DETROIT -

Former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is launching a mentoring program for young black men.

At a kick-off press conference Wednesday, Bing said the idea grew out of constantly hearing negative commentary about youths in the city and feeling not enough was being done to give youth what they needed to be successful.

“We have not forgotten you. We don’t want you to give up on your future and we are here to help you achieve your dreams,” Bing said.

The Bing Youth Institute is a collaboration between area business leaders, former professional athletes, Crime Stoppers of Michigan, Detroit Public Schools, public safety leaders and UAW-Ford.

“If our city is going to come back, it’s going to be about us,” Bing said. “I don’t think there’s anything more important than giving of ourselves to these young men.”
Bing said the programs will utilize mentors from all walks of life to help spread educational and job-related skills to youths.

Bing said he hopes to expand the program soon to include girls.

Bing entered Detroit politics in 2008 when he ran in the city's primary to finish the term of Kwame Kilpatrick. Bing won the primary and was subsequently sworn in as mayor in May 2009. He was re-elected to a full term the following year, but did not seek re-election in 2013.