City of Southfield and Optimist Club of Southfield-Lathrup Village present Teen Mental Wellness Community Forum & Essay Contest

April 14, 2023

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The city of Southfield, in partnership with the Optimist Club of Southfield-Lathrup Village, Southfield Public Schools, Lawrence Technological University, Metro Detroit Youth Clubs and the City of Lathrup Village, will present a Teen Mental Wellness Community Forum on Sunday, May 7, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at the Metro Detroit Youth Clubs Field Zone located on the Southfield Municipal Campus at 26000 Evergreen Road in the lower level of the Southfield Pavilion. 

As a part of the forum, the Optimist Club is sponsoring a 400-500 word essay contest for middle and high school students with the topic “Growing Forward in a World that Works: 

  • What do you want to learn more about? 
  • Passion: If you could be or do anything, what would it be and why? 
  • What is your responsibility to your community … the world?” 

The essay contest is open to all 6th-12th grade students who live, attend school or are a member of a youth mentoring program in Southfield or Lathrup Village. All entries must include three separate documents (application, essay cover page, and essay) emailed to by Friday, April 14. The first, second and third place winners will receive cash awards and recognitions. Lawrence Technological University will offer three LTU Blue Devil Partnership Scholarships worth $17,000.00 a year for four years or a maximum award for a bachelor’s degree of $68,000.00 for eight semesters. Each place winner, first, second, and third will receive this scholarship award to attend Lawrence Technological University. 

In addition, each winner will receive one free summer technological scholarship camp worth $1,000 to attend the camps being offered in summer 2023. Gift Cards will also be awarded to the 1st - 3rd place winners (1st place will receive $400; 2nd place, $200; and 3rd place, $150). Students must be sophomores, juniors and/or seniors to attend the camps. Additional application details and contest rules can be found online at this link.

The Teen Mental Wellness Community Forum will feature a number of panelists addressing the topic of “What’s happening with our youth?” The panel will include Lathrup Village Police Officer Keith Roberts with Warning Signs; Southfield Police Sergeant Teresa Young and Officer Brandon Walker with Triggers; Darryl Allen, LPC from Ascension Michigan with Stigmas; Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifee with Resilience; and Lawrence Technological University Professor and author Dr. Jackie Stavros with Conversations Worth Having. WXYZ Channel 7 Weekend Anchor/Reporter Mike Duffy will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.

The forum will also include the essay contest finalist presentations and announcement of winners as well as numerous mental healthcare professionals and other exhibitors, including Oakland Community Health Network, Southfield Anti-Drug Coalition, and SAFE Hearts. Especially for teens, an engaging presentation and activity with Delivery Drones will be presented by Captain Woodrow “Joe” White and Crew from +5 Technologies. Advance online registration is required at this link by Wednesday, May 3, 2023

The Optimist Club of Southfield-Lathrup Village is made up of local volunteers and community leaders and has serviced the communities of Southfield and Lathrup Village since May 8, 1979. With the motto “Friend of Youth” and a vision to provide hope and positive vision to bring out the best in the community, particularly local youth, the Club promotes special programs and activities throughout the year.

Founded in 1958, the Metro Detroit Youth Clubs serves over 2,200 Club members in locations throughout metro Detroit and is dedicated to empowering youth to reach their full potential through safe, accessible, and inclusive experiences that open doors to a bright future. In 2011, the Southfield community partnered with Metro Detroit Youth Clubs and established the Metro Detroit Youth Clubs Field Zone, creating safe and enriching experiences for youth grades 6 through 12 in the Southfield community.