buildOn Detroit

Detroit Youth Empowered by Service

Through our Service Learning Programs, students in some of the most under-resourced high schools in Detroit are empowered to take on the most pressing issues in their communities through direct action. By helping seniors, the unhoused, and younger kids, buildOn Detroit students learn to lead by first learning how to serve.

About buildOn Detroit

For nearly 20 years, buildOn has been embedded in the fabric of Detroit. buildOn has an unrelenting commitment to Detroit students. We are rising to the challenge to continue our important work by engaging students in free service learning programming in five Detroit high schools – Osborn, Cody, Western International, Renaissance, and East English Village.

Our Impact in Detroit


Detroit students currently engaged


services hours contributed by Detroit students to date


of buildOn students graduate high school


of buildOn students go on to college

Our Service Methodology

Service is at the core of our mission. Students in buildOn’s programs contribute meaningful service to their communities on a weekly basis—helping the unhoused, senior citizens, and younger children in need.

Direct Service
From serving meals in soup kitchens, to tutoring elementary school students, and spending quality time with senior citizens, buildOn’s Service Learning Programs connect students directly to their community members who are most in need. Seventy-five percent of all buildOn service activities are dedicated to direct, people-to-people service.


Meet Former buildOn Detroit Students

Because of what buildOn sowed in me, I’ll never give up on my city. buildOn got me involved in a lifelong mission – make an impact on Detroit.

Before becoming an Associate Case Researcher at Harvard Business School – where he helps develop curricula for Harvard MBA students – Mel Martin was once a buildOn student at Cass Tech in Detroit. Whether it was playing chess with veterans or volunteering with children and women recovering from domestic abuse, Mel looks back on these years of service as being pivotal to who he is today.

Read More

Join us at a buildOn Detroit event

Connect with other leaders in Detroit to learn, celebrate, and support buildOn’s mission.

Attend an Event

Have questions?

Please contact Kapria Jenkins at for additional information about buildOn Detroit.