Staging science demonstrations, sharing admissions information and awarding scholarships, volunteers from Wayne State University last week helped Metro Detroit Youth Day make a triumphant return to Belle Isle after the event was postponed for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As thousands of children from throughout metro Detroit gathered at the island park, nearly 20 volunteer Warriors joined them for hours of fun and learning. Among the university units involved were the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the College of Engineering, the School of Medicine, the Department of Education’s kinesiology program and the Department of Chemistry. The event marked the 38th annual Metro Detroit Youth Day.
“Metro Detroit Youth Day was started to give youth in the city an opportunity to have fun in a safe and engaging way,” said LaJoyce Brown, senior associate director of the Office of Undergraduate Admission. “MDYD provides more than 100 activities for students to engage in, including sports activities, higher education exposure, nature trails, entertainment, youth idol contest, pie eating contest, free lunch and so much more.”
Brown, an executive board member for Youth Day, also served at the mistress of ceremonies for a scholarship ceremony hosted at the gathering. WSU, which Brown said has been part of Youth Day for 15 years, provided four scholarships for incoming Wayne State students.
“It’s important for WSU to be part of Youth Day because we are in the heart of Detroit and have a commitment to providing access to education,” Brown said. “This is a way to give back to the community, to show we care and to have a presence and commitment to youth in Detroit and the metropolitan area. I also serve as an executive board member on the steering committee, and it was my pleasure to help coordinate the event after not having it for two years because of the pandemic.”
In addition to handing out scholarships, Brown said, WSU volunteers provided attendees with information to help them with college planning and put on an assortment of science experiments that wowed the kids. The College of Engineering offered robotics and STEM activities, and volunteers from the Department of Chemistry put on experiments such as making explosive “vinegar volcanos” by combining baking soda and vinegar. Participants from the School of Medicine allowed children to try “medical procedures” using the board game Operation.
“It was amazing to see the thousands of youth come,” said Brown, “and some expressed that this was their first time having such a day of fun.”