supporting quality youth work in Detroit

The Youth Development Resource Center in Detroit is an out-of-school time capacity builder that advocates for high-quality after school and summer learning opportunities for Detroit’s youth. We offer capacity-building and training opportunities focused on increasing the quality of youth development programs. 

Our work is guided by a set of Standards for Quality Youth Development Programs that were created in 2014 through a community process. The standards are based on best practice research, as well as the voices of youth and program providers. We have also released a set of Summer Learning Quality Standards, developed through a partnership with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan's Summer Spark campaign. These tools are available to you in our online toolkit.

Sign-up for our monthly newsletter and we will keep you updated with relevant workshops, networking opportunities, resources and funding opportunities for afterschool and summer learning programs throughout the year.

Meet Our Team


Sara Plachta Elliott, PhD

Executive Director

Sara has served as the founding Executive Director of the Youth Development Resource Center in Detroit since 2013. She began her career working in out-of-school time, mentoring and neighborhood organizing organizations in Kalamazoo and Ypsilanti. Her social work and evaluation experience has focused on positive youth development, caregiving, mental health, child and family policy, and philanthropy. She holds a MA and PhD in Social Policy from Brandeis University, focused on children, youth and families, as well as a Bachelor's of Social Work and a MA in Applied Sociology.

Contact Sara at


Kim Johnson

Network & Operations Manager

Kimberly Johnson (formerly Newberry) is our new Network & Operations Manager. She previously served as the Director of the Youth Development Initiative serving four of six neighborhoods under the Detroit Youth Development Alliance. Additionally, Kim held both the role of YDI Director and Chief Administrator of the Don Bosco Hall Community Resource Center.  The roles ran concurrently from 2012-2017. Kim is also the Founder and President of Developing K.I.D.S. She holds a B.A. from Central State University in English/Pre-law, a graduate certificate from Central Michigan University, and has studied at WSU and UDM School of Law.

Contact Kim at

Monica Marie Jones, MSW

Lead trainer & Quality Coach


Monica Marie Jones is a Trainer and Field Consultant for the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. She continues as the Lead Trainer and Quality Coach for The Youth Development Resource Center in Detroit. Her experience includes creating youth development training content as well as work as a teacher and after school program director. She has worked as a quality coach with the Youth Driven Spaces Immersion Program as well as an Out of School Time Intermediary Coach for the Wallace Foundation’s Partnership for Social and Emotional Learning. Monica received her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University and her Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Our Office

440 Burroughs St, Detroit, MI 48202


Contact Us

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