This year Tell Us Detroit publisher Harold Meeks was honored to receive from event founder Edward Deeb, 'The Distinguished Service Award' for tireless support of metro area youth.  (Photo by Claudia Lugo/Tell Us Detroit)

  Despite threat of rain, thousands enjoy 35th Metro Detroit Youth Day on Belle Isle

By Wendell Bryant/Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT, MI (Tell Us Det) - One of the highlights of summer went off flawlessly despite the threat of rain for more than 35,000 youngsters from the metro Detroit area during the annual Metro Detroit Youth Day. The colorful event for children celebrated its historic 35th anniversary on July 12. It is the largest youth event of the year in Michigan.

“The fun-filled day gave kids a chance to enjoy time away from home in the middle of summer while participating in supervised, constructive activities, with 1,600 volunteers helping and supervising,” stated event founder Ed Deeb. “The day emphasizes sportsmanship, education, fair play and leadership.”

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

University of Detroit Mercy Titans mascot greets a group of enthusiastic kids during the 35th Metro Detroit Youth Day at Belle Isle Park. (Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)

Youth Day is a free, annual event that attracts Michiganders from ages 8 to 15. On Wednesday, about 37,000 people attended the event, according to organizers, and took part in activities such as sports clinics with professional Detroit athletes, talent shows, character-building workshops and informational sessions hosted by 12 universities. 

“Metro Detroit Youth Day is a success story about people and organizations working together for harmonious community relations,” said Ed Deeb, co-founder and coordinator of the event. He is 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.

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.

FBI community agents outfit Jr. FBI agents with body amour to demonstrate how it feels when chasing down criminals. (Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)

Following receipt of the Presidential Point of Light Award (No. 477), in 1991 MDYD became even more focused and expanded to include youth guidance, mentors, role models, anti-substance abuse activity, and awarding 60 or more college scholarships to graduating high school seniors each year. To date more than 1,000 scholarships have been awarded to area graduating high school seniors.

Metro Detroit Youth Day also honors non-seniors from area metro Detroit high schools for academic achievement and community service each year.

Youth between the ages of 8-15 years were able to participate in various sports clinics, contests, races, entertainment, and visit the education area including College Row where 14 universities were on hand.

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 was served to youth participants and volunteers, provided by Michigan’s food industry and members of Michigan Food and Beverage Association, Deeb said.  (Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)

More than 340 community and youth organizations participate in Metro Youth Day, including more than 220 businesses, civic organizations and government agencies as sponsors.

“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 MFBA (586) 393-8801 or visit our website at www.metrodetroityouthday.com .


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