B.A.L.L. Foundation Seeks to Bridge the Gap Between Young Men and Law Enforcement Saturday, February 21

“Honor the Line” workshop and community forum event to be held at Triumph Church, East Campus; feature Detroit Police Chief James Craig as keynote speaker

February 19, 2015

Detroit, MI – The B.A.L.L. Foundation (Bridging Athletic, Learning and Life-Skills) is partnering with the Detroit Police Department (DPD) and WDIV-TV Local 4 to host Honor the Line, an event that will focus on bridging the gap between youth and law enforcement. The community forum event will feature Police Chief James Craig as the keynote speaker and will be held on Saturday, February 21, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Triumph Church, East Campus on 2241 E. Grand Boulevard in Detroit.

Honor the Line was created specifically for youth ages 12-17 to teach them the proper way to react when they are approached by law enforcement. Attendees will have small group sections to speak directly to police officers, attorneys, and other law enforcement officials. In addition, attendees will also hear from a judge and prosecutor in a panel discussion to learn how proper communication skills and body language can make a difference when making court appearances. The event is free and parents are encouraged to attend with their children. Lunch will also be served.

Honor the Line is an event our organization is hosting as a way to discover solutions for improving the relationship between our city’s youth and police officers, said B.A.L.L. Foundation Founder and President Randy Henry. In wake of the tragedies that occurred last year with Mike Brown and Eric Garner, I wanted to do something to prevent similar situations from occurring in our city,” said B.A.L.L. Foundation Founder and President Randy Henry. “As a former teacher, I truly believe in the power of education and want to use that power to teach our children how to properly handle situations involving law enforcement so that we can prevent youth from being incarcerated or losing their lives at the hands of police. The B.A.L.L. Foundation plans on using discussions and outcomes from Honor the Line, in addition to brief surveys from youth participants, to provide our city’s law enforcement officials with suggestions for rebuilding trust within the community.”

Additional speakers for Honor the Line include:

  • Saul Green – Senior Counsel, Law Firm of Miller Canfield
  • Jeffrey Collins – Former Circuit Court Judge
  • Harold Love – Former Police Captain, Michigan State Police
  • Harlan Bivens – Co-Director, Better Detroit Youth Movement
  • Raymond “Ray” Scott – Former NBA player and coach
  • Eric Henry – U.S. Army Reserve

For more information or to register, contact Randy Henry at (888) 988-2339 or 42rhenry@gmail.com.

ABOUT B.A.L.L. FOUNDATION (BRIDGING ATHLETIC, LEARNING AND LIFE-SKILLS)

The B.A.L.L. Foundation’s mission is to create social and life-changing experiences for youth ages 7-17 by providing a learning environment that enhances life skills through the influence of basketball. Through basketball camps, lectures and training classes, children are equipped with essential life skills that are instrumental in addressing core problems by maintaining good health, education and self-esteem. We provide children with lessons in strengthening math and reading skills, as well as customized plans for diet, nutrition and exercise. We also address the problem of childhood obesity and enrich the lives of young individuals by providing a fun learning environment.

How to Bridge the Gap between the Two Detroits (Op-ed)

The following is an opinion editorial written on behalf of the Better Detroit Youth Movement which was published in the Detroit News. You may find the article online here: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2015/01/13/brown-finley-two-detroits/21654753/

Nolan Finley isn’t all that off base in the points he makes in his two articles concerning our tale of two cities in Detroit.

If you condemned him for pointing out the elephant in the room, chances are his articles made you uncomfortable for the ugly truths they exposed.

If you sang his articles’ praises, you likely side with those who’ve been feeling left out in the bitter cold of Detroit’s rebirth.

But while we’re agreeing and disagreeing over the issue, let’s try not to forget the people who matter most here: the children.

Remember that old adage that the children are our future?

If that’s the case, it might be fair to question the direction in which Detroit’s youth are headed. Not just because of failing school systems or troubling cultural norms, but because of other city resources as well.

I mean, it’s tough to provide direction when the streetlights stay out at night.

Regardless of how you feel about the city’s progress, or lack thereof, there’s only one thing it takes to overcome all of the perceived barriers to bridging the gap of Two Detroits — mentoring.

Believe it or not, mentoring today’s youth isn’t as complicated as it’s made out to be.

In fact, mentoring is really about forming a connection with someone and providing them advantages that they may not have had access to without that connection.

And this is something that everyone, regardless of economic background, can participate in.

If you’re wealthy, consider establishing a scholarship fund. If money is tight, invest your time in youth who have similar interests as you. Show them the ropes, just as someone did you.

Many of Detroit’s youth are desperate to do something positive and to make something of themselves. However, far too often these same kids find themselves settling on the most realistic options rather than pursuing their dreams because people tell them that they don’t know any better or they lack connections to proper resources.

Just imagine if each of the many businesses contributing to Detroit’s rebirth took some time to reach back out into the communities.

Offering anything from weekly discussions to even paid or unpaid internships, the encouragement and inspiration they could provide to the city’s disenfranchised youth would help to eliminate the racial and social class divides.

Even if you know you that you want to be a mentor to someone, but aren’t sure how to get started, volunteer or partner with the organization that you feel is the best fit and get involved.

It’ll take a village to raise our city’s children.

Let’s set aside our differences to ensure that they can be a part of the solution and not the problem.

In the end, doesn’t the fate of Detroit’s rebirth depend on it?

Cedric Brown,

Better Detroit Youth Movement

Detroit Youth to Launch “I’mpossible” Suicide Awareness Campaign

Conference on September 27 aims to address root causes of suicide

August 29, 2014

255216_445285978835920_959228161_nDetroit, MI – Mentoring Youth Network (MYN), an organization whose mission is to inspire change in Detroit’s youth, is taking a proactive approach to preventing the tragic deaths among the city. On Saturday, September 27, MYN will host the I’mpossible Suicide Awareness Conference for children and parents at Redford Church of Christ located at 16776 Lahser in Detroit from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event’s keynote speaker will be Frank Turner, formerly of WXYZ Channel 7 television. The event is free and open to the public.

This is MYN’s second time hosting the I’mpossible Suicide Awareness Conference. The inaugural event took place in 2012 at Impact Church, where attendees took part workshops that covered depression, bullying, conflict resolution and relationship building. Katrina Hancock, a former sports reporter for WDIV Local 4 television, served as the event’s keynote speaker.

“The impact of our first conference served as evidence that children and their parents need support systems for issues that they don’t always know how to express,” said Tony Weston, Mentoring Youth Network President. “While I’m proud of the impact we made two years ago, I’m personally hurt by the fact that I’ve lost four of my friends to suicide since our first event. This, and the news of other recent suicides in our area, including that of Robin Williams, inspires me to lead our organization to reach out to more people who may be in need. We may not be able to stop everyone, but we’re fortunate to be able to provide a solution for those that truly want help.”

Unique to this year’s I’mpossible Suicide Awareness Conference is the workshop for those interested in dealing with domestic violence issues. This new workshop will be held concurrently with ones for previous topics including depression, bullying, conflict resolution, and relationship building.

To generate awareness for suicide prevention, MYN is selling “I’mpossible” t-shirts which feature the yellow ribbon to honor families who have lost loved ones to suicide. The phrase “I’mpossible” stems from turning a negative word into a positive statement. T-shirts are $15 for sizes small through extra-large and $17 for larger sizes. Proceeds from t-shirt sales will be used towards funding the organization and can be ordered by calling MYN’s office at (313) 552-3831.

For more information on the I’mpossible Suicide Awareness Conference, the I’mpossible campaign, or to become a sponsor, contact Tony Weston at (313) 408-9506 or mentoringyouthnetwork@gmail.com.

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ABOUT MENTORING YOUTH NETWORK

The Mentoring Youth Network is a local mentoring organization in Detroit for children in grades K-8. Created in February 2009, Mentoring Youth Network focuses on the development of young males and young ladies. Their mission is to motivate and prepare young men and women for “real-world” experiences through self-esteem building, higher education, entrepreneurship, creative thinking and practical life skills training.

Better Detroit Youth Movement to Stomp Out HIV Saturday, April 12

Organization hosting resource fair and step show competition with $1,000 grand prize at Don Bosco Community Center

March 17, 2014

Detroit, MI –The Better Detroit Youth Movement (BDYM) will host its third annual Stomping Out High School Step Show and Resource Fair on Saturday, April 12, at Don Bosco Community Center on 19321 West Chicago Street in Detroit from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event is a celebration of National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Thursday, April 10.

Started in 2012 as a youth-led initiative, Stomping Out was created to support high school students and young adults as they creatively express themselves while teaching their peers about health promotion and disease prevention specific to health issues affecting their age group. The step show is an opportunity for youth step squads to compete and win the $1,000 grand prize. Attendees can also interact with several vendors and partners who will offer resources to help lead them to healthier outcomes.

“As a product of Detroit, I know the positive impact that our community based organizations make on the youth and I want to leverage that influence and support so that we can have a unified stance for healthier outcomes for our youth,” said Dr. Cynthera McNeill, clinical faculty member at Wayne State University College of Nursing and partner of the BDYM. “This youth led initiative was a great success last year with over 300 youth in attendance and over 50 vendors and has become an annual initiative that I passionately look forward to supporting.”

Other current partners for Stomping Out include:

  • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated
  • AIDS Partnership of Michigan
  • The UPLIFT Program
  • Wayne State University College of Nursing
  • W.A.Y.E (Women and Youth Endeavors)

For more information, or to become an event partner or vendor, please contact Dr. McNeill at (313) 577-0258 or aq6139@wayne.edu.

ABOUT BETTER DETROIT YOUTH MOVEMENT

The Better Detroit Youth Movement (BDYM) is a non-profit coalition of positive-minded individuals and groups who are committed to working together with communities, parents, schools and students to improve the quality of life and learning for our city’s children.

Citizen volunteerism, youth engagement and participation are key components of the BDYM. We believe by fostering higher levels of communication, cooperation and collaboration among our citizens and communities, while seeking out areas where we can better work together, we will achieve greater success with and for our young generation.

Detroit Youth Come Together for Third Annual Project: Warm Detroit to be Held Saturday, February 15

Mentoring Youth Network to partner with UAW Local 163 to warm city’s homeless citizens at Cass Park

January 22, 2014

Detroit, MI – Mentoring Youth Network (MYN), a local mentoring organization for children in grades K-8, is hosting its third annual Project: Warm Detroit event on Saturday, February 15, at Cass Park behind Cass Technical High School located at 2501 Second Avenue beginning at 9 a.m. The youth of MYN will be partnering with the UAW Local 163 Community Service Committee to warm over 100 of the city’s homeless citizens by providing blankets, gloves, hats, socks and canned goods.

“Last year’s Project: Warm Detroit event was a huge event on many levels,” said Tony Weston, Mentoring Youth Network’s founder and president. “Not only were we able to provide clothing and food to hundreds of Detroit’s homeless citizens, but our kids learned a valuable lesson in giving back to those who are less fortunate. This year’s volunteering students will come from Rutherford Winans Academy (grades K-5) and Ronald Brown Academy (grades K-8), both based in Detroit. Also, we are hoping to receive enough canned good donations to share with any local food pantry willing to partner with us. As we host Project: Warm Detroit for a third straight year, we look forward to continuing our mission of youth development through community service.”

“UAW Local 163 community service committee is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to assist those who are less fortunate,” said Committee Chairperson Alfreada Wallace. “We view all opportunities like this as if it were one of our own members or their families. Our committee will continue to be dedicated to helping increase support for the community, and with the help of our shop chairman, Mark Gibson, we are preparing to reach out to more families in need.”

MYN has begun accepting donations and will continue to accept donations for items until Friday, February 14, at Greg’s Barber Shop at 22601 Plymouth Road in Redford.

For more information, or to arrange a more convenient location for donations, please contact Tony Weston at (313) 408-9506, or via e-mail at tony@mentoringyouthnetwork.com.

ABOUT MENTORING YOUTH NETWORK

The Mentoring Youth Network is a local mentoring organization in Detroit for children in grades K-8. Created in February 2009, Mentoring Youth Network focuses on the development of young males and young ladies. Their mission is to motivate and prepare young men and women for “real-world” experiences through self-esteem building, higher education, entrepreneurship, creative thinking and practical life skills training.

Downtown Boxing Gym “Brawls for it All” on Cinco de Mayo

May 5 dinner fundraiser features Mexican cuisine and amateur boxing

April 14, 2013

Detroit, MI – In honor of Cinco de Mayo, Downtown Boxing Gym will host a dinner fundraiser and live boxing event to benefit its successful youth boxing program on Sunday, May 5, at Detroit Eastern Market Shed 3 on 2934 Russell Street from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The dinner portion of the fundraiser, sponsored by Supino’s Pizzeria, will feature traditional Mexican-style cuisine prepared by local chefs and served by Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program students. Contributing chefs include: Dave Mancini – Supino’s Pizzeria; Andy Hollyday – Roast; Will Branch – Corridor Sausage Company; Marc Djozlija – MGM Grand Casino; and Christina Gibbs. VIP tickets, which include dinner and front row seats to the boxing event, are $175. Regular dinner tickets are $100. General admission for the boxing event only is $25, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and starting at 7 p.m.

The menu will consist of the following:

  • Andy Hollyday – Spiced lamb shoulder, green rice and chili broth
  • Dave Mancini – Open faced torta with duck chicharrones and tomatillo salsa
  • Marc Djozlija – Shrimp and jicama salad with toasted pumpkin seeds and queso fresco
  • Will Branch – A mystery dish featuring chorizo and refried beans

Cinco is just the latest in a line of inaugural yet innovative fundraising events,” said Coach Khali Sweeney, Downtown Boxing Gym’s founder and owner. “Not only is this event a great way to honor our city’s Mexican heritage, but the proceeds will also go towards supporting our summer academic programs which will be crucial for keeping our students’ minds fresh while out of school. Since our gym goes beyond teaching kids the sport of boxing, it is important to keeping a steady flow of funding our academic programs as we foster the growth of our students into productive members of society.”

For more information, contact Jessica Hauser, Downtown Boxing Gym Executive Director, at (248) 933-3358 or jhauser@downtownyouthboxing.org.

ABOUT DOWNTOWN BOXING GYM YOUTH PROGRAM

The Downtown Youth Boxing Program is a non-profit organization that encourages Detroit youth to engage in a challenging physical, academic and social program in which trainers, tutors, counselors and social workers provide daily services onsite. The youth program aims to make a difference in participants’ lives with academic services, mentoring, community service and physical training. By focusing on body, mind and community, Downtown Boxing Gym helps youth develop the skills they need to be successful in boxing, school and life.

Downtown Boxing Gym to Host Four-Course Dinner Fundraiser

December 10 event proceeds to go towards youth boxing program

December 2, 2012

Detroit, MI – Downtown Boxing Gym will host a holiday dinner fundraiser to benefit its successful youth boxing program on Monday, December 10, at 4760 St. Aubin Street in Detroit from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The four course dinner, sponsored by Supino’s Pizzeria, will feature traditional Italian family-style polenta prepared by local chefs and served by Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program students. Contributing chefs include: Dave Mancini – Supino’s Pizzeria; Brian Perrone – Slows BBQ; Marie Mourou – Astro Coffee; Will Branch – Corridor Sausage Company; and Christina Gibbs. Dress code for this event is business casual and tickets are being sold for $100.

The menu will start with an appetizer that features bresaola, parmigiano reggiano and dressed market greens. The entree will include polenta sulla spianatoia, ragu of braised beef and roasted vegetables – which also includes a vegetarian ragu. After the entrees, diners can satisfy their tastes for handmade cheeses with a selection offered by Zingerman’s Creamery. The night will conclude with a seasonally-inspired surprise dessert.

“We are happy to sponsor Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program in this inaugural event,” said Dave Mancini, executive chef at Supino Pizzeria. “Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program has become an asset to our community by mentoring our city’s youth through the sport of boxing. Although we are a recent sponsor of the program, we have had the opportunity to witness their impact on the city and we are willing to support them any way we can.”

“We are looking forward to hosting our first dinner fundraiser,” said Carlo “Khali” Sweeney, president and founder of Downtown Boxing Gym. “Here at the gym, one of the principles we like to teach our students is to expand beyond their limits. Our executive staff has also implemented these principles as we come up with different ways to raise money for our youth program. We hope that the community comes out to dine with us, not just to support our program, but to support our students who have so much to offer this city beyond the sport of boxing.”

For more information, contact Jessica Hauser, Downtown Boxing Gym Vice President and Facility Director, at (248) 933-3358 or jhauser@downtownyouthboxing.org.

ABOUT DOWNTOWN BOXING GYM YOUTH PROGRAM

The Downtown Youth Boxing Program is a non-profit organization that encourages Detroit youth to engage in a challenging physical, academic and social program in which trainers, tutors, counselors and social workers provide daily services onsite. The youth program aims to make a difference in participants’ lives with academic services, mentoring, community service and physical training. By focusing on body, mind and community, Downtown Boxing Gym helps youth develop the skills they need to be successful in boxing, school and life.

Downtown Youth Boxing Program Announces Avalon as Corporate Sponsor, “Rumble on the River” Event on July 20

May 9, 2012

Detroit, MI – Downtown Boxing Gym is pleased to announce Avalon International Breads as its latest sponsor for the Youth Boxing Program. Avalon becomes a sponsor just before Downtown Youth Boxing Program’s annual Rumble on the River fundraising event on Friday, July 20, at the Detroit Yacht Club at 6:30.

Rumble on the River will feature live amateur boxing, where youth boxers in the Detroit program will compete against their counterparts from New York City’s program. A silent auction and dinner are also included at the event. Tickets are $85 and must be purchased by Friday, July 13.

“We are honored to claim Avalon International Breads as a sponsor,” said Carlo Sweeney, Downtown Boxing Gym Founder and President. “The youth in our program have made great strides in developing character and honing their talents. We are thankful that Avalon believes in our mission and will show our gratitude by continuing to improve the lives of youth through mentoring, academics and the sport of boxing.”

In addition to sponsoring Rumble on the River, Avalon will be purchasing new uniforms for Downtown Youth Boxing Program’s travel team, designed by Adriana Pavon. “Avalon International Breads is proud to sponsor the youth program at Downtown Boxing Gym,” said Avalon President Ann Perrault. “We believe that the Downtown Youth Boxing Program’s mission aligns with our commitment to a healthier, more vibrant Detroit. Avalon is inspired by the program’s influence on the city’s youth and we are thrilled to sponsor Rumble on the River as our first event.”

For more information on Rumble on the River or to purchase tickets, please contact Jessica Hauser, Downtown Youth Boxing Program Vice President and Chief Facility Director, at (248) 933-3358 or jhauser@downtownyouthboxing.org.

ABOUT DOWNTOWN BOXING GYM YOUTH PROGRAM

The Downtown Youth Boxing Program is a non-profit organization that encourages Detroit youth to engage in a challenging physical, academic and social program in which trainers, tutors, counselors and social workers provide daily services onsite. The youth program aims to make a difference in participants’ lives with academic services, mentoring, community service and physical training. By focusing on body, mind and community, Downtown Boxing Gym helps youth develop the skills they need to be successful in boxing, school and life.