Detroit parents, are you looking for fun after-school activities for kids? Perhaps you're working and need a safe place for teens and tweens to hang out? Maybe you're looking for an educational recreational venue for kids that's easy on the budget? Perhaps you have a shy teen or tween who needs healthy social stimulation? Whatever the case, the Detroit Public Library has what you're looking for. It's called H.Y.P.E. (Helping Young People Excel). This youth-centered program hosts events weekly at Detroit's main branch library at 5201 Woodward downtown.
* H.Y.P.E. offers free (or super cheap) "Makerspace" activities now through December 15. Activities include teen-themed events, clubs, parties, gaming, and craft activities. Best of all, these activities focus on vocational skill building. They help kids get real-world experience in job-related activities and provide career exploration opportunities. There are also Makerspace summer camp opportunities.
* Tuesday H.Y.P.E. bike tech: Partnering with the Hub of Detroit bicycle shop, DPL teaches kids bike repair skills. From 4 p.m.-6 p.m., kids gather with trained bike mechanics to learn how to fix, maintain, and even customize their bicycles. Don't have a bike for your child? No problem -- the Hub of Detroit offers kids a chance to design and build a bike for free. Kids can meet on Saturdays at the Hub's downtown headquarters (formerly Back Alley Bikes).
* Thursday H.Y.P.E. DIY crafting class: Each week from 4 p.m.-5:45 p.m., kids can make useful craft items to sell or use as gifts. Kids will learn how to make paper-folding and paper-cutting crafts, yarn goods (knitting, crocheting), counted cross-stitch, and seasonal handmade products. Kids don't need any prior experience, and supplies will be provided. Kids are encouraged to bring in craft project ideas to share with the group.
* Friday H.Y.P.E. graphic design class: This is the graphic arts side of H.Y.P.E., where kids will learn to make designs for functional and fashion art. They'll create stencils, fabric transfers, stickers, and even try their hands at silk-screening. Designs will be duplicated using DPL's Silhouette Cameo cutting tool. The club meets from 4 p.m.-5:45 p.m.
* Saturday H.Y.P.E. sewing and wearable art class: From making their own designs, kids will learn how to take it one step further and create their own clothing. Using the library's sewing machines, kids can design and embellish apparel and fashion accessories (scarves, hats, bandanas, socks). Kids learn sewing basics and sewing machine skills. Activities run from noon to 2 p.m.
* Saturday H.Y.P.E. Arduino Robotics class: Teens learn the basics of electronic circuits, and then they build and program their own robots. The DPL uses an open-source Arduino micro-controller. The Arduino website offers many free materials, printable activities, and robotics tutorials that kids can use in the construction of their robots. The robotics club meets from 2 p.m.-4 p.m.