Omar and others at the Gun Violence round table at the White House

Omar visited the White House with our Children, Youth and Families director, Marquita. 

Omar Goes To The White House

Recently one of our Detroit Youth Grow participants had the opportunity to go to The White House to share his story and the impact that the program has had on his life. Below is his story and pictures from his journey. 

Omar's Story

Sixteen-year-old Omar Hogan was referred to the Detroit Youth Grow Program by his probation worker, after they noticed that the services he was receiving were not resonating with him. At the time, Omar was on probation for charges of “A Minor in Possession of a Firearm”. He was not enrolled in school, using marijuana, and had just lost his home with his mother when she became homeless. Moving in with his father while dealing with all of the other challenges left Omar feeling overwhelmed. 

Marijuana was the only constant in his life, and the idea of quitting was not easy, especially because it was present in his environment. Because of this, Omar was facing a Violation of Probation at his next hearing. 

Once he was placed in Detroit Youth Grow, he became engaged and involved with the staff and his peers. At first, Omar was determined to do just what he needed to earn his stipend, but over time he became more interested in the program and devoted more energy to making friends and growing from his experience. He started to have a happy-go-lucky demeanor, and a better attitude toward the program. 

Omar shared his concerns with his Mentors and Lead Case Manager about being removed from the community when his next hearing came around. Because he was able to reach out for help and express his concerns, Omar’s probation worker shared his progress with the court and got him an additional 3 months to continue his progress. 

During those 3 months, Omar remained focused and leaned on the support of his peers and group staff. After his court hearing, it was reported that Omar began testing negative for substances, and he shared that he was able to focus on the coping skills he had learned in the Substance Abuse Prevention and Education groups to help him refrain from using marijuana. 

The next hurdle he had to face was re-enrolling in school. In another 3 months Omar had another hearing for which he needed to be enrolled in school and maintaining his current progress in the program. 

Omar and his parents were provided with resources and encouragement from his Mentors to help him officially enroll in school. Before his next hearing, Omar was officially enrolled and because of his progress, at his most recent hearing, Omar was granted termination from juvenile probation. 

At the next monthly re-engagement meeting, Omar excitedly shared his news with the staff and his peers. Everyone, including himself, were overjoyed and proud of his dedication. When his peers in the program asked for his advice on how to follow in his footsteps, Omar assured them that if they stayed focused in the program, they could do it, too. 

Detroit Youth Grow provided Omar with the opportunity to address the issues in his life that were holding him back, while encouraging him to rise above and strive for greatness for himself. Omar is happy to share about his experiences in the hopes that it will help others like him. Detroit Youth Grow changed his life, and he knows it can change other’s lives, too.