Alex Goldsmith is the Executive Director for New City Kids Detroit and has recently launched the new location in response to the challenges that kids were facing at home, socially, and academically as a result of the pandemic. While many other youth service organizations had to close their doors this year, Alex and his team built momentum and hired a staff to enable the offering of individualized mentorship, professional music lessons, and rigorous college readiness support.
August 9, 2021 ~ Alex Goldsmith speaks with Guy Gordon about his role as the Executive Director of New City Kids Detroit and how he chose to launch the new Detroit location against the challenges of the pandemic to help kids that needed support socially and academically. Alex also talks about his recent appointment as one of the Detroit Economic Club’s 2021 Rising Stars.
New City Kids engages over 500 youth daily through music-driven after school centers for under-resourced children. Those centers are in turn run by high-school-aged youth from those same neighborhoods employed through their intensive internship program. New City Kids internship alumni boasts a 100% high school graduation rate and a 90% college graduation rate (10x the national average for low-income youth).
Alex Goldsmith joined the staff of New City Kids as an intern in 2014 and was drawn to the faith and mentorship components of New City Kids. Alex learned the ropes at their flagship location in Jersey City while simultaneously earning his master degree. Alex led one of the program centers as well as a youth sailing program designed to teach valuable life skills through sailing. In addition to his role leading youth programs, Alex pioneered the New City Kids Bike Tour which was a 10 day 800 mile fundraiser from Jersey City, New Jersey to Grand Rapids, MI to support the youth of New City Kids.
In January of 2020 Alex and his wife Heidi returned to their home state to launch a new location of New City Kids in Detroit. Soon after, COVID-19 hit and Alex was faced with a difficult decision of either waiting out the storm or continuing with the plans to launch the organization. Given the many challenges that the kids in their community were facing at home, socially and academically, Alex decided to move forward as planned and in October piloted the program in Detroit.
While unfortunately many other youth serving organizations were closing their doors this year, Alex and his team were able to begin building momentum by hiring an adult staff team and their first cohort of paid teenage interns, offering individualized mentorship, professional music lessons and rigorous college readiness support. In their first year they saw 100% of their high school seniors graduate and make college commitments, 75% of whom are first generation college students.
A little bit more about Alex:
When I reflect on a moment that I am proud of, I think of…
“I think of seeing our first graduating class going to college. Francisco is one of our teen interns, a young man who wasn’t sure about what life after high school would bring, and wasn’t motivated to apply for college given the uncertainty around COVID-19. Francisco worked diligently and completed our college readiness program. Francisco is now headed to Michigan State with a full ride scholarship in the fall! 75% of our graduating class are first generation college students—It is really amazing to see a new group of leaders formed and to see the impact that they are making in their families and this community! I am so proud of them and excited to see what all they will accomplish.”
As I continue to grow, I am hopeful for…
“I am hopeful that I will become more generous with my time. I want to continue investing in people and I want to learn to say no to the less important things to focus on where we can make the biggest impact.”
During my free time, I …
“Love spending time with my beautiful wife and one-year-old daughter, being outside to bike, run, hike, and swim, and reading books about business, Christian theology, building community, and anything written by Wendell Berry.
If I could give advice to my 20-year-old self, I would say…
“Take a breath and take time to reflect—and maybe stop and eat lunch more. I am learning that we have to take time to reflect in order to really see where we are and where we are going. There is always something to worry about but I would advise myself to grow in contentment and slow down once in a while.”
20 years from now, I see myself…
“I love teaching and coaching and I hope I will still be doing that. I can see New City Kids having a strong passionate staff team serving hundreds of youth throughout Detroit!”