Through her extensive involvement and various leadership roles within the diverse portfolio of Ilitch Holdings companies, she has developed a very broad range of business skills, including expertise in executing large scale real estate developments. Ilitch earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her Law Degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. She is being recognized for her outstanding professional accomplishments and demonstrated leadership throughout her career at this year’s Role Model Dinner.

Here are some clips from her recent conversation with AFG

Alternatives For Girls (AFG): For many of the women we serve, AFG provides the support system for them to help them make positive choices. Was there anyone in your life/career who helped guide you in making important decisions?

Denise Ilitch: My father was my greatest support system, cheerleader and motivator throughout my life.  He was a superb listener and listened without judgment (which made him a safe harbor) and while he was not a big talker, he always gave sage advice. And he set a great example by every action he took.

AFG: Clearly, you have felt inspired to give back to the community. Is there any part of your personal story that has led to this?

Denise Ilitch: As a young girl my father, Mike Ilitch always taught the importance of giving back to the community.  Most importantly, he always illustrated this in his actions, not just his words.  He truly ‘walked the walk’. I can cite numerous examples of this.  One that comes to mind is one day he told me that Judge Damon Keith came to him and said Rosa Parks needed to move to a safer apartment.  He told me he was going to pay her rent so she could move to a safer place. He never said another word about it. Many years later when my Dad died it was reported in the news.  I was struck by the fact that he never mentioned it again, just continued the gesture until Rosa Parks died.

AFG: Who are your role models?

Denise Ilitch: Jesus is my earliest role model and the Book of Proverbs is my favorite. My father is my role model for all of the principles he taught me and lived throughout his life. Julie Fisher Cummings is also a role model to me for her huge and generous heart and constant philanthropic giving. Sandy Pierce is a role model to me for her ‘joie de vivre’ and how she treats people by making everyone feel valued and important.

AFG: Which of your accomplishments are you the most proud of?

Denise Ilitch: I am really proud of this honor from Alternative for Girls. I am honored by the lives I have been able to impact in a positive way.I am proud of the moments when I haven’t known the impact I had on someone’s life.

AFG: What advice would you give to the young women that AFG serves?

Denise Ilitch: Be confident and protect your confidence. Be with people who build you up not tear you down.  Don’t let anyone steal your confidence. Be determined in the life you want.  There is a saying; When one door closes, another opens.  I say, if that door is also closed, kick in a window. Self-improvement is a lifetime job.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  We sometimes are our own harshest critics.  We don’t need anyone else piling on. Seek help when you need it. No one on this planet escapes adversity.  It is not a moral weakness to ask for help. You deserve to be cherished.  And lastly, there is a saying that “Behind every great man is a great woman.  I say, “BEHIND EVERY GREAT WOMAN IS HERSELF.”

AFG: Why do you believe that it is important to empower girls and young women?

Denise Ilitch: It is important for many reasons.  As I learned in law school women were at one point ‘chattel’ or property and as we know we were unable to vote until August 18, 1920.  (We will be celebrating the 100th anniversary this year). Girls and young women need advocates so they can reach their greatest potential.

The 2020 Virtual Role Model Recognition Event and Auction will take place April 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm – April 26, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Registration opens Friday, April 17, 2020. Click here to register!

Meet the Role Model: Deputy Director and Chief Engineer, Detroit Water and Sewerage Company, Palencia Mobley to Receive the 2020 Role Model Award in March

Feb. 20 2020 |
Palencia Mobley, P.E.

Meet Palencia Mobley, P.E., one of our 2020 Role Models. Palencia is the Deputy Director and Chief Engineer for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Company. She was appointed by Mayor Mike Duggan and approved by the Board of Water Commissioners in January 2016. In her role, she oversees all department operations including engineering, capital construction, field services maintenance and repair, meter operations, fleet, and facilities. Mobley is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Wayne State University with a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is being recognized for her outstanding professional accomplishments and demonstrated leadership throughout her career at this year’s Role Model Dinner.

Here are some clips from her recent conversation with AFG.

Alternative for Girls: For many of the women we serve, AFG provides the support system for them to help them make positive choices. Was there anyone in your life/career who helped guide you in making important decisions?

Palencia Mobley: There is no one more paramount in my life than my mom. She nurtured me in a way that allowed me to grow into my own person and make my own decisions. She was confident that I would be able to find my way in this world.

AFG: Clearly, you have felt inspired to give back to the community. Is there any part of your personal story that has led to this?

Palencia Mobley: I live by the adage “I am my brother’s keeper”. There were so many people, along the way, who helped me become who I am. My mom was a nurse and had to be at work by 7 am. After my parents divorced, the neighbor across the street would let me come over in the morning so I could walk to the bus stop with her son. The love and support of family, and other adults, helped me understand the significance of giving back. I’ve achieved so much, it’s of minimal consequence for me to be able to do for others and give support for others. A closed hand cannot give anything but it also cannot receive anything. My mom taught me that you get what you give out to the world.

AFG: Who are your role models?

Palencia Mobley: Michelle Obama because she carries herself with grace, poise, and the confident assurance to come to the table with her full authentic self. I also admire Lizzo, as a woman who is plus-sized and has been my entire life, Lizzo affirms body positivity and confidence for those of us who don’t often see ourselves represented in mainstream media.

AFG: Which of your accomplishments are you the most proud of?

Palencia Mobley: My career. In my short tenure at the water department, we have been able to accomplish so much. I never say people work for me, they work with me. In three short years, we went from 3-5 miles of water and sewer infrastructure renewal per year and in 2018 we hit 50 miles. It’s been great changing how people feel about the work they perform for the community. I use my own funds to celebrate the hard-working staff of the department. I host an annual holiday dinner as well as a gift card giveaway. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do as a team. People need to understand their importance in the world, and the will show up for every time that connection is made.

AFG: What advice would you give to the young women that AFG serves?

Palencia Mobley: You don’t have to be a product of your circumstance. Despite what may be going on around you, it doesn’t have to consume you. If you stay focused, you can triumph. Through tragedy, you can triumph. I adopted a motto years ago that without struggle and sacrifice there is no success.

AFG: Why do you believe that it is important to empower girls and young women?

Palencia Mobley: As a child, I sang a song called “I am a promise…I am a possibility”. You have to speak truth to power. It’s so important for women and girls to assert who they are. You are fearless, you are strong, you are smart and you are worthy.

The 2020 Virtual Role Model Recognition Event and Auction will take place April 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm – April 26, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Registration opens Friday, April 17, 2020. Click here to register!

Girls and Young Women Set Goals for the Future: To prepare for the new school year, girls and young women at AFG have been getting help to set their goals!

Oct. 31 2019 | Tags: , ,

This month, the girls and young women in AFG’s programs have been setting and working towards new goals for the school year! Luz, a high school senior and member of AFG’s Asset Building Program, is making big plans for her future.

“My main goal is to get accepted to college,” she shares. Luz is applying to many colleges, including Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina.

Going to college is a big accomplishment for Luz, and her family. “I want to fulfill the goals that my parents had for themselves. They wanted to go to school, but they didn’t have the choice to. For my future, I know having an education will help me,” she says.

Luz is working hard to meet her goal. She completed several early applications, has filled out her FASFA, begun applying for scholarships, and has met with representatives from universities so that she can learn what they offer.

Thanks to your support, Luz received support and guidance to reach her goal. “I was confused and didn’t know what to look for in a university. But with AFG’s guidance, they helped me narrow down the list and criteria I was looking for.”

Through AFG’s Asset Building Program, Luz has opened her own college savings account and has started saving money for college. “It has helped me plan to set aside money for my college savings. Before, I never did that!” Luz also participated in AFG’s recent college tour in Chicago! During the trip, she visited several colleges and she was able to speak with women from different professions to gather insight.

“I know going to college will be a big change,” she says. “But I know I will experience so many things that I haven’t yet!”

Thank you for supporting the goals of girls and young women, like Luz. It makes a real impact!

AFG Conquers the Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon: The Sew Great Detroit seamstresses and volunteers joined thousands in the Detroit Marathon events

Oct. 31 2019 | Tags: ,

This month, Alternatives For Girls staff, volunteers, and the Sew Great Detroit (SGD) seamstresses took part in the Detroit Marathon! The SGD seamstresses and volunteers participated in the 5K for the second year in a row.

Sharon, a SGD seamstress who participated in the 5K last year, said that the Detroit Marathon gives her another chance to give back to the community that supported her when she was younger and in need of help. This year, Sharon knew she wanted her grandchildren to participate in the 5K with her and they enthusiastically joined in. Sharon says she might set a goal of walking the International Half Marathon as a goal for next year!

Darzell, another SGD seamstress, planned to participate in the 5K, but was unable to because of an injury. She still wanted to support her fellow seamstresses, so Darzell helped pass out water throughout the course route! “It was just so gorgeous! I couldn’t believe it. I was happy when I saw each person who was running for Alternatives For Girls,” she shared.

A big thank you to everyone who created a fundraiser to support AFG throughout the Detroit Marathon. Thanks to the support of 19 fundraisers and 151 individual donors, nearly $8,000 was raised to help homeless and high-risk girls and young women!

Rise N’ Shine Finale: 50 campers celebrated a summer full of fun, learning, and friendship at the end of summer finale

Aug. 30 2019 |

On August 15th, AFG’s Rise N’ Shine summer camp came to an end. Rise N’ Shine is a free six-week summer camp that gives girls living in southwest Detroit a safe space to learn new things, improve their reading skills, and make friends. For three days each week, the campers spend the day participating in fun, educational workshops and field trips. This summer, workshops included: gardening, dancing, science, and more.

The 50 campers celebrated their memorable summer with a fun end of summer finale. The finale allows the camper’s families to see what they’ve learned and created throughout the summer. Throughout the room where the celebration was held, the campers displayed the artwork they created and the science projects they completed.

Once everyone settled in, the campers began by reciting their daily Rise N’ Shine pledge. “With AFG, I rise and shine,” they began, all 50 campers in unison. “I am a friend, I support and trust. Working together is a must!” they continued. Their voices getting louder as they reach the end, “When I think of giving up, AFG comes to mind. They lift me up to rise and shine!”

The celebration began with a performance from the Red Group, which included campers 10 to 11 years old. The girls performed an energetic dance they learned during the African dance workshop with Heritage Works. Their hard work and practice paid off once they were able to perform their masterpiece for friends and family. Judging by the applause, the audience thoroughly enjoyed their performance!

Some campers also recited poems they wrote during the camp. One camper recited the following poem about self-esteem and confidence:

I look in the mirror and what do I see?

I see me, no one else can be

I am precious, I am glad to be me

My hair, my face, my personality

My size, my skin, the color of my skin

All make up me, I am proud to be in

Before the end, the campers took to the microphone to share what they want to be when they grow up. “My name is Samiyah. I am strong, and when I grow up I want to be a doctor,” one camper shared, with confidence. The others followed, sharing their dreams. From becoming a zoo keeper to an engineer, a fashion designer to a child psychologist, and everything in between.  The crown applauded and cheered as each camper shared their future goals.  

Finally, yearbooks were distributed. In the end, there were a lot of smiles and hugs as the girls signed each other’s yearbooks and waved goodbye for now.

Alternatives For Girls would like to thank all of the volunteers and donors who supported Rise N’ Shine this summer. Thank you for making it a summer the girls will never forget!