North Star Reach Honored With $56K Grant

We are thrilled to announce that we have received a $56,380 Generator Z grant to offer community-building and personal development programs for teens living with chronic and life-threatening health challenges.

Launched in 2020, Generator Z is a teen-led initiative to reimagine the future of afterschool. More than 1,000 teenagers from across Southeast Michigan and Western New York became ‘Generators’ and shared their afterschool experience and insight online, and organizations like North Star Reach stepped up with ideas to turn that teen insight into action.

North Star Reach is one of just 11 organizations in Washtenaw and Livingston counties to receive funding. The support will fund a three-part initiative called “Find Your Place, People & Voice,” which includes an online summer camp experience, virtual year-round meetups, and a conference dedicated to addressing adolescent mental health and wellness. The series will focus on helping teens gain independence, which can be especially challenging for adolescents with serious health challenges as they transition to adulthood.

“Dealing with a serious health challenge, many decisions are out of your control,” says North Star Reach’s Mike “Coach” Parker, Director of Volunteer Engagement. “But at camp we want to give them back that freedom – to empower them to choose and advocate for what they need. Along with the more serious aspects of accepting new responsibilities, we intend to try to incorporate activities our teens already love – video games, sports, music – into the community-building sessions that we have together.”

All programs are offered FREE to teens who have a qualifying medical diagnosis. The online summer camp, called Solstice Camp, kicks off Tuesday, July 20, and runs until Friday, July 23. Virtual meetups will begin in the fall. The virtual Teen Conference is scheduled for December 10, 2021.

“Our teen summer camp session has always been a centerpiece of our programming, and we feel exceptionally grateful to have additional monetary support to put our vision into practice,” says Monica Philipp, North Star Reach Associate Director of Development. “We know that being a teenager is already filled with stressors and then to add the transition from pediatric to adult care is no small feat. We are excited to build support systems and a community to help our teen campers through this important time in their lives.”

Generator Z driven by teens and powered by Lakeshore Connections with support from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. Receiving funding that was driven by teens for teens to create the change they want to see makes this an especially meaningful grant, adds Philipp. “With this funding we’re able to incorporate their wants, needs and feedback to make sure we are supporting them in the ways they need it most.”

Here’s look inside a past in-person Solstice program:

For more information or media inquires, contact North Star Reach Director of Communication Ami Walsh (