FLINT, Mich. — The Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village (SBEV) has been awarded $25,000 from the foundation of athletic shoe retailer Finish Line, The Finish Line Youth Foundation (FLYF) and their Louder Than Words Grant Program.
The grant will add to SBEV fundraising efforts for the $12M project to revitalize the youth sports landscape of the city of Flint’s north end.
About Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village
Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village occupies the former George M. Dewey Elementary School, established in September 1921. The building, soon entering its tenth decade, has seen several changes in ownership over the years. After it ceased operating as a school in 1991, it was purchased by Jobs Central, Inc. (later renamed Career Alliance, Inc.), which specialized in career readiness and job training. The building was renamed the Sylvester Broome Jr. Training and Technology Center (or the Sylvester Broome Center, as it is more popularly known in the Flint community), and opened in 1995. Under Career Alliance, the Broome Center eventually reached 93% occupancy before closing in 2012, in spite of much community effort to spare the programs and keep the building open.
The Broome Center then sat empty for approximately three years before being purchased in 2015 by two business owners wishing to invest in north Flint, an area known for its high crime that had seen little redevelopment in at least a decade. SBEV has 62,000 square feet of space wholly devoted to the developmental needs of north Flint’s youth population who have been deemed “at-risk.” Eventually, the SBEV mission is to reach all youth in the city of Flint. The space is dedicated for learning, developing, leading and investing in children and youth through employment, community health and community engagement.
At SBEV they firmly believe that if we empower and provide the resources to youth, they will be the catalyst to drive change in the community. SBEV plans to provide youth a safe harbor and an alternative to gangs, drugs and violence. Our building is nearing 100 years old, and it was redeveloped in 1964 and again in 1995, the latter renovations generously funded by a $4 million grant given by the C.S. Mott Foundation. At that time, the building underwent extensive renovations.