Dr. Patrice Johnson
It always seems impossible until it is done.
Three years ago, when I began my tenure as the Executive Director of BHGH Detroit, I would always say that we could transform a vision into reality. Along the journey, we have established a clear vision of creating nurturing environments that develop young, emerging leaders who face systemic inequities, such as poverty and racism. However, it takes muscle and faith to build an organization that can truly impact the lives of those who are deemed the most vulnerable and yet most promising.
Alongside a team of dedicated and committed staff members, BHGH has executed our mission and we have changed the way residential and community-based programs operate across the country.
This fall, we will launch the first 21st Century Urban Boarding Program in our country. An innovative solution that supports the needs of Generation Z and develops the future leaders that we need in our world.
We have chosen to do work that some times seems impossible, but we are proving that we create possibilities.
In the fall of 96’, I became a Boys Hope Girls Hope of Detroit scholar. We were the first to live in the “Roslyn House” in several years, as it had just reopened. While the home was more than enough, and was always up to standards, it left a lot to be desired. After all, most of the homes in the Green Acres neighborhood were built in the 1930’s. Today, we embark on a new chapter in the BHGH journey.
Thanks to the Carl’s Foundation, the renovation of the Hope House, a 21st Century Urban Boarding Program (formerly known as the “Roslyn House”), will provide our Hope Scholars with an enhanced environment that only I could have dreamed of living in! The Hope House renovation will now include amenities such as a Dance & Fitness Studio, Digital Labs & Library …. and LOFTS for beds! Seriously, who doesn’t want to be a scholar in this program?!
Speaking from experience, when you’re in the Hope House – you forget where it is you’re from and realize it only matters where it is you’re going! And if I had that experience back then, I can only imagine the experience these young scholars will have come 2020.
It’s important to note that it doesn’t stop here. A program that went from having 10 to 12 scholars, now has 115 scholars across the city of Detroit. With the partnership of local schools such as Detroit Edison PSA, Loyola High School, and Cristo Rey.
BHGH has an even broader reach across the city of Detroit.
I’m proud to be an alum and a board member.
Maricruz Zamora graduated from the University of Michigan – Dearborn, with a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering during December 2019. She is a first generation high school and college graduate.
As a Hope Scholar, Maricruz had the opportunity to attend different seminars, travel to our headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., and attend our summer seminars in Nebraska. During these experiences, Maricruz was able to see herself grow and evolve. She started to think about her future beyond Southwest Detroit, graduating from high school and interacting with other like-minded young people, as well as meeting professionals who took time to share their stories and relate to her and the other scholars.
Maricruz was able to apply to college with confidence, support, and financial education developed in the Hope Academy. The scholarship from BHGH Detroit, along with other grants and financial aid, were extremely beneficial to her as a college student. With the support of our Collegiate Support Specialist, London Johnson, Maricruz was able to have direct contact with someone who she developed a relationship with, understood the college journey, and would help encourage her to follow her dreams.
After completing a six-week study aboard program in Italy, Maricruz became culturally aware of the opportunity she had received and became committed to giving back to her community and to help the next cohort of Hope Scholars and Collegians as a BHGH Ambassador.
Judith Montelongo graduated from the University of Michigan – Dearborn, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration during April 2019.
Judith moved to Detroit from Tamaulipas, Mexico at the age of three. After transferring from Cesar Chavis Academy, Judith was accepted into the Hope Academy, where she thrived with the additional resources and support that were missing from the traditional school day. Judith credits BHGH Detroit for having workshops that get scholars excited about getting ready for the next chapter in their lives. Scholars are allowed to visit different colleges and universities, granted the opportunity to travel outside Southeast Michigan, and learn about industries and opportunities that are endless.
Today, Judith works as the middle person between DTE Energy and internship agencies to ensure career development workshops, such as networking, resume building, and interview skills. Judith truly enjoys how her professional and personal life reflect one another, as she recalls doing similar workshops as a BHGH Scholar. Although Judith has a very demanding schedule, she is very committed to the overall success of BHGH Detroit and is looking forward to serving as an Ambassador.