As a group, we often wonder whether today's children will experience a better tomorrow than we are today. Most of the time, it seems like we enjoy a better life than our parents did.
Are better days ahead for our youth in Detroit?
The real answer is...I do not know. My crystal ball has a lot of static, and I do not see that changing anytime soon.
However, I have some guesses...and THAT answer is...Yes...and No.
Obviously, Detroit is a city with a lot of problems...more than most other cities. There are scores of people who are literally afraid to come into the city. I know several of them personally.
There are many places in Detroit that are not safe...for kids and adults, alike. That keeps Detroit from attracting some of the people who have money from coming into the city to spend time...and their money.
Unfortunately, many kids in the city cannot concentrate on learning during the school day or study after school. There are many distractions for all children, but some places are more conducive to learning than others. It seems like the deck is stacked against way too many children in this city.
Plus, it is tough to position yourself to want to move into a better neighborhood if you never see a better neighborhood. Many of Detroit's children who live in some of the rougher neighborhoods are not likely to seek a better life as an adult than what they see as a child.
Wait...Detroit's Future is Not All Bad!
Each week, I see several Detroit young adults, ranging from high school to just graduating college. Many of THESE people prove to me that there IS hope in Detroit. It will not surprise me to see many of these people become future leaders.
They take initiative. They ask questions. They simply want to find ways to take control of their lives, and are smart enough to seek out people and resources that can help them.
Plus, the City of Detroit has been more jobs recently, thanks to Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans, Peter Karmanos, Jr. of CompuWare, and others.
Also, as much as the housing prices dipping really hurt the city--especially with so many foreclosures--these prices are attracting investors from different parts of the world. That's right! People from Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East are attracted by the GREAT POSSIBILITIES here in Detroit.
These investors are putting money into Detroit to buy and fix houses. That means Detroit neighborhoods are going to become better...fewer vacant, boarded-up houses.
It is too tough to predict (with any accuracy) whether Detroit will have more jobs when today's children of Detroit become as ready-to-work adults. However, there are some really good signs I see today.
The City of Detroit has a long way to go before it becomes a living destination of choice for people worldwide, but it is also making some serious progress...and THAT is an important first step toward giving our children the hope they need for tomorrow.
What can WE do to help Detroit become better tomorrow than it is today? What can YOU do?
-by Chris Wechner