Why We’re here



We’re here because we know. . .


Teens in Detroit face many daunting challenges that, if unmitigated, will threaten their ability to live full, productive lives and to become functioning, contributing members of their communities. Poverty failing schools, a city in financial disarray, violence, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, and fractured families are sadly all part of everyday life for Detroit teens.

Youth can become economic liabilities or opportunities. That’s where Teen HYPE comes in. We’re changing outcomes for Detroit’s youth by getting them ready for the world. But what does it mean for a young person to be “ready” for life’s demands at every stage? Simply putwhen kids are ready they become self-sustaining adults that positively contribute to their community. This is what Teen HYPE was created to foster.

A snapshot of detroit

  • In 2018, more than half of all the children in Detroit lived in poverty.

  • Each year, approximately 1,600 Detroit youth ages 15–19 become pregnant– 2.5x the state teen pregnancy rate. This high rate is due in large part to lack of awareness and access to reproductive health services.

  • At 18.5%, Detroit has the second highest rate of young men who are not in school or workforce in the nation. 16.4% of young women are similarly “disconnected.”


How Does It Compare?

Our team did some research to see how the rate of risky behaviors for Detroit high schoolers compared to the national rate for the same behaviors amongst teens the same age. Here’s what we found:

% of Students Who’ve Ever Had Intercourse

Detroit: 50.7% | U.S: 41.2%

% of Students Who Didn’t Use contraception During Last Intercourse

Detroit: 18.1% | U.S: 13.8%

% of Students who used marijuana in PAst 30 days

Detroit: 27.4% | U.S: 21.7%

**Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey

Learning what issues our youth are suffering from is essential to Teen HYPE’s work.

In 2017 Teen HYPE developed, conducted and analyzed a survey of 238 Detroit middle school students to gain a better understanding of the issues younger teens are facing in the city.

54% — Parent Separated/Divorced

43% — Psychological neglect by Family

41% — household member went to prison

36% — Mentally Abused or Threats of Physical Abuse

31% — Actual Physical Abuse by Adult in Household

23% — Physical Abuse of Mother/Step-Mother

18% — Drug Use Disorder in Household

17% — Physical Neglect

17% — Depression, Mental Illness or Attempted Suicide

15% — Sexual Abuse by Older Person



Teen HYPE fosters resilience…

Teen HYPE fosters resilience in youth by identifying caring adults and fostering hope through life visioning. We infuse trauma-informed principles at every level of our services. Since 2004, we have reached nearly 40,000 youth through classroom instruction, performances and after school programming.

How do we do it?

We’ve reached these youth through our Annual Theatrical Production - which has at least 2,000 student patrons each year - as well as through our Peer Education program and our school-based health education programming.

Peer Education

Each year we recruit 50-60 Detroit area youth to join our Peer Education program—a leadership development initiative that prepares teens for the next stage of life. This program has a 100% High School Graduation Rate for participants and 0 teen pregnancies to date. Each Peer Educator receives 300 hours of academic development, sexual health education, performing arts training, and life skills development annually. More than 600 Detroit teenagers have served as Peer Educators since the program launched, and these young leaders have reached over 28,000 of their peers through their annual theatrical productions.

School-Based Health Education

Our robust school-based health education programming reaches middle and high school students across Detroit. During the past school year, we provided substance abuse prevention programming for 300 Detroit high school students, thanks to funding from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 87% of those youth completed the full 12-session course.

Last year we also leveraged funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Family and Youth Services Bureau to provide youth development intervention programming to 676 middle school youth at 9 Detroit schools. 91% of these students completed the required sessions.

Our most utilized program Loving Our Lives, has shown particular effectiveness:

  • 90% reported feeling comfortable talking to their partner about contraception

  • 96% said they would use contraception if they were having sex

  • 97% said the program was helpful in connecting them to resources

  • 85% reported having gained communication and negotiation skills to avoid risky situations

  • 85% indicated their intention to abstain from sexual intercourse or consistently use contraception to prevent pregnancy and STIs/HIV

  • 75% indicated they are more likely to abstain than they were prior to the programming

  • 59% said they are more comfortable to talking their parents about contraceptives

In all, we have reached 7,000 Detroit middle and high school students through our evidence-based adolescent health education programs.

Reproductive & Sexual Health Services

Since 2011, Teen HYPE has conducted Community-based HIV Counseling and Testing with funding from the Center for Disease Control. In 2017, we notified two young people that they were living with HIV and linked them to supportive services. We are the only program in Detroit to reach African American male teenagers with such services.

New research indicates that afterschool programs can have significant impact on outcomes such as high school graduation.
— Paul Anton, Chief Economist, Wilder Research

Understanding the Impact of

Smiling girl in Teen HYPE shirt on angle at fashion show.JPG

A steadfast dedication to supporting Detroit’s young people.

IMG_3145 (2).JPG

15 years after our first program, we are still celebrating youth, confronting barriers, and building bridges in Detroit.


Teen HYPE serves as a place where youth can come as they are. While they’re with us we mutually create strategies to confront whatever barriers they find in their lives. For some, they may be coming from unsafe home situations, or be struggling with a parent serving a long prison sentence. For others, they may be the first of their family to consider college, and may already be working jobs as high school students to help pay for utilities, rent and future tuition. Others find that school isn’t a place where they feel successful or accepted.

At Teen HYPE we draw upon our resources and partners to confront barriers and build bridges for our young people.

Group shot of 30 PEs in Teen HYPE shirts.jpg