This morning for Your Neighborhood we head to Detroit’s west side where we meet two Detroit police officers.
They patrol the streets by day, but in their free time they’re inside a local dance studio teaching kids dance, hoping to keep them off the streets.
At just 7 years old, little Azariah is learning the ins and outs of hip-hop dance. At Exhibit 8 Studios in Detroit, the free session is part of what’s offered from the new non profit Detroit Culture Company Inc.
“We are a free hip-hop dance program for the city of Detroit youth, but we also offer mentorship, career enrichment classes and black college tours for the Detroit high school students,” said founder India Washington.
Washington has taken dance lessons of all styles since she was 8 years old. Now she’s using what she’s learned and giving back to Detroit’s youth. She brought in someone she knows all too well to help.
“I’m always here to help her,” said Marcus Harris II. “I’m always here to you know, support and I love mentoring kids.”
Harris helps with the mentoring side of things for the non profit. He understands the need for an outlet like this for kids in Detroit. Not only are he and Washington both Detroit police officers by day, but they are partners, fighting crime together and working toward a solution.
“Occasionally we always find youth fighting and just doing things that might get them in trouble primarily near the boulevard on Grand River,” Washington explained. “We’ve encountered these kids so much, we build a relationship with them on a positive aspect. Instead of giving them tickets we get to know them more.”
"It's beneficial because it's bringing hip-hop to Detroit and kids love to dance you know?" said Harris.
“So I said why not get an activity that can primarily take them out of the streets,” Washington replied. “It will be good for them, for us and everybody in the city of Detroit.”
And while dance is at the core of what they do, the pandemic has forced them to pause the in studio lessons for a bit. But Detroit Culture Company Inc. is still hard at work cleaning up the city, educating the youth about Juneteenth and even hosting a socially distanced food giveaway train.
“Detroit Police have built a rapport with the citizens of Detroit that’s great,” said India. “We’re out there, we’re in the community, we’re helping.”
The program is just getting started. For more information on Detroit Culture Company and if you’d like to get involved, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/DCC313/
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