Even though they don’t always act like it, teenagers are capable of doing many great things for the world. Beneath the surly disposition lies an endless well of passion and energy just bursting to be pointed in the right direction. Gail Wolkoff and her all-inclusive L3C learning/community service organization, Dedicated to Make a Change, is giving teens the GPS they need to do better.

DTMAC’s next event is Hope & Change a “FUNdraiser” to help with the costs of their 2013 community service trip to New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. The event will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 at MIX Marketplace at 200 W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti. It will feature a silent auction, live entertainment by DTMAC members and special guest Lower 9th Ward Village Executive Director Ward “Mack” McClendon. Tickets are $25 and will be available at the door.

Based in Ypsilanti, DTMAC works to connect teens and help them to accomplish their charitable goals. It also provides them with learning experiences and a space for them to just have fun without judgment. From Alternative Spring Break trips to New Orleans and providing maintenance services to Lotts Creek Community School in Hazard, Ky. to open discussions about sex, sexuality, gender and sexual health, the experiences are plentiful and eye opening.

DTMAC takes a unique twist on the traditional teen outreach program. It’s one that makes teens feel valued and respected, which means a lot to them.

“I think Gail is one of those rare people who will openly say, ‘I like adolescents,’” DTMAC member Max Bonilla said. “…I think many people say [they dislike adolescents] without knowing any adolescents. Gail … and a lot of the other adults that have worked with Dedicated to Make a Change are people who consider that somebody that is a teenager or an adolescent has ideas and has a mind and can think and be a human.”

Dedicated to Make a Change is open to youth 12-18 years old. Prevent and Prevail – their sexual health forum – is open to people up to age 26. Visit dedicatedtomakeachange.com for more information on the organization and their various programs.