Strategic Community Partners was born with a vision of catering to mission-driven clientele through partnering strategy with community and cultural context. As the national demand for our work has grown, our team has reflected on the quality and strength of all of our innovative partners and leaders that have been collaborated with us along the way! Our #CommunityLeaders initiative is a space created within social media, uplifting influencers of change, as well as encouraging more meaningful dialogue across social media channels.
Why do you do what you do? What motivates you to stay in this work?
I do what I do every day because I truly believe our greatest resource in Michigan is our young people. We see people creating amazing solutions, companies, and things every day. I want to do my part to make sure our young people are aware and capable so they can create. I'm lucky in that I work directly with our students, so I see first hand the progress they are making and skills they are learning from our programs. The thing is, these students are just getting started and we want to make sure we are there to assist to where we can. Just like a good book, you're not going to close it before the end, you're going to see it through.
What factors allow you to succeed in your role?
Two things come to mind when I think about why we’ve been able to accomplish what we have. For one, we’re very dedicated to connecting our youth to opportunities that will help them become the capable leaders that we know they can be. With limited resources, that means thinking outside the box in how we develop programs that will impact their future while always paying attention to their present needs and addressing them. The second thing that ties into the first is the relationships with individuals and organizations that we’ve partnered with. We’ve been fortunate to develop great relationships with organizations like Strategic Community Partners, Emerging Training Institute, Campaign for Black Male Achievement, and Ford Motor Company Fund to name a few. Through these partnerships, we’ve been able to not only receive resources needed for our programming but also guidance and experience which has been vital for our young organization.
What does being a strong community partner mean to you? How do you live that out through your work?
To me, being a strong community partner means being an asset that’s able to collaborate with other partners to achieve an agreed upon goal. It also means being able to identify, assist, and connect other assets when needed. I keep this in mind every time I’m contacted to help with a program or provide my expertise. Just as others have helped with JOURNi's growth and initiatives, I make sure that we're assisting and pouring back into others. This is also apparent every time we identify a specific need our students have that we don’t have a background or expertise in. We don't look the other way, we look to locate the resource needed to give our students the best shot at winning.
Richard, a native Detroiter is the cofounder and CEO of JOURNi. JOURNi is a non-profit focused on decentralizing tech education for Detroiters. Through partnerships with workforce development agencies, schools, community organizations and foundations, JOURNi has been able to train close to 200 youth in web-development and entrepreneurship skills vital to closing the digital divide in Detroit. Prior to moving back to Detroit to start JOURNi, Richard worked as an agile project manager to deliver web and mobile development projects.