The week of March 29-31, the young women at Covenant House Academy - Southwest, as well as the Covenant House Southwest Community Center participated in the “Ladies of Elegance” program. The program is designed to help the young women build self-esteem and self-confidence while reducing “girl drama” and other relational issues. “Many of the girls have not had any role models, or good role models to show them appropriate social skills, lady-like behaviors, dress or hygiene.” Ms. Teresa Rodriguez, program coordinator, explains.
Three police women from the Detroit Police Department shared stories and advice on how young women can succeed despite whatever horrific obstacles may be present in their lives. “Do not let the past direct your future,” proclaimed Lisa Alvarado, an eleven year veteran of the department. Having been raped twice, and physically abused by her step-father requiring hospitalization on a number of occasions while growing up in the Bronx, NY., she knows the pain and rage many of the young women carry in their lives. She assured them that having a positive outlook will generate positive outcomes, and that with help they can overcome any obstacle that may be between them and their future.
Officer Myra Gracey, a soon-to-retire 25 year veteran spoke about the role of women in society, and stated that being a lady of elegance is a learned behavior. She encouraged each girl to get involved in the community by volunteering to help them become healthier, well-rounded and productive persons, as well as gaining valuable experience and skills that will lead to better employment. She told the girls, “All you have to do to succeed is remember the Four D’s: Dream - what do you want from life? Define - what does the dream mean in terms of the goals that will bring the dream to life? Desire - develop the love, passion and joy that flows naturally in you. And, Do It!
Officer Shawn Childrey spoke on the need we all have for support. “If you don’t have it at home, then find where it where you can. I’m pretty sure you know you have it here,” she said. She spoke of the difficulties of life even when someone has full support, and encouraged the girls to prolong decisions to get involved in serious relationships and raising families until they had solid support systems. She concluded with saying, “attitude is altitude,” and urged the young women to take care of themselves first by getting an education and as much of it as possible.

It’s that time of year! Back to school! We are so happy to start off yet another school year at the Covenant House Academy. Our back to school rally made sure that we kicked off the year with a bang! Here at Covenant House Academy we take special pride in making our campus feel like a home and the people within our campus feel like a family. The rally allows for our staff to interact with our students outside of the classroom as well as allowing the students to relax and get to know each other.
The week before the rally was spirit week, the week allowed students to have special dress days to show their pride, one day included a twin day in which students paired up and dresses as twins! Students were also able to attend special mentoring /tutoring stations in order to start their school year off right. Teams were set up for the basketball tournament, and Pizza Papalis provided lunch for the rally.
We want to thank our staff who work so hard every year and dedicate so much of themselves to the Covenant House Academy, our students who work every day toward achieving their goals, and our volunteers who have invested their time to help our cause.
Thanks once again to Pizza Papalis for providing pizza for our students!

Most girls at the age of 12 hang with friends, talk on the phone and think about high school approaching. Most girls at the age of 16 are thinking about getting their license and upcoming high school events. Wasson isn’t like most girls, at the age of 12 she was introduced to the sport of boxing and by age 16 she earned a gold medal in the Middleweight Women’s World Championship held in Barbados.
A family friend Wasson considers a father-figure introduced her to boxing and Mickey Goodwin. He became her trainer at the Warriors Boxing Club. Goodwin and Wasson developed a bond and became a strong focused team. Wasson was the first woman in 10 years to win a medal for US woman’s boxing.
Wasson feels that her whole community is very supportive, and is a strong driving force for her success.
“My whole family supports me, but my mom is my strongest supporter, she travels everywhere with me.”
This support was much needed when she would suffer the loss of her trainer. When Goodwin suddenly passed from a stroke, Wasson explains,
“The whole team couldn’t believe what happened. We all took it hard, but I wanted to use his memory as motivation.”
It became difficult for Wasson to balance school and boxing, she had left her previous school because of too many absences. That is when she came to Covenant House Academy.
Wasson jokes about her teachers at Covenant House,
“I can’t just leave, they would worry about me!”
Wasson feels that she is able to pursue her future both academically and athletically at Covenant House.
“We get more individual attention here, and the teachers want to see us do well, everyone is really supportive of me both in boxing and in class,” says Wasson.
Wasson’s support system and motivation go hand in hand; God, her family, teammates, trainers and church all back her up as well as push her forward. She looks forward to her future after high school, where Wasson is hoping to attend Michigan State University and go into veterinary school. She is excited about the possibilities and opportunities that boxing has provided for her and thankful for all the people who have been behind her all the way and will be there in the future.

Covenant House employee Mary Grace, has always known that she was meant to help others. Growing up, Mary’s mother, who was a missionary, taught her at an early age that selflessness was not only moral, but it was necessary for living a well-balanced life. As a child, Mary grew up in a big family, so it was only fitting that she would have a big family of her own. Mary has one biological child and seven adopted children. And while times have been hard, especially being a divorced single parent of eight, Mary never stops giving. With the guidance of her mother and her own bighearted nature, Mary lives her life making sure that others' lives are that much better.
Mary, who has a Masters in Social Work, came to CH 13 years ago and was one of the first employees here. Since being here, she has had a hand in every department such as Outreach, Coordinating and Social Work. Mary prides herself on being nonjudgmental and giving our youth here a chance. She sees herself as much more than just a Social Worker to the youth here, she looks at our youth as her family. Often times young individuals here come to Mary for advice on how to overcome obstacles, and she encourages them by saying “Go with the change… change is difficult, but know that it’s going to get better. Don’t go against the storm, go with it. Just keep moving forward.”
When asked where she sees herself in the future, Mary is positive that in 5, 10, or 15 years, she will still be a CH worker. As Mary puts it, “I want to know I’ve had a positive impact on others. I want to make a difference for as long as I can.” And being here at CH, Mary is fulfilling her life’s dream in leaving a positive stamp in the lives of others. While Mary spends a great deal of her time at CH and helping others, she enjoys life outside of work. In Mary’s spare time, she enjoys Salsa dancing, music, listening to live bands and getting together with friends.
Mary has chosen to live a life dedicated to helping others and we should all do our part in helping society.

img 1753Last year's Covenant Idol at Covenant House Academy - Southwest included dancing, poetry reading, rapping, and a collaborative skit with seven of the fourteen participasouthwestnts. The collaborative Life House skit portrayed many of the temptations that youth from Covenant House dealt with before they came here, such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, and violence. In the end, the students in the skit showed how these things can be overcome with the help of God. It was a moving demonstration of how CHM helps youth find their way to success and find love at the same time.
The individual performances were equally as touching and energetic, engaging the audience and moving them to dance in their seats. The winners included Ashley, Andrecia “Knockout”, Jessie, and Martece “Young Blaze”. Covenant Idol West was filled with Detroit’s finest up and coming artists. This show was reminiscent of the historic Motown era, mixed with a modern day flare. The young men and women of Covenant Idol have both promising careers, as well as futures to look forward to. Having witnessed this show, I not only look forward to seeing next year’s show, but I also look forward to following the careers of all the performers!

img 1668Covenant House Academy - East held Covenant Idol last April. This contest, similar to the popular TV show American Idol, featured ten students from the Covenant House Academy performing for three judges and an audience full of family and friends. The show was comprised of singers, poets, rappers and dancers who rival entertainers in show business today. The winners of the contest were Christopher and Antionette who both danced, and Quenlatta who performed an original spoken word poetry piece. Every performance was exceedingly entertaining in its own way though. In fact, all the students performed as if they had been professionally trained, and the audience certainly appreciated the enjoyable show because they were clapping and singing along. The show gave students a chance to build their self-confidence by performing for an engaged audience and participating in some healthy competition with their peers. Even more important, the camaraderie among the students was clear as they all cheered each other on and were proud of their peers who won.

They were dancing in their seats, waving cell phones, and group dancing at the third annual Central Campus Covenant Idol competition on Wednesday, April 27. Ten youth put on eight performances of hip-hop, rap, praise worship, and crooning ballads that had the audience captivated and the judges gasping for affirmations. In the end, the judges had to only choose four to move on to the Finale Competition at Hard Rock Café on May 18. The Mistress of Ceremony, Lady O—for Outrageous, (aka Mrs. Owens) really revved up the audience as she introduced this year’s judges, Ms. Detroit, (aka Mrs. Sherman), Ms. Fabulous, (aka Ms. Nelson), and Mr. Smooth, (aka Mr. Saddler).
The judges struggled to choose, but in the end the winners were:

1st. Place Christopher (singer)
2nd. Place Paper Boyz (rap & dance group) Paris , Anthony , and Rubin
3rd. Place C-Foe & Space (rappers) Christopher & Darius
4th. Place Rosie (singer and the only female)

These winners will compete with the winners at Covenant House Academy East and Southwest for the Finale at Hard Rock Café Detroit, where Shannon, from 955’s Mojo in the Morning Show with be hosting along with celebrity judges, HUSH, Thornetta Davis and Mike E. Clark. The event will be a thrilling way to see some of Detroit’s undiscovered talent as well as a chance to party for an amazing cause! The winner of Covenant Idol at Hard Rock Cafe will have the opportunity to perform live at the Stars and Stripes Festival in Mt. Clemens on the main stage and will have a custom outfit designed by Motor City Denim’s Joe Faris!

Get ready for a show that will blow you away! These kids are excited to showcase their many talents. There will be rapping, poetry, singing, dancing and even some interpretive dancing. Every contestant has been practicing long and hard to make sure this Covenant Idol show will be the best anyone has ever seen. So come support a great cause this Wednesday at the Hard Rock Cafe! Doors open at 5 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m.
Get up close and personal with each Top Ten Covenant Idol contestant, find out their specific talents and learn more about these amazing kids.

patricia dancyPatricia Dancy is a 19-year-old who loves to write poems, in fact, she has written an entire book of poetry! She also loves the color orange and enjoyspatricia_dancy playing basketball. She aspires to attend Kentucky State University to become a defense attorney.
She believes she should be the next Covenant Idol because when she reads and writes her poetry, it is from her heart and comes from personal experience. "No matter what life throws at you, you shouldn't be afraid to get up and fight again."
Patricia will be reciting an original poem titled, "If Only I Could Forget."

chris holmesChris "C-Foe" Holmes is a 19-year-old student at Covenant House Academy Central. He enjoys listening to music, dancing and playing basketball. He aspires to become a world-wide entertainer or he would like to own a small business selling clothing.
Chris' inspiration comes from being able to tell his story through his music and putting himself out there.
He believes he should be the next Covenant Idol because "I'm the best rapper the world has ever seen."
Chris will be rapping with Darius "Space" Smith.

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