City of Birmingham Mayor's Office Division of Youth Services
Birmingham is one of the few municipalities in the country with a division or department that specifically addresses issues directly impacting its youth population. The City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office Division of Youth Services (DYS) serves youth in Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods and 23 communities and 9 City Council districts attending Birmingham City Schools.
DYS strives to ensure that youth in the City of Birmingham are provided with quality, effective initiatives, programs and services that improves education and workforce development systems through the Woodfin Way (Birmingham’s strategic plan), and in support of the BCS Force for Greatness Strategic Plan.
DYS, through its four pronged-approach, 1) Disseminates Youth-Related Information; 2) Advocates Inclusion & Participation; 3) Monitors a Network of Collaborative Partnerships; and 4) Monitors City-Funded Youth Initiatives; as needed.
DYS partners with BCS, Birmingham Public Libraries (BPL), and the Birmingham Park & Recreation Board to present the annual BCS Summer Fun and Learning Expo. This event provides families with a one-stop-shop experience to learn about available summer programs in the Magic City, to combat summer slide, and to keep children safe, active and engaged through the summer months.
DYS partners with WBRC FOX6, private and public entities to employ hundreds of BCS students through the annual Kids and Jobs Program. This initiative provides students with first-time exposure to the workforce. It also provides them with quality paid internships through the summer months. In 2019, FOX6 Kids and Jobs Program celebrated 25 years of putting Birmingham youth to work. DYS is currently working collaboratively on two pilot programs that will directly impact BCS students – Birmingham Promise Initiative and Literacy Leaders.
Partnering with the City’s Innovation & Economic Opportunity department, BCS, and United Way of Central Alabama, DYS is assisting in establishing the Birmingham Promise Initiative. This initiative will connect BCS students with high quality apprenticeships in growing industries and scholarships as a pathway to college and or career. Through this summer’s pilot program, 23 students were placed in apprenticeships with Birmingham companies to earn wages. Students also completed online training modules in workforce and life skills through LRNG to improve youth employability for future careers.
In addition, DYS partnered with the BPL and Better Basics to launch the Literacy Leaders program. Students employed through the Kids and Jobs program were trained as Literacy Coaches and placed in a BPL Library to provide free tutoring to BCS rising 2nd and 3rd graders.
DYS streamlines its services in eight key areas: athletics and recreation, cultural arts, education, faith-based initiatives, family services, health & wellness, mentoring, and workforce development to ensure youth have a wide array supportive services during out-of-school times and to improve the quality of life for students. Finally, DYS supports school principals, teachers, and staff members by frequently visit schools, attending recognition programs, speaking at events, and school activities to keep putting youth first.