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Red Wings honor Amy Good as a Game Changer in the community

Alternatives For Girls CEO is recognized for more than 30 years serving Detroit girls and young women

by Josh Berenter @DetroitRedWings / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings' Game Changers series rolls on this week as the Wings proudly honor Amy Good, the CEO of Alternatives For Girls.

Alternatives For Girls is a nonprofit organization founded in 1987 that helps homeless and high-risk girls and young women avoid violence, teen pregnancy and exploitation, and helps them access support and opportunities to be safe and make positive choices.

Good has served as the CEO for Alternatives For Girls since 1988 and has more than 35 years of experience managing and directing programs that serve Detroit children and families.

 

[Learn more about Women's History Month at DetroitRedWings.com/Equality]

 

Under Good's leadership, Alternatives For Girls has grown from a volunteer-led project to a full-service agency, serving girls and women, along with their families, through street outreach, emergency shelter, transition to independent living and prevention services.

The CEO has a laundry list of accomplishments in her esteemed career, including Oprah Winfrey's "Use Your Life" award (accompanied by $100,000 for Alternatives For Girls' capital campaign), the United Way Community Services "Executive Director of the Year" award and Leadership Detroit's "Leadership Challenge" award.

As a University of Michigan alumnus with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a Master of Social Work, Good was awarded Michigan's School of Social Work Distinguished Alumni award in 2014, and her organization was awarded Crain's "Best Managed Non-Profit" award in 2017.

"Accolades come and go, but the true test of someone's impact can be witnessed through the sustainability of their work," said Red Wings and Tigers director of community impact Kevin Brown. "For more than 30 years, Amy Good has shown our Detroit community--and the girls and young women Alternatives For Girls serves--that hard work and dedication can lead to great things.

"Amy and her wonderful team have selflessly served at-risk girls and women in our community since the '80s and they've proven that you can turn something as seemingly small as a cause-driven volunteer project into a thriving organization providing decades of resources for those who need them the most."

Good has been the leader of Alternatives For Girls for more than half her life and said it's crucial for the girls in her organization to see women in positions of success around them.

"It's very important for women and girls to be surrounded by leaders, including leaders who look like them, who come from their community," she said. "We do a lot of leadership education and training and leadership experiences among those we serve. They see leadership around them and they learn how much they have to contribute and how impactful their contributions can be.

"We believe that an engaged young person grows to be an engaged adult, and engaged adults create thriving communities. Some of our girls have gone on to become very powerful leaders in our community."

Good said she's thrilled to be included in the Red Wings Game Changers series because it shines a light, not only on her dedicated work, but on the work of her incredible staff, as well.

"It's a tremendous honor," Good said. "It's very moving to me that an organization like the Red Wings--whose industry is a little bit far from ours--can look at what our community needs and what matters at all levels, and they're looking closely at where leadership is happening and lifting up an organization that's centered on girls and women.

"I am one of many leaders in this organization. When I receive an honor like this, I receive it as a member of the AFG team. Certainly, Alternatives For Girls is not something that any one person could every pull off. I see it as an honor for our team, including those we serve."

And while Alternatives For Girls has continued to thrive in its fifth decade of existence, the COVID-19 pandemic created a unique set of the challenges that the organization had never had to deal with.

"COVID-19 has affected those we serve tremendously," Good said. "A homeless girl or young woman is terribly exposed to all the risks that come with COVID. Some of what we do can be done remotely, but you can't run a shelter or crisis center remotely.

"So we're on-site, we have girls and women coming to our doors every day. We've had to turn our conference rooms into bedrooms. We've done a tremendous amount of delivering supplies and groceries and computers and hot spots on an ongoing basis."

But instead of laying off her employees as many organizations have been forced to do during the pandemic, Good raised her staff's pay to show appreciation for their sacrifice and dedication to being on the front lines.

"Our brave staff have been heroes," she said. "We've gotten a lot of help from friends who've really stepped up, including individuals, corporations, foundations and units of government. I have to give a shoutout to the Detroit Health Department, who've been tremendous partners throughout."

As Alternatives For Girls continues to thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Good said the organization is expanding its operations to do even more for the girls and young women it serves.

Alternatives For Girls is in the process of expanding a project that helps build a college-bound mindset and build college readiness assets for middle school and high school girls.

The organization is also working toward creating a subsidized apartment building in northwest Detroit and it's working on launching a project to strengthen pathways to strong careers, including skilled trades, to help families enjoy sustained success.

And after nearly 40 years of service to the metro Detroit community, Good said she has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

"What keeps me going is it's a privilege to do the work that I do," she said. "I have the honor of leading a tremendous team of people who are super dedicated to our mission. There's nothing better than to do work every day that one believes in and feels that it really matters. We are all so inspired by the strides and progress by the girls and women that we serve. My work is just immensely gratifying.

"We've grown a lot. But there remain a lot of unmet needs and we intend to keep doing what we're doing. There is no option but to keep going and keep growing because of so many unmet needs."

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