Detroit Lions’ Tahir Whitehead shares school success tips with Detroit students

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DETROIT, MI – Detroit Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead encouraged a group of high school students today to focus on their education and their health to succeed in life.detroit-lions-logo-vector-01

Whitehead teamed up with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to share ways ninth-grade students at Detroit’s East English Village Preparatory Academy can create a personal culture of success.

Whitehead participated in an interactive “Culture of Success” session with about 50 ninth-graders. Students learned how to build a strong foundation by creating healthy habits for themselves, choosing their peer teams wisely and reaching out to their support teams – school staff, community partners, tutors and mentors including the MDDHS Community School coordinators and Pathways to Potential success coaches in their school – for help.

“To enable more students to graduate, we need to remove the obstacles that get in the way of their success and connect them to the resources and support they need,” said Nick Lyon, director MDHHS. “We are pleased to team up with Tahir to help instill and cultivate healthy habits that will help more Michigan teens set themselves up for success in high school and throughout their lives.”

Studies show that ninth grade is a pivotal year for school and life success. Students who pass their classes, choose their friends wisely and stay connected are setting themselves up to not only graduate high school but to succeed after graduation.

“My background is similar to many of these students. If my story can help them to overcome obstacles and set themselves up for success in school and life then it’s my way of paying it forward,” Whitehead said. “I want to help them begin their high school years with the best possible game plan for success from how you take care of yourself to how to pick your team and stay in school.”

East English Village Preparatory is one of six community schools in Detroit that are partnered with MDHHS.

A community school model creates a school where parents, teachers and the community work together to support the academic success and healthy development of all of the students in the school.

The other Detroit community schools are Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School, Fisher Magnet Upper Academy, Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, Detroit International Academy and Osborne College Preparatory Academy.

“As a community school, we want to help East English Village students succeed at school and in life,” said Carol Viventi, MDHHS director of special projects. “All the partners, from the school to MDHHS, to parents and community groups, work together to provide the resources needed to overcome obstacles and propel student success.”

Whitehead is donating his free time on select Tuesdays during football season to help kids in Detroit and make more people aware of the ways we can help children and their families tackle obstacles to opportunities that impede success and their long-term self-sufficiency. These school programs touch on health, fitness and staying/succeeding in school.

Learn more about Whitehead’s partnership with MDHHS at

Physical fitness, nutrition and positive behaviors including staying in school, getting regular check-ups, avoiding drugs and alcohol and preventing violence and suicides are key components to developing healthy student lifestyles. MDHHS is realizing Gov. Rick Snyder’s River of Opportunity vision of putting people before programs to better meet the needs of students and their families by bringing services to school settings.

To learn more about how Pathways and Community Schools are helping families remove barriers, go to

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