The Wellness Advocates of Detroit Youth Programs
The Basis for “The Wellness Advocates of Detroit” YOUTH Mentoring Program is “Behavior Modification” and
UNDERSTANDING the “Stages of Commitment to Change”
Many adolescents engage in risky behaviors that may have harmful, even fatal, consequences for themselves and others (Carnegie
Corporation of New York, 1995; Irwin & Ingra, 1994). The leading causes of adolescent injury and death - motor vehicle crashes, homicide,
and suicide - are behavior related (Healthy People 2000, 1991, 1995). The problem of risk behaviors is particularly acute among African
American male adolescents who live in high-risk environments.
Empirical research suggests that risks tend to cluster in the same individual and reinforce one another and that risk behaviors often have
common antecedents in childhood experience and educational failure (Irwin & Ingra, 1994; Jessor, 1992). These observations suggest that
generic interventions that address more than one behavior or predisposing factor are preferable to approaches that target only
one risk factor or that use only one method of intervention.
The survival of African Americans is at stake. Many of our communities are facing the effects of gentrification, eroding any control that a
people may have had of over the local resources; escalating unemployment among our youth, increasing numbers of our young men not
making it through middle school, and dropping out of high school, because they are not prepared. Many of our youth are turning the
streets as an option. For some crime is the only option. The outcome does not look good because in today’s world it is generally assumed
by the criminal justice system that black males are fundamentally criminals. It should be of no surprise that disproportionately black male
youth are being arrested, convicted and sentenced to serve longer terms than any similarly situated group in America. How did it get so
The answer is not complex, we have a tendency to function and respond to the world in which we live as individuals, therefore, we are
motivated by individualism (matters of the self) we are not inspired to collectively make changes in our community, and as a result we are
not solving the real issues impacting our community.
The number one root problem that confronts African American people from one generation to the next, from birth to adulthood, life to death,
is our complete acceptance, identification with and adoption of the western world philosophy and psychology of “individualism”.
We propose that the one answer for African Americans is to provide programming for our youth that gives our youth a serious opportunity for
change. Our focus is on the African American Male. Why the African American male?
Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, author “Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys” Vol. II argued 25 years ago that, “Numerous studies
project that 70 percent of all African American males will be unavailable to African American women by the year 2000. These men will be
dead, incarcerated, drug addicts, or involved in interracial marriages. The gangs and drug dealers have also become more effective over the
past decade. The homicide rate is at an all-time high and the decline in employment opportunities makes drug dealing very lucrative for
many of our youth.”
These projections of 25 years ago are closing in on us as evidenced by the brilliant work in Professor Michelle Alexander’s book “New Jim
Crow” where she teaches, “No other country in the world imprisons so many of its racial or ethnic minorities. The United States imprisons a
larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of Apartheid. And in major cities wracked by the drug war, as
many as 80 percent of young African American men now have criminal records and are thus subject to legal discrimination for the rest of
We believe that the change that is desired, must be “internally determined” by the individual. We also believe that the most effective
process for behavior and value change is the “group process or group experience”. We need the group experience for transforming
individuals into a people.
Our recommendation for group and leadership development would be employment of the “Teaming model”: First stage “Forming” In the
first stage of team building, the forming of the team takes place. The individual's behavior is driven by a desire to be accepted by the others,
and avoid controversy or conflict. Second stage “Storming” In the storming stage, enough initial trust has been developed between team
members that they start to feel comfortable expressing discontent and challenging others' opinions. Third stage “Norming” The team
manages to have one goal and come to a mutual plan for the project at this stage. Some may have to give up their own ideas and agree
with others to make the team function. Fourth stage “Performing” It is possible for some teams to reach the performing stage. These high-
performing teams can function as a unit as they find ways to get the job done smoothly and effectively without inappropriate conflict or the
need for external supervision. Bruce Tuckman (1965) All youth participants will internalize the “stages of commitment to change”.
African American Youth are confronted with several challenging realities:
declining health caused by, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, emotional stress, malnutrition, and dehydration, and
youth violence associated with identity crisis
The Wellness Advocates of Detroit, proposes a program designed to empower youth, create hope through performance, and change
through the transforming experience of the peer group process.
This program is unique because it is relevant today, it offers our youth an opportunity for lifestyle change.
Wellness Advocates of Detroit provides comprehensive assessments (mind, body and spirit):
academic skills pre-assessments
social skills pre-assessments
propensity for leadership pre-assessments
Wellness Advocates of Detroit offers youth programs which involve 4 weeks (12 sessions) of peer group process programming. In these
sessions participants will learn:
eliminating self defeating behaviors
employability skills development
Participation in the youth program also includes post-completion assessments and a six month follow up. Referrals services will be
employed where appropriate.
Youth Program Requirements
All participating youths must remain in school, maintain good standing, and shall not violate local, state, or federal laws.
Special Programming For Our Youth
There is a crisis among our youth, and this crisis is centered around all facets of life; health, obesity spiraling out of control, increased heart
disease; increased self hatred illustrated by increased youth violence; inadequate academic development, fewer youth are completing high
school, or entering into college, completing college or programs at alternative institutions; increased unemployment, the young can't find
meaningful or any employment, fewer black businesses, and the persistence of prejudice in the employment arena; additionally there is
increased homelessness among our youth. There is an obvious need for a new direction in programming for our youth.
The Wellness Advocates of Detroit will provide wellness education, and essential peer group process work to impact life style and therefore
behavioral change. It will provide leadership training and development through civic volunteerism, educational guidance and development
through the transforming power of the peer group, peer research with the aid of educational specialist, career development through peer
group research with the aid of job developers. Additionally, youth will receive similar wellness education as articulated above in our adult
A Non-Profit Organization Of Change Agents Providing Wellness
Services And Facilitating Disease Prevention Education
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Non Discrimination Policy and Statement
© The Wellness Advocates of Detroit, 19467 Livernois Avenue, Detroit MI 48221, 313-862-1938
The Wellness Advocates of Detroit is a non-profit organization that is supported by individuals and businesses in Detroit. Wellness Advocates of Detroit offers
wellness services including colon cleansing (with a colon hydrotherapist), reflexology (with a Michigan reflexologist), detox foot baths, and yoga therapy (with a
yoga therapist and includes movement, relaxation, and meditation) as well as youth programs and adult programs. www.thewellnessadvocatesofdetroit.com
Effective 08/21/2014 the IRS granted "The Wellness Advocates of Detroit" 501.c3 status.
The Wellness Advocates of Detroit was awarded a grant
funded by The Pollination Project, Seeding Projects That
Change The World for The Male Youth Enhancement
Program. April 2015.