This week, Detroit 2020 is showcasing athletes who give back to the community. Jalen Rose has turned to a successful broadcasting career after playing 13 years in the NBA.
Rose starred at Detroit Southwestern High School, and then at the University of Michigan. Now he’s taking on a unique challenge. He’s started an academy that’s all about leadership.
When Jalen Rose put the call out-and former Michigan basketball coach Steve Fisher responded. Rose’s high school coach at Detroit Southwestern Perry Watson came out as well.
The two coaches joined others for a day of golf to raise funds for the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy–a tuition-free charter high school, now in its second year in Northwest Detroit. “A lot of athletes, a lot of successful people will just, you know, count their blessings and move on and I’m just so proud,” Watson said.
Students are learning-in small classes and through plenty of one-on-one teaching and mentoring.
There have been challenges-including staff turnover-as well as curriculum changes for year two-but Rose is determined to make a difference.
“I’m just a vessel in the educational piece that’s trying to do what I can to help uplift the young men and young women in the city of Detroit,” Rose said. He’s in the building at least once a month and more often when he’s in town.
Rose is engaged with students and wants them to have a chance to succeed. There’s a focus on character and leadership.
“Jalen exemplifies what a true leader is all about and for him to be at the helm of this-I think those of us who know Jalen Rose, this does not surprise me at all,” Fisher said.
Foundations are supporting the school and its mission. Chrysler Jeep is a committed partner and individuals have also stepped up. Former Pistons great Isiah Thomas receives special praise from Rose for his financial support.
If the school is to succeed–and change lives in his hometown–more support is essential. How do we turn around our fortunes? It has to be through education,” Rose said.