Detroit program boosting kids confidence one debate at a time

Making a difference in the classroom and beyond

13 year old A’Corey Nichols, and other Detroit students, are stepping outside their comfort zone. “I’m like kinda shy and stuff, but then when I’m like in a debate, like I just debated right now, I’ve been outgoing. I had a loud voice,” member of the Umoja Debate team, A’Corey Nichols told “Live in the D’s” April Morton.

This is one of the main objectives behind the Umoja Debate Team. “When I see those things, I mean, I smile from ear to ear because it’s working. It’s doing what it’s suppose to do. The impact that I intended to make is actually working out,” said Detroiter Jerjuan Howard, founder of the Umoja Debate Team.

Howard founded the organization shortly after graduating from Western Michigan University in 2020. He says taking a debate course in high school changed his life, and now he’s making it his life’s mission to expose Detroit students to the art of persuasion.

“In terms of conflict resolution skills, articulation of my thoughts, self-expression, all those different characteristics, I just want to give (that) to Detroit youth,” Howard said. The organization is not only working to make a difference in the classroom, they are branching out into the community as well.

For more on the Umoja Debate Team, and to watch the entire interview, click the video above.

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