Strong Families
Thriving Communities

Who we are

Vision and Mission
GROW U is a nonprofit partnership between Ypsilanti Free Methodist Church and The Salvation Army of Washtenaw County. 
GROW U provides opportunities for learners of all ages and walks of life to GROW and enrich their lives through: 
– improved nutrition 
– basic education 
– expanded life-skills
– increased soft-job skills
Motivated by the love of Jesus, we help create healthy and thriving local communities by adding to the stability of individual families.
connect, nurture, grow
Community Connections

GROW U brings schools, community neighbors, churches and businesses together to equip children and adults to thrive in their environment.
– schools give space and time with students
– neighbors volunteer time
– businesses provide finances
– businesses provide volunteers
– churches provide volunteers
– churches provide finances
– churches provide finances
Ypsilanti Community Schools, Washtenaw Literacy and GROW U offer training and support for our volunteers
Community Commendation
GROW U‘s programs have made a significant impact on the lives of Perry ELC students and families. During the 2017-2018 school year, GROW U offered workshops through “Strengthening Families” and ESL evening gatherings. These workshops resulted in increased awareness of positive parenting strategies, ways to support children’s social-emotional and academic growth, and strategies to connect home practices with positive school outcomes. In addition, the ELL gatherings provided a way for ELL families to access school resources. Perry ELC students and families benefited from the Red Backpack program, an invaluable resource to Perry ELC families, addresses food shortages during the weekends. Students and families look forward to receiving their backpacks at the end of each school week.”
Dr. Connie Thompson, former principal Perry ELC
Providing sound nutrition for healthy, physical GROWth
GROW U supplements families’ nutritional needs throughout the school year by providing weekend Red Backpacks filled with nutritious supplemental food for Saturday and Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner for four people.  180 families regularly receive Red Backpacks during the school year.
Tutoring individuals for educational GROWth
GROW U helps increase the ability of English Language Learners to assimilate into our community by providing free ELL tutoring. We also offer tutoring in basic literacy skills in reading, writing, or math to  English speaking adults who have children in the school system.
Only half of Michigan third-grade students performed at the proficient or advanced levels on the 2017 spring’s M-STEP test. To help remedy this deficiency, the State of Michigan  mandated local schools provide additional services for children. Trained GROW U literacy tutors meet with children for 2, forty-five-minute sessions each week. Tutoring is individualized to meet each child’s literacy needs as determined by standardized testing and prioritized by a Title 1 teacher.   
Equipping adults for increased
financial, social, and relationship GROWth
Strengthening Families
Research shows that a child’s academic success can increase when their parents or guardians are engaged with the school and in the community. Parental involvement improves student morale, attitudes, and academic achievement across all subject areas.
GROW U helps parents and guardians become full partners in their children’s academic growth by promoting parent/guardian involvement in the schools. We equip families with relevant new or deeper skills, knowledge, and resources. This equipping helps them build relationships with other parents and with school staff, while also helping their child succeed in life.
Childcare Provided
Improving job skills toward increased personal economic GROWth
Dream and Vision
According to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, it is a lack of freedom to be able to make meaningful choices, to have an ability to affect one’s situation, that is the distinguishing feature of poverty.

Utilizing ‘Work Life’ ( we will:

  • Provide soft-job skill training and mentoring
  • Develop social enterprise for direct job training
  • Develop workplace partnerships
Reaching our Community
GROW U volunteers make a difference in our community. Join the GROW U team and help people GROW and live an enriched life.
Living Out Love
Ypsilanti Free Methodist
Sherrie Hittler, GROW U Director