Synergy Health Center’s UrbanZone is strategically located between the North and East sides of Kalamazoo, with the goal of improving the quality of life for Black and Brown adolescents in the community. The COVID-19 pandemic brought an unprecedented disruption to the educational system, an uncanny recognition of social injustices and the unfolding of trauma in the lives of
UrbanZone was able to act quickly, including opening its doors as a Community Learning Hub in partnership with Kalamazoo Youth Development Network and Kalamazoo Public Schools to provide educational support weekly. To better serve youth and community, we found ourselves pivoting and restructuring program delivery. We took time to revisit the heart of our mission and vision looking for greater impact. Out of the ashes, we developed a new cohort approach creating tremendous learning opportunities for students in 9th through 12th grade while providing educational and mental health support.
Through the support of various funders, UrbanZone was able to launch several innovative programs, including The College Academic Success Team (CAST), designed to prepare students for academic success and college preparation. Collaboration with Kalamazoo Valley Community College helps bring the college experience directly to the students, including college tours. UrbanZone also launched the Mind Health Ambassadors Program, which teaches adolescents about mental health and mindfulness techniques, including Yoga practices, so they can become mind health ambassadors in their schools and community. Our new programming allows more students to be helped by our mission of transforming lives and empowering people for a lifetime.
For more information, visit www.synergykzoo.org/urbanzone