What We Do

We help young people overcome challenges of poverty, fatherhood, criminal activity, unemployment, and cultural barriers that are pervasive in our communities.
Theory of ChangeOur Programs

Theory of Change

Grand CITY intentionally engages Achieve Program members, ages 15-25, who are returning to our communities from incarceration or have other histories of serious criminal and/or gang involvement. When Achieve Program members succeed, our communities see the greatest positive impact.

Grand CITY’s comprehensive and long-term program model is intentionally designed for young adults with proven risk factors, primarily incarceration and other serious criminal histories. Our communities are characterized by high poverty rates, low educational attainment levels, and a strong manufacturing pedigree. Our young adults’ experience and opportunities are shaped by these community challenges.

Our Hypothesis

1) If Achieve members (with serious drug and/or criminal involvement) are productively engaged in Grand CITY activities and supports for an extended period during the critical ages of 15-25, then by 25, they will have the skills and resilience they need to maintain stable employment and avoid further criminal activity.

2) If we are able to specifically target and serve those impact Achieve members (through the age of 25) who are most likely to recidivate and cause harm in our communities, success will also translate into a significant return on investment from a public health, public safety, and economic development perspective.

We bring to the community these programs:

Transitional Coaching

Transitional Coaches serve as mentors and wraparound service coordinators who meet 1:1 to help young adults overcome barriers, and connect them with essential supports, including our onsite mental health and substance abuse counseling. A young person’s Transitional Coach stays with them throughout their Grand CITY enrollment, which averages 18-24 months as young people build on their own Core Competencies in four key areas: Universal, Personal, Vocational, and Educational.

Workforce Development 

Our social enterprises (Event Planning and Food Services) offer young adults paid work experience to develop the job and life skills required to excel in any workplace. Our social enterprises achieve a triple bottom line:

  1. Facilitate positive youth development, along with paid work experience
  2. Generate earned revenue to support our mission
  3. Support our communities’ economic development


Most of our young adults do not have a high school credential when they join Grand CITY. Onsite education helps young people prepare to take the multi-part MiGED test to earn a high-school equivalency credential. Our small classes, tailored instruction, and extra support make a big difference for young people who have oftenbeen out of the classroom for several years before coming to Grand CITY.

Social Justice +
Civic Engagement

Young adults are the experts in their own experiences, and returning that knowledge to the community is essential for our shared progress. Starting with Morning Stand-Up / Huddles facilitated by young adults, and our Know Your Rights workshops, young people build their understanding of issues in the local community through social justice and community organizing activities. Locally, Grand CITY coordinates a youth-led policymaking coalition that focuses on young adult justice. 

Grow Up Great Early Childhood Education Center

(coming soon) More than a third of Grand CITY’s young adults are also young parents. We plan to open an onsite, Grand CITY-operated early childhood education center to help our young families break the cycle of poverty. With a child-centered, social-emotional based curriculum, our Grow Up Great Center is inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy that encourages children to lead their own learning. With experienced, educated teachers supporting independence and self-regulation, children at the Grow Up Great Center will be building on the same Core Competencies that their parents are working on next door.

Sports Enrichment +
Special Events

Grand CITY is a family, and families need to play and celebrate together, too. Enrolled young adults can spend extra time with us in the drop-in center, through programs including sports and fitness training. We have a sound recording studio and gym space, and hold holiday parties, dances, and family events for young people throughout the year.

Other special events include:
  • 3rd and Long SAT Prep
  • Father-Son Event / 5K Walk
  • Fathers & Families Flag Football Tournament
  • All Pro Football Camp
  • Grand CITY Sports Breast Cancer Walk
  • Turkey Give-a-Way
  • Tux & Chucks Gala

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