The Manhood Project

My name is Phil Black, and I am here to make a difference.
On the night of September 27th, 1997, I was shot in the face at point-blank range. It happened while I was attending an off-campus party with a number of my teammates after our Homecoming Football game at Wayne State University. I got into an argument that quickly turned into a four-on-one survival challenge. Instead of realizing my obvious disadvantage, or even the fact that the argument should have never happened, I became the aggressor in a vain attempt to protect what I perceived as my "manhood".

Much of that night is still a blur. But what became crystal clear, in that moment, is that my "attitude and actions have consequences". Though I may have heard those words prior to that night, it wasn't until I saw how my near-death experience impacted those I love, that I decided to make a change. I became more aware of how I communicated with and toward others. I learned to respond, rather than react, when faced with adverse situations. Over the years, I have developed in a number of ways. And, while I am proud of my personal growth, nothing brings me more joy and fulfillment than the work I do with youth.

In January of 2012, I started my own mentoring and leadership development program called "The Manhood Projectâ„¢". I began with 20 inner city boys, ages 10-13, in need of direction. With the support of many community members and leaders, we were able to make an incredible impact in their lives. Nearly 70% of their teachers reported significant improvements in participants' behavior. We now service nearly 60 young men throughout the Metro Detroit area, and are hoping to impact even more that are in need. Our mission is to reduce their at-risk behaviors, increase their school and community engagement, and inspire them to succeed. Most of the funding comes directly out of my own pocket. Weekly program costs come from providing healthy snacks & meals, workshop supplies, printing, transportation, and other expenses. I would also like to purchase t-shirts (like those featured in the profile) and other motivational awards for each participant. Any donation would allow me to continue helping these young men, and would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in learning more about our program, please visit our site Your donation will be a blessing to many. Thank you, and God bless.

How I started
My passion for this work is rooted in my experience of growing up without a father and in life lessons learned through personal adversity. I was raised primarily by my mother, with the help of other relatives. However, most of my development can be attributed to outside influences and the education that comes from personal hardship. I know what it is like to go through life with more questions than people willing, and available, to answer them. If it were not for the individuals sent to impart wisdom (e.g. coaches, fraternity brothers and friends), I don't know where my life would be. In 2009, I wrote and published "From Me to You" a memoir. It is a collection of letters to those that have impacted my life. That, and TMP, is how I show my gratitude.


Phil Black
Redford, MI

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