McKenzie said he believes it’s pivotal to invest in a program like Alkebu-lan Village for the sake of the youth.
“For the last 43 years, [the organization] has used martial arts as a basis to teach self-respect, self-control, self-discipline, and ultimately self-defense,” he said. “But youth development is the nugget inside of all of that. When we’re talking about our young people, particularly in the communities that we work with, on the east side of Detroit, they need love, they need a lot of attention.
“We’re talking about young people who get a lot of destructive messages about who they are. A lot of destructive messages about what their choices and options are, and oftentimes, define their reality, by these messages. These overwhelming messages just because of the frequency of them, there’s so many of them compared to the messages that have a different tone. [Youth development] is just too important because school can only do so much and many of our young people, they need a lot of additional support outside of school. We can never have too many youth or youth development organizations who specialize in working with young people on pathways for the future.”