Southfield (CW50) – Uniting Neighborhoods and Inspiring Today’s Youth, also known as U.N.I.T.Y, was founded in 2005 by Jonathan Parker after a youth organization impacted his life as a child. His founding mission was to create an organization that gives the same opportunities to kids, that he was afforded in his youth.

The organization focuses on working with youth through mentoring and sports programs. They also work to improve communities through access to life improvement opportunities. One of these opportunities is their “Adopt a Family” 3-month program, which was started in 2006 as a way to provide much-needed food during Thanksgiving, and also give gifts during the holiday season to the selected families. This year, U.N.I.T.Y. has grown their selected families to a total of 30, as the need for these services is greater in 2020.

Jonathan Parker, Founder of U.N.I.T.Y., passing out Turkey’s to “Adopt a Family” participants

During January, the selected families go through an exit program whereby U.N.I.T.Y pairs various organizations with the family, in order to receive more help throughout the year. This is done to help relieve families of the process of calling organizations to retell their story, to receive help.

Jonathan Parker, Founder of U.N.I.T.Y. said, “If we are just giving gifts then what’s the point. I want to do something to help them elevate their lives so they don’t have to return for help.”

Throughout the rest of the year, U.N.I.T.Y. offers contests to the community focused on parents, students, teachers, and leaders of tomorrow. Other activities include sports programs for baseball, track and field, and bowling.

Community Connect Host Lisa Germani, with Jonathan Parker, Founder of U.N.I.T.Y.

Parker joins Lisa Germani on Community Connect to talk about why this year’s “Adopt a Family” program has been expanded and how successful the Thanksgiving part of the program was in November.

To learn more or to sign up for one of their programs, go to UnityDetroit.org

Watch COMMUNITY CONNECT, Saturday at 7am on CW50