Photo: DLIVE founding team members: Calvin Evans, Dr. Tolulope Sonuyi and Ray Winans.

Taking Action

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Natalie Savale Special to the Jewish News

Teen board gives grant to Connect Detroit.

Shining the Light, Spotlight on Teen Mental Health. Mental health, mental illness. mental health awareness.

Hearing from young adults in Detroit who have experienced violence and trauma firsthand moved members of the Jewish Fund Teen Board to act.

The Teen Board awarded a $19,000 grant to Connect Detroit, a nonprofit organization that strives to address community problems by facilitating and mobilizing funding in support of collaborative community solutions. The funds are earmarked for Connect Detroit’s DLIVE program, a unique hospital-based violence intervention program providing social services and expanded trauma care for youths hospitalized because of violence in Detroit. 

The program is based out of Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit, which receives the greatest amount of penetrating trauma injuries in Detroit, and it is giving victims of violence hope at a time when they feel hopeless.

Tolulope Sonuyi, M.D., M.Sc., who founded DLIVE and works as its medical director on behalf of Connect Detroit, says hospital-based intensive intervention programs are an effective strategy for reducing re-injury and putting people on track for success.

Lilley Kroll
Lilley Kroll

“During our onsite visit of DLIVE, we heard many touching stories from young adults and learned about the positive impact this program has in shaping peoples’ lives,” said Lilley Kroll, Year 1 board member of the Jewish Fund Teen Board. “We are proud to fund DLIVE. The program mirrors our mission and is committed to making a significant difference to young people in the Detroit community. It truly made a lasting impression on us all.”

DLIVE will use the funds to pilot an economic hardship cohort of the DLIVE violence-intervention program that will address barriers to engagement with education and employment opportunities, namely transportation and mental health support. Initially, the project will provide coordinated and subsidized transportation, before transitioning to self-arranged transportation. Transportation support is a key component for achieving DLIVE’s economic hardship alleviation goals, and it teaches participants self-sufficiency by facilitation of gradual personal responsibility.

Recognizing that one’s mental health is vital not only to increasing the likelihood of successful education and employment engagement, but also to ensuring that one is able to exit the cycle of violence and trauma, DLIVE has integrated mental health services into its organizational structure to provide participants direct access to mental health professionals.

“We are grateful to the Jewish Fund Teen Board for its support of DLIVE,” said Dierk L. Hall, president and CEO of Connect Detroit. “This funding will allow DLIVE to further its work in Detroit and make a serious impact on the public health crisis of community violence.”

The Jewish Fund Teen Board is a collaborative philanthropy group providing Jewish teens from the Metro Detroit area the opportunity to learn about grantmaking and philanthropy.

The Jewish Fund Teen Board is proud to be a part of the Foundation Board Incubator, a project of the Jewish Teen Funders Network, which is generously funded by Laura Lauder and the Maimonides Fund.

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