Focus Areas

The City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services continues to develop programs for the betterment of Birmingham’s youth. Below is a list of some of the programs and services currently offered to residents. For more specific details, call (205) 320-0879.

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Featured Programs

There are plenty of opportunities for Birmingham youth throughout the city. Check out what’s happening this month!

footballAthletics

Get involved in the sports you love the most or try a new sport. Check out this page to find out about opportunities!

brush-palletcultural-arts

Birmingham has a wide range of opportunities to plug youth into the arts. From concerts to exposure to foreign cultures, start your search here.

chalkboardeducation

Check out these opportunities and programs that can get you started on your journey of learning or help you locate available scholarships.

volunteer-iconfaith-based

Get involved, volunteer! Serve Birmingham works to increase an ethic of service and volunteerism among youth in the City of Birmingham.

Services-iconfamily-services

DYS and its partners attempt to better the well-being of individuals faced with unfortunate situations. Find out more about available services here.

testtubehealth-and-wellness

DYS and its partners combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles in a variety of ways. Find out more here.

web-badge_MENTORDAYmentoring

Be someone who cares to someone who cares.  Become a mentor or get involved in mentoring activities with your child.

leather-bagworkforce-development

DYS puts hundreds of kids to work each summer through its Kids & Jobs program. Find out more about the program here.


 

Athletics & Recreation

Youth First Summer Sports Series

Each summer, DYS hosts its Youth First Summer Sports Series that consists of a wide-range of camps and clinics focused on various sports including football, soccer, tennis, volleyball, baseball, lacrosse, golf and more. Youth are taught the fundamentals of each sport, as well as different exercises and drills designed to cultivate skills and improve performance. DYS partners with experienced coaches and various professional athletes and their foundations to facilitate the camps.

Summer Enrichment Camp

DYS partners with various camp sites to offer constructive summer activities for elementary and middle school-aged youth who live in the City of Birmingham. Camp activities are age-appropriate and are designed to promote peer interaction, while offering a safe and fun environment. Announcements about opportunities are distributed via email to our Youth First Virtual Network.  If you are not part of the Youth First Virtual Network, send an email request to toni.smoke@birminghamal.gov to be added.

Youth First Sports Network

The Youth First Sports Network is a collaborative effort between community-based sports organizations and DYS. The goal of the partnership is to serve notice to the public about sports programs and events that are accessible to Birmingham youth. Join the Youth First Sports Network today!

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Cultural Arts

SMART ART: Youth Cultural Arts Festival

SMART-ART-TitleThe SMART ART Festival is one of the most unique arts festivals in the state, focusing primarily on youth. Exposing Birmingham area youth to different cultural art opportunities available throughout the metropolitan area, attendees will be able to speak one-on-one with program representatives at designated booths and experience or participate in live performances and demonstrations of various forms of artistic expression.   This youth arts festival brings together ethnic and cultural groups, dancers, theatre groups, balloon artists, magicians, bands, singers, jugglers and storytellers. Other activities include live performances, demonstrations, children’s activities, careers in art, arts & crafts booth and a food truck “courtyard”.  This event is FREE and open to the public.

Cultural Sampling Tours
The Youth First Cultural Sampling Tour is a joint venture between DYS, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the Birmingham Cultural Alliance Partnership. Tours expose youth and their families to various cultural amenities available throughout the city. The tours are FREE and transportation is provided.

DYS 411 Crew
Our youth face many challenges that may cause them to react negatively to instances of violence and/or peer pressure. DYS’ 411 Crew uses a “dramatic” approach to show youth how to apply positive choices to difficult situations. To find out how you can have the DYS 411 Crew perform at your school, church, or youth organization, contact DYS at (205) 320-0879.

The Wazzupets
They’re not puppets! They’re not Muppets! They’re Wazzupets! The Wazzupets are an extension of the 411 Crew. These tiny characters help to teach smaller children how to apply positive choices to difficult situations. Contact DYS to find out how you can have The Wazzupets come to your church, school or youth organization to perform.

Youth First S.T.A.R. Power
Hollywood stars celebrate Birmingham stars at Youth First S.T.A.R. Power.  In 2011, Birmingham youth earned a pass to join Cassie Davisstar of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and her special guests, China Ann McClainstar of A.N.T. FarmLauryn McClain,Sierra McClain, and Gabriel McClain, stars of Daddy’s Little Girls in a special meet & greet. To participate, students showed their S.T.A.R. Power in the areas of SERVICE, TEAMWORKATHLETICS, and RESPECT. 

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Education

Bridging the Gap: Conversations in Living History

bridging_gapBridging the Gap is a program designed to celebrate Black History Month with living legends as they share details about their historic contributions to the City of Birmingham.  Birmingham youth and their families are treated to oral presentations and up-close-and-personal chats to show that history is being made daily and that their efforts are able to inspire generations in the future.

WEE Read

wee read_logoWEE Read is an exciting event designed to promote literacy and a greater love for reading books among Birmingham youth.  This event, held during March in celebration of the national “Read Across America” initiative, also allows children in K4 to 5th Grade to meet and interact with local Birmingham authors who have published several books.  The children get a chance to hear the authors read their books, and along with their parents, get a chance to ask the authors questions afterwards.  During the event youth are also engaged in hands on activities that further promote the fun of reading.

Operation Straight A’s
The Operation Straight A’s program recognizes Birmingham youth for academic achievement, perfect attendance, and good conduct while in school. Participation criteria (must meet one of the criteria) (1) Increased a letter grade in 2 core academic subjects, (2) Perfect attendance and good conduct grade for the most recent grading period, or (3) Maintained a “C” average or above for two consecutive grading periods. Students are rewarded with a variety of prizes to both applaud their effort and to encourage them to keep up the good work.

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Faith-Based Initiatives

 Serve Birmingham

Serve BirminghamLooking for ways to serve in your city? SERVE Birmingham is an opportunity to do just that. This effort exposes youth and their families to opportunities for growth & development, by providing them with community service and volunteer initiatives.

Stay abreast of other ways to serve throughout Birmingham by signing up to receive our monthly E-newsletters, where we provide a listing of other volunteer opportunities available.  To join, send a request to toni.smoke@birminghamal.gov or call DYS at (205) 320-0879.

Youth First Give-2-Get Program

The Youth First Give-2-Get Incentive Program promotes community service, while offering exciting incentives to youth who are giving back. Birmingham youth between the ages of 6 and 17 years old can qualify for a chance to win a Youth First Gift Pack!

If YOU are ready to start or expand your community service involvement, give us a call at 320-0879 for more information.

Caught Doing Good

caught-doing-goodOur city is filled with youth who are doing good deeds and making the right choices. The City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services’ Caught Doing Good Program (CDG) seeks to catch and reward those young people, age 18 and under, who demonstrate outstanding character in their homes, schools and community. If caught, youth visit our office on Thursdays between 3:00pm and 4:30pm to redeem their CDG cards for a special prize!

For Youth – By Youth

The City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services is pleased to present the For Youth – By Youth Program (FYBY).  FYBY is for Birmingham youth between the ages of 14 and 18 years old. Through this program, young people throughout the city will have the opportunity to envision a better Birmingham and will be provided with the resources to make it happen.

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Family Services

Youth First Holiday Campaign
The act of giving is important throughout the year, but giving peaks in significance during the holiday season. To help create happy holiday memories for hundreds of less fortunate Birmingham youth, the City of Birmingham’s Division of Youth Services (DYS) created the Youth First Holiday Campaign. DYS’ Youth First Holiday Campaign assists needy Birmingham youth who live in low to moderately-low income households, shelters, and residential living facilities by providing food for Thanksgiving and toys for Christmas. Local news affiliate WIAT 42 has served as a dedicated partner towards this initiative.

PICTURES FROM PREVIOUS HOLIDAY CAMPAIGNS:

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Step in the Name of Love Extravaganza 
StepStep in the Name of Love Extravaganza is a benefit step show held to start off the annual DYS’ holiday initiatives. Step teams from local churches, schools, and Greek organizations perform at the event to help DYS collect food and gifts for less fortunate Birmingham youth and their families.

Harvest Festival
Harvest Festival is a safe and fun alternative to Halloween for all Birmingham youth ages 2 to 10 years old.  There are games, face painting, rides, the DYS Fun House, food and much more at this fall frenzy.  This event is FREE and youth are encouraged to wear costumes.

Equal Access Network
Equal Access is an information-sharing effort that targets youth who reside in communities managed by the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District. The initiative encourages involvement in programs and events facilitated by DYS and other local youth service providers

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Health & Wellness

take-a-child-to-the-doctorEach fall, DYS partners with the healthcare community to provide FREE screenings for uninsured and underinsured Birmingham youth. Attendees are also treated to healthy snacks and beverages, education on living a healthier lifestyle, and take part in interactive games that encourage movement and exercise.  Services are provided by medical staff from Children’s of Alabama and UAB HealHealthy Systems – Department of Pediatrics. Partners for this event include UAA, Children’s Hospital, Alabama Baby and Child, Birmingham Coca-Cola, The YMCA and 98.7 KISS.   Doctor Day is like going to the doctor in the middle of a carnival!

PICTURES FROM PREVIOUS DOCTOR DAY EVENTS:

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Youth First Holiday Campaign
nobesity-logoThe act of giving is important throughout the year, but giving peaks in significance during the holiday season. To help create happy holiday memories for hundreds of less fortunate Birmingham youth, the City of Birmingham’s Division of Youth Services (DYS) created the Youth First Holiday Campaign. DYS’ Youth First Holiday Campaign assists needy Birmingham youth who live in low to moderately-low income households, shelters, and residential living facilities by providing food for Thanksgiving and toys for Christmas. Local news affiliate WIAT 42 has served as a dedicated partner towards this initiative.

PICTURES FROM PREVIOUS CAMPAIGNS:

nobesity1nobesity2nobesity3-shrunk

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Mentoring

HE’S FIRST / SHE’S FIRST SUMMIT SERIES

he_she first logoHe’s First / She’s First Summit Series is a component of Mentorpalooza, the City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services’ observance of National Mentoring Month.  This summit is especially designed for those parents, mentors, youth workers and community leaders who are looking for resources to further equip your 6th – 12th graders for a successful future. This FREE event is open to the public and features several sessions that cover topics sensitive to today’s young person. Youth and their adult mentor must be registered as a pair and attend the event TOGETHER!   The He’s First/She’s First Summit Series has proven to be life changing while improving the mentor-mentee relationship.

A.C.E. Mentoring Program

ace_logoA.C.E. (Another Caring Example) is a direct serve mentoring program through the City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services (DYS) for young boys and girls ages 8 – 17 years old. A.C.E. participants take part in gender and age specific sessions that cover topics relevant to the issues they face today. The program is designed to provide and equip Birmingham’s youth with another caring example to inspire them to become the aces (leaders) of tomorrow.  The A.C.E. curriculum includes monthly group meetings and activities. The topics are centered around, but not limited to, the eight key areas of DYS which are: Athletics and Recreation, Cultural Arts, Education, Faith-Based Initiatives, Family Services, Health and Wellness, Mentoring, and Workforce Development.

FREEality Check

Freeality Check logoFREEality Check is a program designed to expose students headed down the wrong path to the realities of incarceration by touring detention centers and correctional facilities. This partnership between DYS, Birmingham Police Department, and the courts, provides an up-close-and-personal experience to troubled youth and their parents offering them the wake-up call needed to stress the benefits of staying FREE from a life behind bars.

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Workforce Development

Kids & Jobs Program
Kids-and-Jobs-logoEach spring, Birmingham youth are invited to apply for age-appropriate employment opportunities through the Kids & Jobs Program. DYS and Fox 6 put hundreds of Birmingham youth to work each summer through the Kids & Jobs Internship Draft, 14 & 15 Year-Old Program, and the Summer Executive Internship (SEI) Program.  Kids & Jobs is designed to help cultivate the professional development necessary for youth and young adults to become an integral part of the workforce.  For details on how to request an application, call DYS at (205) 320-0879.

Birmingham Young Advisory Commission (BYAC)
BYAC is for college students and young professionals ages 19-25 years old who would like to represent the voice of the youth in matters that directly impact their future. Participation criteria are available through the DYS office.

Youth Advisory Council (YAC)
DYS is encouraging youth 10-18 years old to get involved with YAC. Youth who have ideas that they believe can make Birmingham a better place to live, are encouraged to contact DYS to learn about membership opportunities. For more information, contact DYS at (205) 320-0879.

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