Youth Driven in Kalamazoo: Kalamazoo County Youth Council

Meet Doreisha Reed: high school student, project coordinator, future performer and foreign delegate. As a member of the Kalamazoo County Youth Cabinet (KCYC) in Kalamazoo Michigan, Doreisha idoriesha kcycs working to make a difference in her community. KCYC is a youth-led advisory group, formed in the summer of 2015, which seeks to improve the county through youth driven initiatives.

On February 13th the Kalamazoo County Youth Cabinet hosted Swimming Matters, an event that featured free swim lessons, open swim, refreshments and and an informational program for families in Kalamazoo. Swimming Matters is one of the first three projects developed by KCYC. The goal of the project is to expand recreational activities for children in the community.

Doreisha was responsible for finding a facility for the event. When asked about how it felt to to be responsible for such a critical part of the project Doreisha said, “it seems like it’s out of reach, but once you understand what they’re talking about it’s just a matter of resources. You just have to ask questions and do the work to get something done.”

Doreisha is all about getting things done in her community. “I want to make positive change in the community. We’re young, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything!” Having experienced making a change first hand with Swimming Matters, she doriesha swimmingthinks other teens should get involved too: “it’s good for you. Its good for other people. You can come home and day I did something for other people. I made someone smile. It’s positive, it’s good for your resume… it’s great to understand how the real world is.”

The work she’s doing now is part of the “real world”. “I started something with some other people and I’m working with people who own facilities. And to say oh yeah I’m the co-chair of Swimming Matters, it gives me confidence. I’m doing something for the community, I’m helping people out. You put the effort in and you [see results] it gives you hope about the future.”

Doreisha can see the way that her work now influences her future. “I just know that right now I can’t slack off. Everything I’m doing now, it all matter to where I’m going. It’s important to do your best in all that you do because you never know what’s coming next.”

While she may not know what exactly the future has in store, Doreisha has big plans. In 5 years she sees herself “out of college with a bachelor’s degrees in preforming arts and international studies. I’ll be in Japan working for the Peace Corps or some other company that does things with the US.

When asked where she sees her community in 5 years Doreisha said “overall being more involved. We could be a whole lot more active to see the positive change we want in the community… People are always talking about how there’s nothing to do in Kalamazoo, but there’s a lot. You just have to be willing to do stuff that is difficult or takes work.”

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