After-school program focuses on more than just literacy

Center for Success Detroit has nearly 1-to-1 ratio of students, mentors

DETROIT – After-school programs are popping up all over metro Detroit, but there is one program that has a unique location.

"One of the absolute symbols of decay of Detroit: The Packard Plant," Mitch Albom said.

"We focus more on the bright, beautiful classroom that we have," Andrea Meyer said. "We focus on the positive energy within our classroom."

It is this positive energy that makes the Center for Success Detroit a success. With 47 kids enrolled and a waiting list of 65, Meyer has developed an after-school program that focuses on more than just literacy.

"If the confidence is not there and the self-respect almost is not there, then they don't really feel like they can grow. So bringing in mentors has been incredibly helpful," Meyer said.

The Center for Success Detroit has an almost 1-to-1 ratio of students and mentors.

"For each student to have one person, and throughout the school year, that they can sit with and be connected with," Meyer said. "The kids need to know that we believe in them, we care about them and we know they can do it."

"Commitment is very important to you," Albom said.

"Right. It's a free program for our families and our students, but we ask them to pay with that commitment and to pay with their attitude and their behavior, really showing us that they want to be there," Meyer said.

The students are picked up from school, provided a meal and take part in group activities like music, swimming and cooking -- activities that boost self-confidence in all areas of their lives.

"I love teaching, and to be still engaged with the students is so awesome. And so to do it this way has been incredible," Meyer said.

Encouraging a love for learning in the shadows of decay, Meyer and the Center for Success Detroit is mentoring youths in the heart of Detroit.