26th Generation of Promise Class Graduates

The below is a social contract written on behalf of Focus: HOPE, Generation of Promise Class XXVI.

Division is another form of discrimination
Long past the time of scorching, sun soaked Southern
segregation,
Separation has been centered into the streets of our
home
We have let asphalt borders breed apathy
and in our indifference our city was consumed by
flames—
Flames of hate and rage
Flames intended to burn down systemic subjection
But they only stoked fears of change.

From the streets and divisions, we have risen
From cinders and ashes, we have risen
right along the rebirth of a city and a nation,
A generation of promise:
Minds and eyes open,
searching for education
seeing our diversification
We have learned the value of cooperating over
competing,
dreaming over despairing,
embracing over excluding
loving over loathing,

Divided we may have come but united, despite it, we
stand
We are more than what separates us
We are one
One whole heart beating with hope for humanity,
focused on a future we will change
We are the youth of today, sure, but we are also the
promise of the past, and the solution to the future
Our aim is to fulfill our society duty to seek justice,
diversity, equity, peace
We will not accept silently that which must be changed
silence begets not but isolation, ignorance, and
intolerance
we will act, for others over self, to rectify injustices
Gone long witnessed and long unchallenged

Let this be our illuminated manuscript, letters aglow,
message aglow
Let our full hearts be set ablaze, impassioned and
enlightened
lighting Prometheus’s verdigrised torch;
He sits crossed legged, holding our spirit in one hand and
knowledge in the other
Knowledge given to all not just the few
Be you black, white, or brown—the flame will burn the
same
And brighter than any one pin prick of light is a sea of
lanterns radiating truth,
setting the city aflame once more;
This time a fire built from love and acceptance,
burning anew with the heat of salvation
burning down not but barriers
We hope for better things; it shall rise from the ashes.

GOP Graduation 2017

Generation of Promise brings together high school students from different backgrounds, races and ethnicities across the metropolitan area to build community and leadership skills. Students are encouraged to challenge stereotypes or misconceptions they hold and work to build relationships across divisions.

GOP Graduation 2017(3)

Sunday, May 6, 2017, more than 50 high school students successfully completed Focus: HOPE’s 26th Generation of Promise program. Fun fact; last year’s Harvard University’s Valedictorian was a Generation of Promise Graduate.

GOP Graduation 2017(2)

Congrats to all of the Generation of Promise Young Leaders who showcased their leadership and community building skills through this 10-month curriculum. Click here for more information about the program.

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Proud to be an Ambassador for NEideas Challenge Grant

New Economy Initiative Seeks Applicants for $400,000 in Awards through the NEIdeas Small Business Challenge

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We are a proud Ambassador of the NEIdeas Small Business Challenge and welcome all applicants to our information session on May 8, 2017.

What’s the challenge? Challenge to award $400,000 in cash prizes to existing businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park for their ideas for growth. Application period is open May 1-June 1 (11:59 p.m.).

The New Economy Initiative (NEI) announced today that it will begin accepting applications on May 1 for its fourth annual NEIdeas: Rewarding Ideas for Business Growth challenge, which will award a total of $400,000 to more than 20 existing small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park for their ideas for growth.

Applications can be submitted online at NEIdeasDetroit.org between May 1 and June 1 at 11:59 p.m.

Small business owners can learn more about NEIdeas and receive tips on filling out an application at our information session on May 8, 2017!

– 5/8, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Focus:HOPE (1400 Oakman Blvd., Detroit, MI 48238)

Make sure to mention you were referred by Focus: HOPE! 

Click here to Register for the Information Session

Click Here for Program Guidelines

Want to know more about our information session? Contact Judith Williams, Manager, Neighborhood and Economic Revitalizations at judith.williams@focushope.edu or 313-494-4351.

Our Business Village is Now Open!

Offering affordable and local resources for entrepreneurs & start-ups in Detroit

Meet Harriette Brown. A wife, a mother, a lover of food and Chef Bee of Sisters on a Roll Mobile Café & Catering.

“The past 27 years have been a flavor filled journey, as I see food as both an art form & a universal gift to be shared by all,” Said Harriette Brown. “It is my privilege to share with you food prepared from the heart with the soul in mind, bringing you the flavor of love one bite at a time.”

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Harriette Brown has a background in outreach ministry and has always lived her life helping others. Harriette Brown has a passion for  helping people in her community, and entrepreneurship.

“I never thought that I’d have my own business,” said Harriette Brown. “Helping others is my life long dream, having this business allows me to give more back.”

Before successfully launching Sister’s on a Roll, Mobile Cafe & Catering, Harriette Brown was wondering how she could turn her passion into a reality. How did she go from, I wish I could, to I am? Prosperous classes at Focus: HOPE.

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ProsperUS Detroit is a place-based economic development strategy designed to empower low and moderate income, immigrant and minority individuals. They have long-teamed up with us, Focus: HOPE, to aid in our community revitalization efforts that include developing a comprehensive program of supports for cultivating our HOPE Village business community. This consists of a series of training, workshops, a co-working space and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Detroit has always been strong, but lately, the development and activity it is seeing is in hyper speed with Detroit becoming a top destination for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses.

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Photo courtesy of Sasaki Associates via Huffington Post

Detroit is built strong, but the statistical inner-city issues are still there. One neighborhood that we focus on, HOPE Village, which immediately surrounds our campus, has close to 50% of its residents living below the poverty line.  HOPE Village is part of our HOPE Village Initiative whose goal is by the year 2031, 100% of HOPE Village residents will be educationally well prepared, economically self-sufficient and living in a safe and supportive environment.

So how did Harriette Brown make her dreams a reality with the help of Focus: HOPE & ProsperUs Detroit? A few years ago, she agreed to pick up a friend from Focus: HOPE’s ProsperUs class. As she was waiting for the class to end, Focus: HOPE mentor and Manager of Neighborhood and Economic Revitalization, HOPE Village Initiative, Judith Williams, urged her to stay for the last hour to see if she would be interested in attending an upcoming session. Harriet Brown liked what she took away from the last hour of the workshop and signed up for the next session that involved entrepreneurship training programs and support services with the thought, “maybe this could really work” and the drive to make her dream a reality.

Fast forward a few years to October 20th, 2016, the Grand Opening of our Business Village, and Harriette Brown, from Sisters on a Roll Mobile Catering & Services, was our caterer; and a delicious one at that.

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Harriette Brown, Sisters on a Roll Mobile Catering & Services 

“Judith Williams has been encouraging,  supportive and inspirational to me by helping me pursue my dreams,” said Harriette Brown. “I’m forever grateful to
Focus: HOPE and ProsperUS for propelling me forward in making my dreams a reality.”

Our Business Village is officially open! The Business Village is an office space that allows entrepreneurs, bloggers, small businesses, start-ups and more, to rent out office space at an affordable price in collaboration with ProsperUs Detroit. Our Business Village offers local, neighborhood residents affordable space that is nearby, and the resources and help that are essential in successfully launching small businesses, start-ups, websites and more. We want to make sure that we are helping the people who grew up in Detroit, have lived in Detroit and are not leaving Detroit and help them reach their full potential.

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Jason Lee, CEO, Focus: HOPE; Judith Williams, Manager, Neighborhood and Economic Revitalization, HOPE Village Initiative; Elaine Gardner, Assistant, Focus: HOPE; Juanita Maxwell, Assistant, Focus: HOPE  

When members purchase a plan, they get office space, a conference room available for meetings and brainstorm sessions, laptop rentals, flash drives and cabinet space. We also offer drop-in rates and a la carte items for one time uses.

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Business Village Conference Room 

Focus: HOPE mentors are available to help with marketing needs, research, and finding the correct resources that fit your goals and plans.

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Our Business Village is in collaboration with ProsperUs Detroit, which will continue to offer entrepreneur classes and workshops to our Business Village members that aid in our goal of developing a comprehensive program of supports for cultivating Focus: HOPE’s, HOPE Village business community.

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Krista Contreras and Joanna Dueweke, ProsperUs Detroit 

“The whole idea of co-working is to bring bright, creative people together and let the ideas collide.” Said Judith Williams, Manager, Neighborhood and Economic Revitalization, HOPE Village Initiative.

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JP Morgan Chase colleagues attending our grand opening 

For more information on our Business Village, please contact Judith Williams at 313-494-4351 or businessvillage@focushope.edu.