The Path to a Brighter FutureFlint Engagement Center


In Genesee County, there are nearly 15,000 young people ages 16-to-24 who are not enrolled in school and are unemployed, also known as Opportunity Youth (OY). It is estimated that the pandemic lockdown increased these numbers by a minimum of 25%.

There is a nonprofit organization in Flint that can help these young people find a path to a brighter future. The Flint Engagement Center has a mission to connect youth in Genesee County to education, employment and other opportunities to achieve financial success and independence, according to Program Director Tiffany Rouser. The Center, which falls under the umbrella of the nonprofit alternative education provider GEARup2LEAD, is located in the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village. In April, the organization will move to 141 W. Second St., Downtown Flint.

Since becoming an official program in October 2022, the Center has had more than 100 young people referred to them. Primarily funded by GEARup2LEAD, the Center has also received a grant from the Ruth Mott Foundation, as well as private donors.


“There is a definite need for this type of wraparound service. A lot of young adults out there need help connecting.”

Tiffany Rouser, Program Director

“Our typical participant is disengaged from school and work,” Rouser explains. “We help them find educational opportunities that are a good fit for them.” The Center has partnered with 30 Genesee County organizations that support its mission to help youth achieve success through community connections. Flint Engagement Center’s 25+ Community Partners include: Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint, Catholic Charities of Genesee County, City of Flint (Office of Public Health),Crossover Outreach, Flint & Genesee Group, Flint & Genesee Literacy Network, Flint/Genesee Job Corps Center, Flint Strive, Genesee County Youth Corporation, Genesee Intermediate School District, Genesee Health System, Greater Flint Health Coalition, GST Michigan Works, Hurley Hospital – Trauma Recovery Center, The Luke Center, MADE Institute, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Mott Children’s Health Center, Mott Community College, Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools, Priceless Dreams, Success Virtual Learning Center, Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, Teach Me How To Bank, and the Hope Network.

Tiffany Rouser, Program Director

The Center strives to shed light on the many enrichment opportunities and vital resources that are available, including educational and career opportunities, life skills, basic needs and mental health services, Rouser reports. “In Flint alone, there are over 5,000 opportunities available for the youth!” she exclaims. “We try to determine why they became disconnected, why they dropped out of school, and then we create an individualized plan to address their needs.” With a person-centered approach, a Success Navigator assesses each participant, making sure basic needs are met first. The Engagement Center has successfully connected many of the 100 youths who have been referred to them with various area organizations that offer both academic and non-academic resources.


“All of our kids are extremely talented and have so much to give to our community if they can reach their full potential.”

Tiffany Rouser, Program Director


“During the summer, we offer a completely free, eight-week course called ‘Brighter Futures: Skills for Lifetime Success’,” Rouser shares. The course features hands-on workshops that cover a wide range of topics including financial literacy and banking, entrepreneurship, home and car ownership and more. “‘Brighter Futures’ is designed to help the young adults achieve independence and financial success and is led by local professionals,” she explains. A $100 stipend is available to those who complete all of the eight weekly sessions. “The course was very successful last year and we look forward to doing it again this summer,” Rouser says.

Guest speaker Percy Whitmore from the Share the Keys program speaks to program participants about dream building.

According to Rouser, many people are shocked to learn the number of young people in Genesee County who are disconnected. “There is a definite need for this type of wraparound service,” she states, “but we have a long way to go. There are a lot of young adults out there who need help connecting.”

Rouser has found the work she does with youth to be very rewarding. “It has been really great to help young people succeed,” she says. “While they have the drive, they don’t always know how to get ahead. We provide the connection. All of our kids are extremely talented and have so much to give to our community if they can reach their full potential.”

Chef Tony Vu (Flint Social Club) conducts a cooking workshop for “Brighter Futures” participants.

The Flint Engagement Center is focused on helping to create a skilled workforce for local businesses and industries, strengthening our economy and community as a whole. To learn more, email or call 810.545.7070.



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