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20 Ideas to Impact the Lives of Young Men of Color

Danzel, 17, MBKDetroit participant

This spring, the Skillman Foundation and Campaign for Black Male Achievement called upon community members to put forth their ideas to increase opportunities for black and brown boys. This call for ideas, the MBKDetroit Innovation Challenge, drew close to 500 submissions. Applications were narrowed down by nearly 50 judges, which included young men of color, folks who work on behalf of youth and young men of color, and community leaders.

The 20 final teams have spent the summer fine-tuning their vision with the help of training, support and $5,000 each. On Tuesday, September 27, teams will present their outcomes and plans for the future in front of a panel of judges and community members. Guests will have the chance to speak with teams during a meet and greet session prior to hearing teams present.

20 ideas to impact the lives of young men of color

  • Boys, Books, and Superheroes 
    The idea: Use comics and graphic novels to ignite a passion for reading in young Detroiters.
    The possibility: How would school and career outcomes change if kids’ interest and ability to read were better supported?
  • Culture Creators
    The idea: Help young men become leaders, community builders and independent artists by merging arts, activism and entrepreneurship.
    The possibility: What if youth were drivers of change in their community?
  • CyberSmart
    The idea: Prepare young men of color for science and technology careers by harnessing their love of legos, animation and gaming.
    The possibility: Imagine a Detroit filled with master teachers offering opportunities for young men of color to explore and deepen their love of technology.
  • Detroit Youth Volume 
    The idea: Provide free after-school violin lessons to Detroit’s low income youth.
    The possibility: What if Detroit was a city where all students had access to resources that would foster their creative, artistic or expressive selves? 
  • Developing Despite Distance
    The idea: Help Detroit’s young men of color express complex emotions and connect with their incarcerated parents.
    The possibility: What if all children of incarcerated parents had healthy and productive outlets for the complicated range of emotions they experience?
  • Dream Deferred Project 
    The idea: Help young adults who have left school and the workplace reconnect in educational and economic opportunities.
    The possibility: What if more kids had a second chance to reach their potential?
  • FACES for the Future
    The idea: Connect young men of color to the support services they need to successfully enter the health care workforce.
    The possibility: How might we pave the road for Detroit’s youth to enter in to the health care profession? 
  • The Feel Good Agency
    The idea: Pair young African American men who have an absent parent with caring adults and programming to help them explore their interests and potential.
    The possibility: Imagine the impact if every child had a caring adult in their life that supported and inspired them to become their best.  
  • Giving Them The Business 
    The idea: A full-service restaurant that teaches young men of color to be owners and operators of restaurants — not just the hired help.
    The possibility: What if young Detroiters were fueling the boom in new restaurants across the city?
  • Hip Hop Humanities
    The idea: Help Detroit’s African American youth strengthen their literacy and critical thinking skills by diving into the works of hip hop artists and historical leaders of color.
    The possibility: Imagine if Detroit African American youth experienced their own cultural heritage as the key driver to academic success.
  • JOURNi
    The idea: Address the severe lack of opportunities for Detroit youth to develop tech and entrepreneurial skills.
    The possibility: What if it was commonplace for Detroit high school students to launch tech startups?
  • Legal Beagle Bus
    The idea: A mobile law clinic providing free legal services to young men of color in Detroit.
    The possibility: Imagine if Detroit’s youth had equal access to high quality legal representation
  • The MBK Literacy Initiative
    The idea: Offer culturally responsive literacy instruction to Detroit’s African American youth.
    The possibility: What if Detroit students developed literacy skills in culturally responsive settings?
  • Navigating What’s Next
    The idea: Inspire Detroit’s boys of color to explore unlimited career possibilities.
    The possibility: What if all Detroit’s youth could explore different workplaces and connect to industry professionals who have had similar life experiences?
  • Next Generation Detroit 
    The idea: Open new opportunities for Detroit youth to connect to the tech sector.
    The possibility: What if, in the future, Detroit students are renowned for their superior technology capabilities? 
  • Our Town
    The idea: Neighborhood and city tours designed and led by youth from Detroit’s east side.
    The possibility: Imagine a fleet of young Detroiters leading local tours and sharing stories about their block, neighborhood and city.
  • Super Why Preschool Project
    The idea: Detroit’s one-stop shop to help caregivers enroll their children in preschool – packaged in the form of pop up fairs.
    The possibility: What if all of Detroit’s children entered kindergarten ready to learn?
  • Vision Behind Bars
    The idea: Pioneer a curriculum experience to prevent young men of color from entering the prison system.
    The possibility: What if Detroit led the nation in dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline? 
  • You Can Build It 
    The idea: A student-led program to make robotics training accessible across Detroit.
    The possibility: Imagine a future where Detroit kids build their own robots.
  • The Youth In Stars Project 
    The idea: Employ Detroit students in the edible insect industry.
    The possibility: What if local youth made Detroit a global center for alternative food production?

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