Detroit Pistons Partner With Detroit Police Department To Launch Advancing African American Teens Mentoring Program

Detroit-area teenagers to receive direct mentorship from members of the Pistons and Detroit Police Department Mentoring Program to launch virtually on January 19th with first event, “A History of Greatness”

DETROIT, MI (January 19, 2021) – The Detroit Pistons announced today they are partnering with the Detroit Police Department to launch the Advancing African American Teens Mentoring Program. The program will include a series of monthly mentorship virtual meetings created to engage Detroit-area teenagers through positive dialogue, enrichment philosophies and life strategies to help them realize their power in reaching their goals.

The program will occur monthly throughout the NBA 2020-21 regular season (through May) and will be held virtually to ensure health and safety guidelines are met. Mentors will include members of the Detroit Pistons organization, as well as the Detroit Police Department. Mentees for each session will be comprised of 20 Detroit-area teenagers from Detroit PAL and other local area non-profit organizations. Each mentoring event will provide an intimate atmosphere for the mentees, ensuring one-on-one attention and conversation for each participant.

“We need more programming in Detroit where kids can express themselves and feel supported,” said Pistons guard and native Detroiter Josh Jackson. “Sports provide a platform to inspire, connect and build bridges and initiatives like this will help young people learn, grow and develop relationships that will benefit their futures.”

To launch the program and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, mentors from the Detroit Police Department will be joined by Pistons players - Delon Wright, Jahlil Okafor, Josh Jackson, and Pistons legend Earl Cureton for the first monthly event, “A History of Greatness.” The first virtual gathering will take place on the evening of January 19th. DPD mentors and Pistons representatives will speak with mentees about prominent Black leaders throughout Black history, and what lessons can be taken from their barrier-breaking successes. The mentorship event will include breakout sessions, mentor-mentee speed interviewing, and will finish with a Q&A portion.

Each monthly mentoring event will have a topic of focus in accordance with Detroit Police Athletic League’s G.R.E.A.T values, which stand for Goal Setting, Resilience, Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle, Accountability, and Teamwork. February’s event will focus on Goal Setting and Resilience, March will explore Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle, April will cover Accountability and May’s event will discuss Teamwork.

The program is one way in which the Detroit Pistons are supporting the Detroit Police Department in its effort to build stronger relationships within the community. The club is also assisting the newly launched Office of Internal-External Relations (O.I.E.R) with a funding grant to support the division’s Police Community Summit initiatives. The summits are being established under the Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy, a division of O.I.E.R., and will encourage courageous conversations to foster mutual understanding between the citizens and police.

“We certainly appreciate the continued partnership with the Detroit Pistons and the extraordinary support they have given to the Office of Internal-External Relations,” said Chief James E. Craig. “This is just another great example of how we can work together to build strong and sustainable relationships with the residents in our community.”

“The Office of Internal-External Relations is excited to partner with the Detroit Pistons Organization, through synergistic community engagement initiatives,” said Detroit Police Captain Tonya Leonard- Gilbert. “This grant will greatly assist our efforts in bridging the gap between community and police and allow O.I.E.R to enhance, expand and be more efficient, which equals overall success.”