Semester in Detroit’s newest Community Partner, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Detroit (BHGH), takes a holistic approach to supporting underprivileged teens academically, emotionally, spiritually and financially” in residential and after school outreach programs. 

Since 1985, the Detroit chapter of BHGH has operated 2 homes in historic neighborhoods of Northwest Detroit, where roughly 20 scholars live during the week while attending local catholic schools—free of cost. The organization aims to help scholars graduate from college.

“Boys Hope Girls Hope, the residential model, means for five or six days a week when they’re living in the hope house, a scholar will have every resource they need to succeed,” said Detroit chapter Executive Director. “It’s not a foster care model, but a collaboration with the parents, working together for the kids’ success.” 

The program’s intensive approach allows it to support nearly 20 boys and girls, ages 10 to 18 years old, as they attend catholic college prep school in the city. The overall mission to lift students out of poverty through education allowed BHGH to expand its outreach across the city. 

Academic Coordinator Chioke Borgelt-Mose says BHGH created a community base after school program serving students at Detroit Cristo Rey High School in 2008. The initiative was the organization’s first outreach program that offered academic and emotional support to Detroit students, who were not in the Hope residential program. 

Detroit Cristo Rey High School students enrolled as scholars in the BHGH Hope Prep Program receive more than homework help and test preparation. As “Hope Prep Scholars”, they also design and complete a lesson.

Semester in Detroit Winter 2014 student Katey Carey interns with BHGH as the Hope Prep program coordinator. She mentors Detroit Cristo Rey high school students several days a week. Carey says she’s learned at lot while helping the scholars explore their interests. 

“I like that I actually get to work with the kids and doing the lesson is really cool because I think it will be really beneficial for the scholars to learn about their community,” said Carey.

Borgelt-Mose says the idea to create a lesson around Southwest Detroit identity came from the Cristo Rey scholars. 

“We’ve heard students say, ‘why don’t we ever learn about the Latino history in my neighborhood?’” said Borgelt-Mose. 

Carey and Borgelt-Mose say organizing a lesson around a community tour, or an interview with longtime-residents like Elena Herrada, would give students a sense of pride for their hometown and its history. They plan to connect with University of Michigan School of Social Work’s Boulevard House in Southwest, in order to meet the local artists and historians of the developing el Museo del Norte Mesoamerican museum.

In some ways, Boys Hope Girls Hope’s Hope Prep outreach lesson and the residential program have helped scholars think about what “home” means to them. Hope Prep students learn the history of their hometown and heritage, and the residential scholars gain a kind of “second home” during the school week.

“When the scholars are living together, studying together, sharing meals at the big dining room table together, they really get to feel like a family. With all our scholars, even the Hope Prep of Detroit Cristo Rey program, we keep those relationships when students move on to college and beyond. Sending emails, phone calls, just checking in,” says Borgelt-Mose.

In the living room of the residential Boys’ Hope House in Northwest Detroit hangs one scholar’s painting. A tree stretches its branches across a night sky and toward a yellow sun. Below, the artist says: “There’s No Place Like HOPE.” 

Is your community organization or local business interested in supervising a Semester in Detroit intern this spring (May-June)? Consider applying for our Community Partner program! The deadline is Friday March 14th, 2014. Please contact Cassie Basler at for further information.