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Making the Future: A Brightmoor Maker Space Project

This summer, the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan and Detroit Community Schools (DCS) collaborated to present two sessions of Making The Future, a free six-week summer camp experience for approximately 35 middle and 13 high school students from Developing K.I.D.S., an after school community program serving families in Detroit's Brightmoor and Cody Rouge neighborhoods.

A Brightmoor Maker Space at Detroit Community Schools project, Making the Future celebrates and teaches the art of designing and building while nurturing creativity and fostering STEAM skills. Making the Future campers undertook a number of hands-on projects this summer, focusing on woodworking, gardening, bike maintenance and repair, t-shirt design and printing, papermaking, and circuitry. They also learned about water purification engineering, water instability in Detroit and climate change.


Making the Future is supported by Cognizant with administrative support from Vanguard Charitable (VC). The project is also supported by the Youth Development Initiative through funding from The Skillman Foundation to increase delivery of quality services to youth in the Brightmoor/Cody Rouge neighborhoods. This initiative is a component of The Skillman Foundation's Youth Development Alliance.

One of the most unique aspects of Making the Future is the mentorship that the campers receive from Brightmoor Makers, a group of Detroit Community High School students and neighborhood residents. Supported in part by the Grow Detroit Young Talent initiative, the Brightmoor Makers work year-round with their program director Bart Eddy on Brightmoor Maker Space initiatives. Currently, the Brightmoor Makers are working on a second prototype of the Water Trike, a refurbished industrial tricycle adapted to transport water filters that make potable water from rain collected in rooftop barrels at neighborhood homes. This is a transformative project for a community like Brightmoor, where many residents have experienced water shut-offs.


"Making the Future campers are learning and practicing hard skills, but they're also seeing social entrepreneurship in action," said Eddy.

“The future is a place where communities will come together to tackle challenges - and climate change, access to clean water, will be a big part of that.”

Eddy hopes that this summer's Making the Future campers will stay connected to maker activities for a long time to come. "This camp is a small example of what the future of the Brightmoor Maker Space looks like. Having a dedicated space of our own will allow us to expand our reach beyond the student population, providing programming for the entire community including adults, younger children, and community groups." The Brightmoor Maker Space is scheduled to open a stand-alone brick-and-mortar space on the DCS campus in September 2016.

"Professor Nick Tobier at the Stamps School of Art & Design has created a profound opportunity for Brightmoor and Cody Rouge students to interface with university students from U-M," Eddy continued. "Through Nick's Change By Design class, Stamps students are able to share their skills with Brightmoor Maker students - a number of Making the Future activities originated through that transfer of knowledge."

Making the Future camp is a fantastic example of how the Brightmoor Maker Space is activating the classic cycle of apprenticeship to journeyman to master to entrepreneur. But in addition to this tried-and-true model of employability training, students and campers at Brightmoor Maker Space create true social change, transforming their communities and making the future a better place.