The annual student development retreat has been the cornerstone of DePaul's partnership with MIP from the very beginning.
In February 2013, the center hosted the seventh annual student development retreat for high school participants in MIP. Each year, about 200 to 300 males of color travel to DePaul's Lincoln Park campus for a day-long retreat that includes workshops developed by DePaul faculty and staff, and community leaders, in response to feedback from MIP counselors and student participants.
For the 2013 retreat, Options for Youth, a community organization on Chicago's South Side working to combat teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, presented the program keynote. The theme — requested by MIP participants — was "Protect Your Body, Challenge Your Mind." DePaul instructors and staff led workshops on topics including stress, mental health, reproductive health and violence. Past workshops covered a variety of topics including academic success, career exploration, personal and social issues, culture and diversity, physical and emotional health, violence prevention and financial fitness.
Health screenings are provided each year by the School of Nursing. Students also have options to get active during the retreat, with a choice of basketball at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center, a campus walking tour or stepping lessons in the style of African-American and Hispanic/Latino fraternities.
The center works in collaboration with various units across the university, including the Office of Multicultural Student Success' Men of Color (MOC) Initiative, Family and Community Services, Career Center, College of Education, TRIO Student Support Services, Steans Center for Community-based Learning and Campus Recreation, to name just a few of the departments and organizations that make each year's retreat a success.
In May 2012, the first middle school student development retreat was held exclusively for boys of color in grades 6 through 8. The idea for a separate event for younger males rose from student evaluations from previous retreats. Like its high school counterpart, the goal of the retreat is to educate and inspire young males toward higher academic achievement and social responsibility. Students attend grade-specific workshops designed to address challenges and develop strategies to succeed in school.