Life Directions is a nonprofit organization in southwest Detroit founded in 1973. It works in multiple communities to change and save the lives of at-risk youth and young adults. With its mission of “Peers Inspiring Peers,” the organization offers transformational programs and mentorship opportunities that encourage youth and young adults from ages 13-35 to seek a purposeful life direction, all of which is backed up by validated research and studies.
As it works hand-in-hand in communities, Life Directions’ program delivery has been affected by the pandemic. Young lives and their futures have been impacted. Life Directions has taken action during the shutdown to move its three programs designed for schools and neighborhoods to virtual mentoring classrooms. To that end, the organization is working in harmony with the Detroit Public Schools Community District to implement distance learning using the Microsoft team platform. In addition, the Life Directions team has been training and working in tandem with the district to launch peer mentor and motivation programs.
Currently, Life Directions is positioned to respond remotely to participating youth and their families through phone, Zoom, or other means of communication. Life Directions started in neighborhoods with an intergenerational focus working with parents inspiring parents. The team is now connected virtually with parents of the communities it serves, and the work in neighborhoods continues. For example, on a daily basis adult mentors remotely reach out to peer mentors and circle groups during the stay-at-home policy. The peer mentors, working closely with their mentees and adult mentors, sort out challenges or issues they face to begin the problem-solving process. Working together, Life Directions is dedicated to analyzing youth problems and issues, brainstorming effective ways to respond, and identify what is most important, especially during the pandemic.