Metro Youth Program Involvement Increases - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Metro Youth Program Involvement Increases

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The Rock Island-based Metro Youth Program says its parent and youth involvement is increasing. In fact, that increasing involvement even recently led the City of Rock Island to recognize the program's director, Moses Robinson, for the accomplishment. 

The program was founded in the 1980s to keep at-risk kids in the area off the streets. Today, the program still has that same goal, but also serves kids from stable homes.

The Metro Youth Program is a combination drill, step and drum line team. The group performs across the nation and practices multiple times a week.

The program also aims to keep kids performing well in school – and requires they get tutoring if they're getting below a C grade point average.

Director Moses Robinson describes the program as a beacon of hope.

"We're a beacon of hope for a lot of kids in the inner city - from the west end of rock island , and for the entire Quad Cities," Robinson said.

Robinson just took over as director last year, following the last surviving founding member's passing.

When Robinson took over, he said he made increasing parent involvement in the group a top goal. Since then, more and more parents have began to volunteer.

"I think it's very important for the parents to be involved," said parent volunteer Octavia Tousseau of Moline. "Not only for the children to see that their parents are supporting them in their activities and their endeavors, but it's also important the parents are seen here working so the children don't think they're out here by themselves."

Robinson and the other adult volunteers say they've also made it a mission to see every kid who goes through the program go to college. Robinson said he makes it well known that college is not an option for the kids – whether it's community college or a four-year program. He said the volunteers often take the team members to perform at colleges in the area so they can get a feel for what a college experience would be like.

And if the trend continues, more area kids will be going to college that otherwise might have not – as more and more kids are showing up to each practice, Robinson said.

He also said he expects participation to increase even more this year as the group begins a new transportation service. The service will be run through the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Rock Island and will transport kids at no cost to and from program events if their parents are unable to.

However, to run that service and the program itself, Robinson said the group is always working to collect donations from people in the community.

If you'd like to see what the program is all about, you can catch the group performing this weekend. The Metro Youth Program will be at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Rock Island Saturday at 2 p.m.