Former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing Launches Major Coalition to Support and Mentor Detroit Youth

Youth Initiative to include new UAW-Ford and DPS collaboration

Former Detroit Mayor and NBA legend Dave Bing today announced the launch of the Bing Youth Institute (BYI), a coalition of organizations whose mission is to enhance the lives of Detroit-area youth through mentoring, charitable giving, academic support, and recreational opportunities. 

Bing has teamed up with the Detroit Public Schools, UAW-Ford, Crime Stoppers of Michigan, former professional athletes, and members of the business community to provide much-needed support to neighborhood groups, non-profits and school programs that serve urban youth.

“When I left the Mayor’s office, I expressed my interest in working with youth in Detroit — in particular our young African-American males. Too many of them do not have father figures in the home or male role models,” said Bing. “Through the creation of the Bing Youth Institute, we can have a huge impact on a larger number of young people by offering our support and sharing our experiences with them.  Our goal is to help children and teens develop the confidence and leadership skills to become successful and productive citizens.”

Representatives from the BYI member organizations joined Bing today at a press conference announcing the partnership at the UAW-Ford National Programs Center on West Jefferson in Detroit.  Two of the collaborators, UAW-Ford and Detroit Public Schools (DPS), announced the creation of a pilot project that will provide an inspirational camp experience this summer for more than 1,000 DPS students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The UAW-Ford/DPS Summer Camp will offer academic enrichment, life skills training, and recreational activities.

“We are very excited to be partnering with the Bing Youth Institute and to continue UAW-Ford’s commitment to building strong, vibrant communities where our members work and live,” said UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles.

“Detroit Public Schools cannot be everything to everyone, and we most certainly cannot, on our own, do everything we need to do to ensure educational success for our students,” said DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin. “That’s why strategic partnerships such as the ones with the Bing Youth Institute and the UAW-Ford are so critical to Detroit Public Schools. They help us to address the needs of the whole student. We can’t thank Mayor Bing and Jimmy Settles enough for their strong, continued support.”

The other groups and initiatives participating in the Bing Youth Institute are:

  • NFL Alumni Association
  • National Basketball Retired Players Association
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Project Safe Campus

Additionally, Bing is creating his own mentoring program named B.I.N.G.O., which stands for “Boys Inspired through Nurturing, Growth & Opportunities.”  The initiative will launch this fall as part of the Bing Youth Institute. The goal of the program is to help urban youth develop a greater vision and hope for the future.  Bing and other mentors will work with young men to help them broaden their self-awareness, improve decision-making skills, and reduce incidents of violent behavior.

The creation of the Bing Youth Institute is in direct response to statistics that show delinquency is increasing dramatically among young African-American males in this country.  Similarly, President Barack Obama launched the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative earlier this year to encourage foundations and corporations to help boys and young men of color overcome tough odds and reach their full potential through mentoring, support networks and skills training.

For more information on BYI, call 313.392.7016.

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