Thank you for your interest in learning more about The Imperative

Our Big Harry Audacious Goal (BHAG) is:  To Make Detroit the Greatest City in the US to Raise a Black boy!

Our Vision Statement is:  To see Black boys living their dreams!

We share a great deal of information about The Imperative below, including how you can get involved with this very important work. While we encourage you to read all of the information provided, click any of buttons below and you’ll be taken directly to that section of this page.

The Current Situation

Detroit is re-emerging as a city of opportunity, unless you’re a Black boy.

Our Black boys in Detroit are in crisis. Their life trajectories are crippled by intergenerational trauma caused by implicit bias and systemic racism.

Our findings demonstrate that Black boys are over diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), and Conduct Disorder (CD) and under diagnosed and treated for the trauma they have experienced because of implicit bias and systemic racism. Society and in many cases, systems they depend on for care and development, look at them through a lens focused on what is wrong with you as opposed to what happened to you.

Black boys are disproportionately affected by implicit bias, systemic racism, and a lack of trauma-informed community support systems. They experience trauma at a much higher rate than their white counterparts.

This disparity creates unimaginable challenges and keeps them from living their dreams and becoming the amazing people they were born to be.

Compared to all other males, Black boys are:

  • 1.5 times more likely to receive an in school suspension
  • 2.4 times more likely to receive an out of school suspension
  • 1.7 times more likely to receive an expulsion
  • Have a graduation rate of only 68% compared to 80% for white males (Statistics indicate that 60% percent of high school dropouts will go to prison)

Nationally

  • Black men ages 30-34 are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of white men
  • In 99% of US neighborhoods, Black boys in adulthood earn less than white men who grew up in households with similar incomes
  • Black men 18 and over have the highest adjusted all-cause mortality rate and worst health status of any ethnic group-sex in the US

Our Black boys are in crisis

The life trajectory of Black boys in Detroit is crippled by intergenerational trauma caused by implicit bias and systemic racism. This often undiagnosed and untreated trauma causes unimaginable challenges and negative outcomes for Black boys.

Check out the video to the right to see how The Children’s Center and Crisis to Connection will meet these challenges and help Black boys live their dreams.

Separated By Blocks, Worlds Apart

Learn More

Where you live determines your access to opportunities in education, employment, housing and even access to Medical Care (David R. Williams). This Infographic demonstrates the very different neighborhood context that children living in Detroit experience vs children living blocks away in Grosse Pointe.

Change Champion Kick-off Report

Learn More

The Change Champion Kickoff Report polled over 100 community and systems leaders to examine the most significant challenges in systems that service Black boys. Click on image above to see the results.

The Imperative at Work

Learn More

Christopher Jaco, Client and Crisis to Connection Ambassador at The Children’s Center, has a compelling and inspirational story that’s emblematic of the issues Black boys face as they matriculate through systems Crisis to Connection seeks to reimagine. Click to listen to Chris’ story.

The Solution

Crisis to Connection is a philosophy that aligns beliefs, values, and actions using a trauma-informed and anti-racist framework.

Over the next decade, Crisis to Connection will bring together key systems leaders and community Change Champions to develop a comprehensive plan that identifies and treats intergenerational trauma and addresses implicit bias and systemic racism that impacts the life trajectory of Black boys.

Outcome impact data from organizations and systems (in Detroit and Wayne County) that touch the lives of Black boys will be collected, disaggregated, and analyzed. Data will be used to inform decisions on the work of the Imperative and shared with the community and organizations that service and engage Black boys.

Resources and trainings around trauma, implicit bias and systemic racism will be developed, coordinated, and provided to the community, organizations and systems touching the lives of Black boys.

Transformative changes will be executed at the organizational, systems and legislative levels focused on eliminating racist policies and practices impacting Black boys across their life span and ultimately improving outcomes for Black boys, families and the community.

Short Term:

  • Change Champions will have an understanding of adverse childhood experiences, trauma, implicit bias and systemic racism and its impact on Black boys
  • Change Champions will be engaged in strategic policy and practice changes to address childhood trauma, racism, implicit bias, increase trauma informed practices, and within their organizations, constituencies and/or servicing communities

Intermediate Term:

  • Decrease in the systemic barriers for Black male caregivers to participate in the lives of their children
  • Increase in the application of trauma-informed practices in all sectors that touch the lives of Black boys and men
  • Development of a culture of collaboration among Crisis to Connection Change Champions
  • Increase in the number of initiatives around implicit bias and systemic racism in Wayne County

Long Term:

  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Improved economic opportunities
  • Improved educational opportunities
  • Positive shift in the individual and societal perception of Black boys
  • Reduction of the impact of intergenerational trauma

The Work

Crisis to Connection is a philosophy that aligns beliefs, values, and actions using a trauma-informed and anti-racist framework.

Over the next decade, Crisis to Connection will bring together key systems leaders and community Change Champions to develop a comprehensive plan that identifies and treats intergenerational trauma and addresses implicit bias and systemic racism that impacts the life trajectory of Black boys.

Partners

Crisis to Connection will leverage partnerships with process experts in key systems to guide, inform, plan and move the work of the Imperative forward. Below are a few of our partners:

  • Emergence Collective
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Michigan (NAMI MI)
  • Ruth Ellis Center
  • University of Michigan, School of Social Work

Click on the following tabs to learn more about the purpose and members of our Advisory Council, Subcommittees and Operations Team.

The Advisory Council is responsible for the strategic direction of the Imperative. The goal of the Advisory Council is to develop a community wide strategy to help Black boys live their dreams. The Advisory Council is comprised of leaders across systems that the Imperative will reimagine. Meet our Advisory Council Members.

Co-Chairs

  • George Winn, Chief Operations Officer, The Children’s Center
  • Kevin Fischer, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness Michigan (NAMI MI)

 

George Winn, Chief Operations Officer, The Children’s Center

George serves as Chief Operations Officer at The Children’s Center in Detroit, Michigan where he leads human resources, operations, information technology, and child welfare teams for a behavioral health and child welfare organization. Mr. Winn provides support and guidance in all aspects of program innovation and implementation. Mr. Winn takes a visionary approach to carefully assisting the agency in strategic planning, while focusing on community partnerships and improving internal systems. He has passion for, and belief in, the family system and believes our children are our future and we must provide innovative, high quality services to children and families. Mr. Winn also leads and supports The Children’s Center Fatherhood Initiative. He also serves in the role of the Diversity Officer and leads in the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Mr. Winn is very active in advocating in addressing racial inequity within the child welfare and community mental health systems.

 

Kevin Fischer, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness Michigan (NAMI MI)

Kevin is the Executive Director of NAMI Michigan. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness,is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.A retired businessman, Kevin joined NAMI as a volunteer in 2011 after his oldest son Dominique was diagnosed with a mental illness in late 2007 and was lost to suicide in 2010. After serving on the NAMI Michigan Board of Directors as the NAMI Walks Chairperson for two years, and as Board Vice-President for two years, Kevin accepted the role of Executive Director in 2014. A mental health and suicide prevention advocate, Kevin is also the founder and Director of The Dominique Fischer Memorial Foundation,serves on the Board of Directors of several behavioral health organizations throughout Michigan and is a member of Governor Whitmer’s Suicide Prevention Commission. Quoted as saying “this is his last job; his last fight,” Kevin is dedicated to eliminating the stigma of mental illness, which he considers the leading barrier to early diagnoses, treatment and better outcomes for all.

Advisory Council Members

  • Andrea Cole, Executive Director & CEO, Flinn Foundation
  • Brooke Blackwell, Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN)
  • Chief Robert Dunlap, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department
  • Christopher Ruth, Senior Portfolio Manager, Key Bank
  • Chui Karega, Attorney, The Children’s Center Board Chair
  • Dr. Carmen McIntyre, M.D., Wayne State University, School of Medicine
  • Dr. Daveda J. Colbert, PH.D. Associate Superintendent, Wayne Regional Educational Service Agencies
  • Dr. Teresa Holtrop, M.D., Kids Health Connection
  • Eric Doeh, Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN)
  • Hon. Edward Joseph, 3rd Circuit Judicial Court
  • Lynnette Wright, Wayne County Child & Family Services Director, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)
  • Matthew Hoerauf, Skillman Foundation
  • Raymond Solomon Jr., Department of Neighborhoods Director, City of Detroit Mayors Office
  • Regina D. Jemison, Counselor of Law & Faith, Esq.
  • Representative Stephanie Young, Michigan House of Representatives, District 8

Work Groups work on objectives that support the Imperative’s Strategic Plan, goals and outcomes. Here’s the current focus of the Work Groups.

  • Access to Coordinated Services
  • Behavioral Health for Children and Families
  • Suicide Prevention and Intervention
  • Trauma Awareness

Crisis to Connection convened over 100 community and systems leaders across Detroit and Wayne County to provide context and to the Imperative and begin to rally the community around the urgent and critically important work of the “Imperative.” See what happened.

 

The Operations Team exists to help expedite logistics, finances, and management of the Advisory Council, to support the work of the Sub-Committees and to engage, organize and support the community. The Operations Team is comprised of the following members:

  • Carlynn Nichols, Chief Clinical Officer, The Children’s Center
  • Laura LeFever, Director, Community Partnerships & Projects, The Children’s Center
  • Kelvin Brown, Program Manager, Community Partnerships & Projects, The Children’s Center
  • Aubrey Gilliland, Project Coordinator, Community Partnerships & Projects, The Children’s Center

The Crisis to Connection Quarterly Change Champions Meetings

The Crisis to Connection Quarterly Change Champions Meetings are designed to bring together the Change Champions involved in the work of Crisis to Connection to report on the progress of their work, share information and resources, and provide a space for learning and training.

Upcoming Events

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Educational Resources

Education around Trauma, Implicit Bias and how Systemic Racism impacts the outcomes of Black boys is key to the work of Crisis to Connection. Please review the resources below:

Intergenerational Trauma

 

The Impact of Racial Trauma

Newsy. (2020, June 22). Understanding Racial Trauma [Video]. YouTube.

 

Trauma Informed Programs

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

“The repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.” (Burke Harris, N., 2015; Ted Conferences)

Burke Harris, N. (2015, February). How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime [Video]. Ted Conferences.

 

Complex Trauma: In Urban African-American Children, Youth, and Families

Complex Trauma Treatment Network of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (2016). Complex trauma: In Urban African-American Children, Youth, and Families. Los Angeles, CA, & Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.

 

There is No “Post”: How Trauma and Violence Affect the Lives of Young Males of Color

Rich, MD, MPH, J., Marks, MPP, A., Corbin, MD, MPP, T., & Ashley, MPH, L. (2018, January). Healing in Color Action Brief One. Youthalive.org

 

Sounding the Alarm on Black Youth Suicide By Zara Adrams

Quick read that shows how suicide among black youth has skyrocketed within the last 2 decades. Lays out what is being done to help this population.

Abrams, Z. (2020, January 28). Sounding the alarm on black youth suicide. Psychologists are mobilizing to address a growing crisis. American Psychological Association.

Implicit Bias

 

“Them and Me — The Care and Treatment of Black Boys in America”

Simon, M.D., K. M., (2020, November 12). Them and Me — The Care and Treatment of Black Boys in America. N Engl J Med 2020; 383:1904-1905 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2022606

 

How Racism Makes Us Sick by David R. Williams

Williams, D. R. (2016, November). How Racism Makes Us Sick [Video]. Ted Conferences.

 

Undoing Racism by Design

Parker, C. S. (2012, November 1). Undoing Racism-By Design. Interaction Institute for Social Change.

Imperative of Addressing Childhood Trauma in Detroit by George Winn

Charlton, C. (2021, April 5). Imperative of Addressing Childhood Trauma in Detroit. Metro Parent.

 

Crisis to Connection: An Imperative for our Black boys

Listen to @TCC_Laura talk with Carlynn Nichols, Chief Clinical Officer at The Children’s Center about why we created “Crisis to Connection: An Imperative for Our Black Boys.”

The Children’s Center Real Talk About Children’s Mental Health Podcast. (2020, August 17). E4: Crisis to Connection: An Imperative for Our Boys.

 

Faces of Trauma

The Children’s Center, in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), is hosting the 8th annual Faces of Trauma event on May 25, 2022.

This year’s theme is Faces of Trauma: The Art of Healing. Artists, including The MOSAIC Youth Theatre of Detroit and AleshaNicole, will demonstrate how art and music can be used as a tool to facilitate healing from traumatic life experiences. A keynote speaker will share their story of resilience and healing, and artwork created by The Children’s Center clients will be on display.

 

Get Involved

The first step is to attend a 60-minute Informational Session via Zoom to learn about the Imperative and how you can get involved.

Join a Work Group!
The Strategic Planning Subcommittee is currently building the Community Wide Strategic Plan.  Work Groups will convene after the completion of the Community-Wide Strategic Plan (slated for January 2023).

  • Comprised of members of the community and are critical to the work of the Imperative
  • Work Group members participate and assist with Discovery Activities (including Focus Groups and events around the work of Crisis to Connection)
  • Work Groups champion objectives identified by the Community-Wide Strategic Plan under the leadership of Advisory Council

Refer a person or organization to the Imperative. Refer a person or organization interested in social justice and social change to the Imperative to get involved. Provide them with our media guide to get the conversation started.

Make a gift. We’re confident we can defeat racism, poverty and childhood trauma. But we cannot do it alone. We need your help. Please give.

Make a Gift

Thank you for making a gift

Without effective, trauma-informed interventions, Black boys in Detroit are more likely receive in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, and expulsions. More likely to not graduate high school. More likely to be incarcerated. These aren’t bad boys. They’re traumatized boys. The Children’s Center is dedicated to changing this all-too-common narrative for our Black boys. Connecting them and their families to trauma-informed community supports, so they can live their dreams and become the person they were born to be. Please give.

Join the Conversation

Ways You Can Join the Conversation

The Children’s Center frequently engages with the community through virtual Crisis to Connection listening and informational meetings. The community is encouraged to attend upcoming Crisis to Connection meetings to participate in the discussion and provide feedback and ideas on how together we can improve outcomes for our Black boys.

Email

Submit questions or share ideas via CrisisToConnection@thechildrenscenter.com.

Join the Conversation on Social Media

To join the conversation on social media, follow The Children’s Center on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Use #CrisisToConnection in your social media posts to contribute your voice to the Crisis to Connection conversation and help us raise awareness online.

Subscribe to Crisis to Connection Meeting Announcements and Updates

To stay informed on upcoming Crisis to Connection meetings and other important updates, signup to our email list.

Click to signup to our email list

Contact Us

To learn more about Crisis to Connection: An Imperative for our Black boys, please contact us at CrisisToConnection@thechildrenscenter.com or call 313.379.0998.

We cannot do this work alone. We need your help.