National Impact Community: Detroit, MI

Black Family Development, Inc.

About the Applicant

Black Family Development was founded in 1978 to strengthen and enhance the lives of children, youth, and families through partnerships that support safe, nurturing, vibrant homes, schools, and communities. The organization currently has a strong focus on improving neighborhood safety and achieving results under the Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods program.

About the Project

R.E.A.L. (Restorative, Engaged, Aspiring, Leading) Brothers is a cross-racial, cross-generational program focused on restorative practices and gang diversion. Black Family Development, in partnership with the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, will scale restorative practices efforts through youth and adult trainings. Black Family Development will lead restorative practices and justice training, engaging 500 young people, while the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation will train thirty local MBK partners, including the Detroit Police Department, who will each engage 50 young people.

Additionally, the R.E.A.L. Brothers effort includes an expansion of the work of Ceasefire Detroit and the Detroit Crime Commission. In 2017, Ceasefire precincts experienced a 19 percent reduction in homicides, and a 26 percent reduction in nonfatal shootings. Together, Ceasefire and the Detroit Crime Commission will focus on a continuum of violence reduction programming for two specific populations: those who are likely to engage with the criminal justice system and those who are returning from it.

Ceasefire Detroit will engage 300 male students from seven high schools with their proven curriculum, which includes a weekly discussion series, summer development and employment initiatives, and two annual youth summits. The Detroit Crime Commission will seek to scale the results of its New Beginnings program, which has used high-level gang intelligence to significantly suppress and divert gang activity. Collectively, these efforts represent a deepening of many of the goals established in the 2015 My Brother’s Keeper Detroit report and the start of a new chapter.

Mid-Year Update

Black Family Development has made steady progress in improving the lives of hundreds of young men in Detroit since partnering with the MBK Alliance. Through their R.E.A.L. Brothers program, Black Family Development is now making an impact in 15 Detroit schools.

In six of the 15 schools, student groups meet twice weekly to receive restorative practices training in sessions that have been named The Harambee Brotherhood Circle. Two of these groups took what they learned beyond the school walls by organizing peace marches in June with 170 supporters. These students took on the role of Restorative Practices Ambassadors, bringing what they learned back to their schools and homes—and making their communities stronger and safer.

One of the 15 schools reported that 86 percent of R.E.A.L. Brothers participants showed improvements in their attendance and grades, and 93 percent showed improvement in behavior, conflict resolution, coping skills, and self-esteem.

Black Family Development also hosted a youth summit, training 125 students from five schools in restorative practices. These students took on the role of Restorative Practices Ambassadors, bringing what they learned back to their schools and homes—and making their communities stronger and safer.

Key Implementation Partners

  • MBK Detroit
  • The Skillman Foundation
  • Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation
  • Ceasefire Detroit
  • Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative
  • Detroit Crime Commission