We love to take the opportunity to spotlight those community partners who help us do what we do!


Katharine Shao, decided she wanted to make books more readily available to children and teens. She was inspired by the Global Youth Leadership after hearing a speech by a philanthropist encouraging people to help others. A strong believer that books are the way to change the future, the 16 year old Detroit Country Day School student embarked on a book drive this past summer. The project turned into a huge undertaking, must larger than the ambitious student imagined. She decided to partner with a non-profit organization to help with the distribution of the books.

Katharine researched numerous non-profit organizations and was drawn to Detroit Impact because pf their long history of helping others and the work they are doing in the community. She contacted the Executive Director, Calvin Colbert who took Katharine under his wing to assist with her book drive endeavors. Reading is one of the key initiatives of Detroit Impact, the organization has hosted multiple reading programs for youth throughout the years. Katharine began delivering books to Detroit Impact for distribution to the community at large and other organizations.

To date, Detroit Impact has received over 12,000 books as a result of Katharine’s book drive. The creative teen partnered with local libraries to receive donated books. She even has a donation box located at the Plymouth Library from where she has received a multitude of books. She has also received support from her neighbors and the community at large. Katharine plans to continue the book drive until she graduates in 2018. Her goal is to secure 30,000 books by the end of 2017. At the rate she is going, there is no doubt she will more than exceed her goal.

Katharine enjoys dancing, playing the piano, and art. However, her passion is to help change the future and give children a positive outlook on life. Her future plans include attending college to study engineering and, of course, helping more people. Katharine wants to be a good role model and inspire others to help out with her philanthropic activities. Most of all, she wants to make an impact on the world!

Please contact Detroit Impact about book donations and shelves to hold the books.


Video Production Course at Detroit Impact

"Positive Impact!"
By Donald Barnes
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Posted by: The Michigan Citizen Posted date: October 24, 2013

DETROIT - Calvin Colbert has been working with Detroit youth for 23 years.

In 1991, he founded Detroit Impact, a youth leadership program designed for young people ages 6-17. The program, which began as an outreach through the Compassionate Ministry of the Church of Nazareth, has classes that range from video game design to improving fundamental school skills.

“One of the programs is our media arts program, we instruct the young people on the behind the scenes work of video production,” Colbert, executive director of Detroit Impact, told the Michigan Citizen. “They learn to work the lighting, audio and cameras. It gives them the skill sets they can use to further themselves in that industry.” Other programs include mentoring.

On Oct. 18, Colbert held a special meeting for Detroit Impact mentees, who participated last month in the 2013 Steve Harvey Mentoring Program, to reflect on their experiences.Detroit Impact sponsored 20 of 100 young men who participated in the three-day weekend program.

Colbert, who matriculated through Detroit Public Schools, graduating from Pershing High School, knows first hand the challenges many teen males face.

He said the day of reflection was necessary. “It gives the young men the opportunity to share what they’ve learned so far before moving forward,” he said. “We know it was a fast-paced weekend; a lot of things went on, but we want to know what actually impacted them that they are applying to their lives today.”

Although the boys weren’t available for direct comment during the special session, one teen shared his experience since attending the weekend program during group discussion.

He described recent exchanges between him and his absentee father as a “healing.” The Detroit Impact mentee said the conversations  he and his father had over that weekend encouraged him to heal and forgive his father.

One parent shared an observation of her son’s change since that weekend.

Kasundra Clanton, parent of Desmond Clanton, said she’s seen an improvement in her son.

“When I call or ask him to do something he responds a bit quicker, he talks to me more and that’s good because getting him to speak to me about certain things was always very hard,” Clanton said. “Certain things they were teaching them such as opening the doors and pumping the gas, he does with no problem now. His overall attitude has changed, it hasn’t been a great difference but it has some change.”

Clanton says her son wasn’t involved with Detroit Impact before the Steve Harvey Mentoring program, but she looks for Detroit Impact to be the next step in her child’s life.

“Going from Steve Harvey over to Detroit Impact, I’m hoping and expecting for more changes to come,” Clanton said. “We have no good male figures in the family, so somebody that can give him some positive outlook would be great to gain.”

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