|Westside Cultural & Athletic Club - History|
The History of the Westside Cultural & Athletic Club started in 1976 by the Founder and Executive Director, Erica Wright who has devoted her energy, time and support to inner-city children residing in the West Warren - West Grand Boulevard area. Ms. Wright recognizes that too many parents who were involved in drugs and other negative behavior did not take an interest in the positive development of their children.
"The Mission of Westside is to provide a safe, clean and friendly environment for children to learn and play.
The Goal of the program is to provide year round, free constructive activities and programs to children who cannot afford to pay for programs around or outside of this community. Hopefully, by attending this program the participants will benefit not only from engaging in constructive activities but also from exposure to other life styles that are more productive and positive. Westside deeply feels that its programs provide not only a place to go for fun; it also offers a solution to negative activities and behavior. We here at Westside are committed to helping children develop positive skills.
The Purpose of the program is to ensure that children and youth from at risk homes have a safe and fun place to learn and participate in constructive activities.
Our boundaries are between West-Scotten Street, East-Jefferies freeway, North - I-94 freeway, South-Nail Street.
All those who live within our organizations boundaries (primarily Senior citizens, children and youths ages 5 to 18).
Seasonal sports, Conflict Resolution classes, Life Skills sessions, Homework tutoring, Nutrition classes, Community garden experience, Summer Youth Employment through the City of Detroit, Teen Club, Volunteer experiences, Cultural Enrichment, Adopt-a-Grandparent program, Arts and Crafts, Adopt-a-Little Sister program, African-American History, Educational Table Games, Talent Shows, Olympic Day, Peer Mentoring, Neighborhood Clean-up, Field Trips to Cultural Events, Annual Community Reunion, Educational and fun events.
- Erica Wright, Founder
Erica Wright, Founder and Director of the award-winning Westside Cultural & Athletic Club, is a nationally recognized youth advocate. Wright, a volunteer who since 1974 has devoted her life to youngsters and senior citizens in a westside Detroit community, has been featured in national and Detroit-area publications ranging from Ebony Magazine and Newsweek to the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, and Michigan Chronicle. She also has received recognition from a number of institutions and individuals, including the Detroit City Council and then-First Lady Barbara Bush.
Westside Cultural & Athletic Club, 1974 - Present: Founder and Director of comprehensive community programs serving youths and senior citizens. Duties include extensive administrative oversight, direct management and hands-on recreational, tutorial and conflict-resolution tasks.
- Organizes and supervises ongoing sports programs, including baseball, flag football, and basketball leagues and an annual community track meet.
- Oversees free community classroom tutorial services and both the Adopt-a-Grandparent program matching hundreds of youths and seniors and that Adpot-a-Little Sister program focusing on neglected and abused teen girls.
- Directs a mentoring program for young males.
- Hires, trains, and schedules young adult personnel for Summer Youth Project, which annually provides youths with recreational and cultural activities.
- Supervised diversionary program for Wayne County offenders sentenced to hours of community service.
Internal Revenue Service, 1968-1974: Computer operator, formated IRS programs for more efficient processing and collection and assisted programmers.
MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS (partial listing):
- "Club Alumni Return to Share Hard-Won Wisdom," Detroit Free Press 1994;
- "Black Love and the Extended Family Concept Should Be Priorities," Ebony Magazine 1886;
- "Wright Time, Wright Place: How GOD led Erica Wright to Community Service for Detroit's Neglected Children," Message Magazine 1993;
- "Doing the Right Thing: Kids With Causes," Newsweek Magazine 1990;
- "Let the Games Begin," Detroit Free Press Magazine Cover Story, 1990;
- "Woman With Heart of Gold Reaches Out To Troubled Kids," The Detroit News 1990;
- "Blacks In Detroit: A Plea For Some New Vision," Detroit Free Press, 1992;
- "Pied Piper of Westside: Marva Collins, Detroit Style," Michigan Chronicle, 1984;
- "The Best American Sports Writing," a book edited by David Halberstam, 1991;
- "Programs Create Self-Esteem For Kids," The Detroit News, 1992;
- "What Happens To a School Closed Down?" Michigan Chronicle, 1990;
- "Jonathan" Hour Magazine
AWARDS (partial listing):
- J.C. Penney Golden Rule Award;
- WXYZ-TV7 Unsung Heros Award;
- WJBK-TV2 Jefferson Award;
- Heart of Gold Award;
- Chamber of Commerce Award;
- Michigan Bell Outstanding Volunteer Award;
- WWJ-Radio Citizen of the Week Award;
- New Detroit, Inc. Shirley Chisholm Award;
- CYTCIP Award;
- Detroit Public Shools Partners in Education Award;
- Civilian Award, Detroit Police Department;
- Saint Vincent DePaul Award;
- Salvation Army's Army of Stars Award 1987;
- Mayor's Spirit of Detroit Award;
- New Detroit, Inc. Community Self-Determiniation Award;
- City Council SNAP Award;
- Letter of Recognition From Gov. James Blanchard;
- Inducted into "The World Sports Humanitarum Hall of Fame 2001;
- Westside ICON 2002
- Detroit Tiger Stripes Award 2003.
- Commendation from Mayor Kilpatrick (2004, 2005 and 2006)
Highland Park Community College, Business Administration Major, 1963-64
Saint Leo High School, Class of 1963
BOARD AFFILIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS:
- FACT Advisory Board;
- Skilman Youth Advisory Board;
- Institute for the Study of Youth Issues;
- Member, National Geographic Society;
- Founder, Westside Community Development and Networking Association;
- W. Hancock Street Block Club;
- One of the Founders, Youth, Adults and Neighborhood Commitment (YANC)
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© 2007 Westside Cultural & Athletic Club