AT&T Announces Believe Detroit Initiative to Increase Opportunities for Detroit Youth to Succeed

Originally Published by AT&T.

AT&T* is expanding its efforts to help Detroiters connect with opportunities to succeed through its Believe Detroit initiative. The $500,000 effort is a community and employee engagement initiative to help promote educational opportunities, academic achievement and a path to self-sufficiency for Detroiters.


“Believe Detroit is about being engaged in the community to make an everlasting impact,” said David Lewis, president of AT&T Michigan. “We are committed to connecting Detroiters with opportunities that will change the trajectory of their lives for the better and our team will proudly be engaged in the effort every step of the way.”

AT&T Michigan is teaming up with 15 different Detroit organizations to expand current efforts and create new opportunities to provide Detroiters with resources that will improve their future outcomes.

“Working to improve outcomes and opportunities for Detroiters is an important and noble cause,” said Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. “Corporations doing business in Michigan should emulate AT&T Michigan’s Believe Detroit initiative as a way to invest in communities across Michigan now and into the future.”

The signature project of the initiative is the Believe Detroit Technology Challenge, which began in 2018, bringing together 100 Detroit students for a challenge to learn about technology and web development. The challenge serves as a gateway for high school juniors and seniors to consider these in-demand areas as a career path. The challenge is in collaboration with Rebrand Cities, WordPress, and Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program.

“Believe Detroit is not a check the box initiative, but rather a commitment to impact kids and students in the city,” said Hajj Flemings, founder of Rebrand Cities. “Collaboration is the key to really being able to make a difference. Partnering with AT&T on Believe Detroit gives us the opportunity to create lasting solutions to help end the digital divide and empower Detroit high schools to embrace technology.”

This program is an extension of AT&T Believes, a larger company-wide initiative, which aims to create positive change in local communities. Additional organizations included in the 2019 Believe Detroit initiative include:

Cass Community Social Services: Sponsoring the creation of memorial gardens south of the Scott Building, which provide shelter and employment services for the homeless and the nearby new Tiny Homes development for low-income residents. This will create a community area where those in need of it can grieve and bury the ashes of their deceased.

City Year, Inc. Detroit: Sponsoring the expansion of the Detroit’s City Year program which provides full-time mentoring and tutoring in Detroit schools. City Year is currently operating in 10 Detroit schools, helping thousands of students improve their future outcomes.

DC Elite/Bing Youth Institute Tournament: Supporting the Bing Youth Institute and DC Elite, advancing the development of youth through basketball in the Detroit metropolitan area. This effort will help expand outreach to youth through basketball while also providing mentorship for student athletes, teaching them the importance of continuing a commitment to education and making beneficial life choices, enabling them to become self- sufficient productive citizens.

Detroit Urban League: Developing the “Believe Detroit Learning Lab/Resource Center” at Detroit Urban League’s current facility. This will help grow the Urban League’s College Club program, which increases educational opportunities for area students seeking post-secondary degrees in a fun and positive environment.

Friends of the Children: Sponsoring the creation of a Friends of the Children mentoring site in Detroit. Friends of Detroit is a mentorship program focused on prevention and early intervention for at-risk youth in foster care or high-poverty areas.

Gregory Kelser Basketball Camp: Supporting the Gregory Kesler Basketball Camp, which holds summer basketball camps in Detroit with an educational and mentoring component. Kesler is a native Detroiter, former MSU and NBA Basketball player, motivational speaker and current Detroit Pistons color commentator.

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent: Supporting Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s signature youth and young adult program that ensures young adults have pathways to future opportunities. The partnership will support the Junior Police and Fire Cadet program, targeting Detroit youth with an interest in pursuing career opportunities with the Detroit Police and Fire Departments.

Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development: Supporting LA SED’s advocacy program, working on behalf of families, specifically children of immigrants who face several social service issues.

Metro Detroit Youth Day: Sponsoring Metro Detroit Youth Day, an annual event attended by more than 35,000 area youth, including sports clinics, lunch, games, contests and more. Attendees have access to youth guidance, mentors, anti-substance abuse activity, motivational speakers, entertainment, and outstanding students are honored with scholarships for academic excellence and community service.

NAACP ACT-SO Program: Supporting and expanding student participation in NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, informally called “Olympics of the Mind.” This youth program is designed to encourage academic and cultural achievement among African American high school students, setting the stage for continuing education and fulfillment of potential.

National Action Network/Faith Homebuyers/United States Naval Sea Cadets: Supporting the United States Naval Sea Cadets program in Detroit to enhance educational and future employment opportunities for youth. In partnership with the Michigan Chapter of the National Action Network and the National Faith Homebuyers, cadets will explore a variety of career paths available in our nation’s armed services.

Salvation Army: Supporting Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope Program in Detroit, providing intensive support to families who desire to act to break the cycle of crisis and intergenerational poverty.

Sit On It Detroit: Sponsoring building additional benches with book storage at bus stops across Detroit. The nonprofit aims to provider commuters with a community library while they wait for the bus.

STARBASE/Selfridge Air National Guard Base: Providing 60 Detroit high school students with the opportunity to attend STARBASE and Selfridge Air National Guard Base for hands-on sessions dealing with tech, robotics and aeronautics, and exploring potential careers.

“The investment in the growth of our youth by AT&T reflects a true vision of the future and a value for the creative genius of young people,” said the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP. “AT&T is demonstrating a sensitivity to our city by advancing the quality of life of Detroiters, mobilizing our world today for the unlimited progress of tomorrow.”

Throughout 2019, AT&T Michigan employees will be engaged with Believe Detroit projects and will volunteer where needed to help enhance these opportunities for Detroiters.

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