A group graduating from the Building Communities building leaders cirriculum

The. 2023 graduating group of the Building Leaders, Building Communities along with Facilitator Alex, President and CEO Sean de Four and Excutive Director of Southwest Economic Solutions Hector. (Left to Right: Reyna, Samira, Claudia, Amaury, Sean de Four, Alex, Diana, and Hector)

Teaching the Next Community Leaders

In April 2023, six women in Southwest Detroit got together to make a difference. The Building Leaders, Building Communities program, funded by Neighborworks America, gave them the opportunity to learn about community leadership. 


Each week for ten weeks, the group learned about a new topic dealing with community leadership. Everything from their leadership styles, to community organizing, to data collection and communication were covered.  


On June 6th, the group celebrated their graduation together. President and CEO of Southwest Solutions, Sean de Four, joined the celebration. 


Without the support of the community, the work that Southwest Solutions does would not be possible. 


“We can’t get anything done without the support of the neighbors,” says Sean. 


And the support of the neighbors is an understatement for what these women have accomplished already. The same sentiment was shared by the whole group, that they needed to learn the needs of their community. 


Having gained this knowledge, they are prepared to go out and make a difference. “We can make the change; someone has to,” says Diana, a Newberry Homeowner and graduate. 


For some, Building Leaders, Building Communities was not just about understanding the community, but also understanding the country. Samira has recently come to America and felt that this class helped her to understand the country as well as her community. 


Claudia and Diana holding their certification of completion of the Building Leaders, Building Communities program
Claudia and Diana holding their Certification of Completion of the program

Co-Facilitators, Diana and Claudia, made sure that there was no language barrier to entry for this course. Translation was always provided to make sure that everyone was on the same page, and no one was left behind.  


That is a perfect example of their passion for changing lives. They do not want anyone in their community to be left behind either.  


Amaury works in the local school, and she sees the gaps in service that the children are facing every day. “I feel disappointed, we have failed the kids.” 


This feeling is fueling the fire beneath this group, and they have big plans for the future. Keep your eyes out for a community garden, come join them at the newly opened Yaker Park, and watch out for a recreation center. They have a vision, and they will work every single day until it becomes a reality.  


Without this course, they would not be where they are today. They formed a tight-knit bond and learned something new every week.  

Francheska says, “I am thankful for each and every one of you and for the knowledge I’ve gained here.”  


These women have been given the tools they need to change their world. Stay tuned because they are going to blow us all away. 


Confidently, Diana says, “we will make the change for [our children]…starting here.” 



Building Leaders, Building Communities