What We Do
The Youth Development Resource Center supports a network of hundreds of Detroit youth development providers offering afterschool or summer programs. We seek to strengthen their individual and collective impact on youth, giving them the tools they need to increase program quality and improve youth outcomes.
How We Do It
Measure Quality and Impact
We provide access to standardized data, best practices and common measurement tools to help providers assess how many youth they are serving, how much service they are providing, how well the service is delivered, and what difference they are making in terms of the youth skills and outcomes.
Improve skills for effective youth work and management
We provide and connect youth development professionals to professional development designed to promote quality standards and best practices, giving providers the knowledge and skills they need to implement high-quality youth programming that is safe, supportive, engaging, and skill-building.
Connect providers to each other and to professional development opportunities.
We convene networking and peer-learning opportunities for professionals to build relationships and partnerships, connect to local resources and national best practices and share lessons learned.
Advocate for quality programming for all Detroit youth
We champion quality and equity so that more children across the Detroit area can access high-quality youth development opportunities.
Looking Ahead — Our Strategic Plan
The Youth Development Resource Center supports a network of hundreds of Detroit area youth development providers offering afterschool or summer programs. We seek to strengthen their individual and collective impact on youth, giving them the tools they need to increase program quality and improve youth outcomes.
Our Impact Report: Championing a Culture of Quality for Youth (2014 – 2019) highlights the data-driven work of providers to engage in continuous improvement, delivering programs that help youth build the skills they need.
To improve the quality of Detroit-area youth-serving organizations to maximize their impact on youth and to advocate for accessible high-quality youth development opportunities. See our values here.
To connect all Detroit-area youth to high-quality youth development opportunities that grow their capacities to thrive in school and life.
The Youth Development Resource Center has supported Detroit area youth-serving organizations since 2013. We began as a part of the Skillman Foundation’s Good Neighborhoods Initiative and later merged with the Initiative’s Youth Development Alliance. Since our founding, we’ve continued to grow, refine and standardize practices to support a growing network of youth-serving partners in and around Detroit. In 2018, YDRC began a fiscal sponsorship relationship with the Forum for Youth Investment.
Sara Plachta Elliott, Ph.D.
Sara is the founding executive director with responsibility for leading the vision, development and management of the organization.
Sara began her career working in afterschool and summer programs, as well as in youth mentoring and neighborhood development organizations in Kalamazoo and Ypsilanti. She then focused her career on community-based participatory evaluation and capacity-building. Her social work and evaluation experience have centered on positive youth development, caregiving, mental health, child and family policy and philanthropy.
Sara holds a master’s degree and doctorate in social policy from Brandeis University, focused on children, youth and families. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in applied sociology.
Network and Engagement Manager
Alandra Chuney-Jackson, LMSW is responsible for network strengthening and advocacy, as well as engagement and communication for the organization.
Alandra is a native Detroiter who graduated from Cass Technical High School. Alandra studied psychology at Michigan State University and then went on to receive her Masters in Social Work from Wayne State University.
With over 10 years of experience in mental health and youth development, Alandra is passionate about using her tools and education to serve the community she grew up in. Prior to joining the Youth Development Center, Alandra worked as the Director of Student Support for the Midnight Golf Program and most recently she worked as a Senior Program Associate for the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality.
Senior Manager, Improvement and Impact
Yvonne leads the professional learning community and supports data-driven quality improvement.
As the former Program Director for Detroit Horse Power, Yvonne has a firsthand understanding of the challenges and rewards of implementing quality standards in programming. Her career opportunities have provided her with experience in schools, working with parent groups, and developing and implementing curricula centered on social-emotional learning to support academic and life outcomes for youth. She is a certified external assessor, coach for program quality assessment, and youth work methods trainer.
Yvonne holds a Master of Education in Education Policy and Leadership from Marquette University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
Operations and Data Manager
Tammy is responsible for the data management and daily operations support of the organization.
While working in the Dean’s Office at the University of Michigan School of Social Work (UM-SSW), Tammy was offered an opportunity to collaborate with the Detroit Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as their Data Technician/Administrative Coordinator. Her work with Detroit’s UM-TAC led her to YDRC. Tammy is also the owner of Miller Business Solutions, an administrative outsourcing company serving organizations with database, operations, and special project needs. She has 25+ years of business experience working in university, private, and non-profit settings, and has been engaged with the YDRC since its inception.
Tammy holds an Associate in Applied Science (Business Management) degree from Washtenaw Community College. She has also studied at Eastern Michigan University.
Monica Marie Jones, MSW
Monica’s work with YDRC began with the Acting with Data Learning Community pilot. Currently, she is the senior quality advisor, responsible for building the quality of programs through training facilitation and coaching network providers, external assessors and new trainers.
Monica is also a trainer and field consultant for the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. Her experience includes creating youth development training content and working as a teacher and afterschool program director. She has worked as a quality coach with the Youth Driven Spaces Immersion Program and as an out-of-school-time intermediary coach for the Wallace Foundation’s Partnership for Social and Emotional Learning.
Monica received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Eastern Michigan University and her master’s of social work from the University of Michigan.
Tammie is supporting the YDRC in its efforts to strengthen regional Out of School Time infrastructure and to expand platforms to amplify provider voice in driving an equity agenda. She is an Executive in Residence with EarlyWorks, LLC, where she provides executive-level consulting to facilitate systems-building and advance change efforts in communities.
Previously, Tammie was the Vice President, Education for the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, where she led the efforts around learning and development from kindergarten through adulthood across Wayne, Oakland and Macomb. Prior to this, Tammie served as a program officer at The Skillman Foundation, supporting work in education and community leadership, with deep engagement in the Cody Rouge and Osborn communities. These roles built upon a decade of experience serving children and families, including positions with Detroit Parent Network and Boys & Girls Clubs in Virginia.
Tammie completed her master of business administration at the University of Michigan – Ross School of Business and her bachelor’s degree at the University of Virginia.
Assessors / Coaches / Trainers
Assessor / Coach
Assessor / Coach
Assessor / Coach
Assessor / Senior Improvement Coach and Trainer
Assessor / Coach
Mikel Bresee, College for Creative Studies
Nicole de Beaufort, EarlyWorks LLC
Tom Devaney, The Forum for Youth Investment
Anise Hayes, Atlantic Impact
Vanessa Samuelson, McGregor Fund
Terry Whitfield, Skillman Foundation