[image_lightbox url=”/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Saul-Green-headshot.jpg” title=”Saul Green” align=”left”]Saul Green[/image_lightbox]As a Detroit Public Schools student I walked to Brady and Winterhalter Elementary Schools and rode the bus to Tappan Junior High School and Mackenzie High School where I graduated in 1965.  Each day these were easy, safe and fun journeys.  I can’t remember a day when I felt threatened or unsafe during my trips to and from school.

At each of the DPS Schools I attended I was taught by skilled, caring and engaged teachers who created stimulating learning environments for me and my classmates.  DPS prepared me well to go further and earn my Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Michigan and return to Detroit where I have practiced law for 41 years.

I often find myself thinking how enjoyable it was being a DPS student and how well prepared I was for higher education and life in general.  I believe the ease of my educational journey was largely attributable to the sense of well-being and safety that came from having two rock solid loving parents, the excellent educational environments at Brady, Winterhalter, Tappan and MacKenzie and an attentive nurturing community.

Our young people attending Detroit Public Schools aren’t as fortunate as we were.  Many travel long distances between home and school and don’t feel safe during those daily trips.  The last three years I have chaired the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (DYVPI) Steering Committee, a collaborative of community stakeholders committed to reducing violence and the impact of violence on young people in Detroit.  Recently over 1000 DPS high school students participated in a DYVPI Perceptions of Safety Survey. The survey gathered a wide breadth of information such as frequency of exposure to violence, the types of violence, locations where students feel most unsafe etc.   Many people have been shocked by the survey results, this trauma should not continue.

There are many organizations and individuals in our community who are working tirelessly to create a safe environment for students to get to and from school where they can be educated by the same kind of skilled, caring and engaged teachers we experienced.  Some are members of patrol groups, others have developed walking school buses, others safe houses in the community.  We all need to find a way to contribute a safe environment for our young people.  The final conclusion from the Perceptions of Safety Survey is: “If we don’t address the issue of violence, our youth will become depressed, isolated, desperate, angry, and yes…VIOLENT.”  For anyone looking for a way to work on this issue you can call the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative at 313-224-1841.

In addition to those organizations that are working to create safe environments for our students, other organizations such as the Detroit Public Schools Foundation (DPSF) are doing what they can to provide the necessary resources we know students need to be successful.  By supporting DPSF you are supporting STEM programming, Fine Arts & Culture, Early Childhood Education programs and Professional Development and Enrichment programs in Detroit Public Schools.  Giving back to DPSF ensures that the next gengeration and those to come are prepared for the future ahead of them.  DPS students need to feel safe, they need to feel they are equiped with the right tools to succeed educationally, with continued support of organizations such as DYVPI and DPSF, we can make a real difference in the lives of DPS students the same way DPS has made an impact on so many of our lives.