Mentor Recruitment, Training and Support

Detroit CARES is focused on recruiting mentors for the emotional, social, and academic development of our children and the wellness of the adults who parent, mentor and educate them.

Community Wellness Circles are intimate single gender or co-ed groups designed to create a safe space for adult self-discovery and personal healing (or wellness). Circles are led by certified ANWF facilitators to coach participants through a space of peace and unity to be better able to provide sustained support for our children.

The first and most important mentors to a child are familial adults. Detroit CARES offers parental engagement activities to support the parent, grandparents, and other meaningful adults involved with children.


Wellness Mentoring Circles

The Wellness Mentoring Circles model utilizes group mentoring guided by a culturally anchored, healing-centered curriculum. The curriculum focuses on ten essential pillars — mentoring, heritage, spirituality, stress, wellness, relationship, media watch, creativity, prosperity and community — to equip youth with the tools to transcend their current and future challenges.

Wellness Mentoring Circles are ultimately designed to help middle and high schoolers identify stressors and learn coping strategies. The circles create safe spaces where youth learn critical social and emotional skills, share triumphs and tribulations, are heard and acknowledged and receive support from peers and caring adults.

Wellness Mentoring Circles facilitators are licensed clinicians trained in the CARES A New Way Forward: Healing What’s Hurting Black America principles and practices. The goal is to create wellness in body, mind and spirit.

The Rising

An innovative, curriculum-based group-mentoring initiative, The Rising advances students in under-resourced families and high schools, instilling the determination and critical-thinking skills needed to avoid painful, predictable futures. The Rising’s highly interactive curriculum is culturally anchored and consciousness shifting. Typically, students meet weekly during the school day in intimate single-gender and joint gender Wellness Mentoring Circles, and in larger themed assemblies.


(Students Teaching About Relationships and Success)

STARS is a classroom-based, peer-to-peer mentoring program. It involves 11th and 12th graders mentoring 9th and 10th graders with support from adult mentors. Students find their power, which contributes to social determinants of good mental health, and increases their engagement with their schools and communities. The cornerstone of STARS is MentorLife®, which means to always invest in someone and always have someone investing in you.

Elevating Student Voices Conference

Detroit CARES, in collaboration with local and regional organizations, schools, and foundations, played a pivotal role in facilitating the inaugural Elevating Student Voices Conference. Funded by a generous grant from the Kresge Foundation, the event was held on May 16, 2023, at the Damon Keith Center at Wayne State Law School.

The conference, designed by students from Bentley Community Schools’ “We the People” class, aimed to assist students in refining their skills as responsible citizens and developing social skills that may have been impacted by the challenges posed by COVID-19. Students participated in a variety of democratic processes and structures, engaging in discussions on topics they deemed important. They also shared their experiences with COVID-19 and the transition back to in-person learning, conversed about contentious issues, and deliberated on how to enhance education for themselves and future generations.

The event was made possible through the support and partnership of organizations such as the Center for the Study of Citizenship, the Levin Center for Democracy and Oversight, and the Damon Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University.

The 2024 Elevating Student Voices Conference is scheduled May 13.


Detroit CARES received a planning grant through the generosity of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to study the mentoring needs of children in Detroit. The study resulted in a report entitled: Strategic Plan to Identify the Needs of Kindergarten to 3rd Grade Children.

The report focused on:

  • Clear identification of the mentoring needs of the target population
  • Development of effective and sustainable mentoring opportunities to address the shortcomings and gaps in the existing support and service
  • Establishment of Detroit CARES as one successful and sustaining solution to what’s hurting Black America

Impact K3 Mentoring and Literacy Program

The Detroit CARES Impact K3 Mentoring and Literacy Program pairs reading mentors with elementary school students, who require adult one-on-one attention to better develop reading and writing skills. Our goal is to expand children’s opportunities for greater scholastic achievement, increased self-confidence, a desire for higher education and ultimately greater job opportunities, later in life.

This program is for students who struggle with reading due to lack of interest, practice and student’s whose family members may not practice one-on-one reading or help with homework.

The Detroit CARES Impact K3 Mentoring and Literacy Program’s primary goal for struggling readers is an opportunity for regular one-on-one encouragement, instruction and reading practice with an adult mentor, outside of the classroom. The benefits of participation include consistent and positive emotional reinforcement from a caring adult, improved listening and vocabulary skills, greater enthusiasm and interest in books, reading and learning.

The benefit of participation for our mentors is the satisfaction of knowing that their efforts have a positive and uplifting effect on a child’s education and future. Also, that they’ve made a great impact by giving back through serving our most vulnerable citizens, creating a link between our schools and the community at large.