(CBS DETROIT) - A nonprofit in Detroit with the goal of uplifting kids is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the grand opening of its newest location.
At The Yunion, the goal is to empower and give kids the tools to succeed in life. It's an organization that now has the opportunity to reach even more families with its new facility.
"It's a blessing to be able to be a source of healing for a community," said Jason Wilson, Founder/CEO of The Yunion and Director of The Cave of Adullam.
In 2003, Wilson opened the organization that was once a record label in Detroit. Now, it's a nonprofit that's changed more than 17,000 lives.
"Our goal was to use hip-hop as a tool to help kids come out of situations of trauma even in the juvenile systems, and so it was very successful, but when we discovered that once the music stopped, they still had those problems, that's when we went after a 501c3 and from there we became a youth-serving nonprofit organization empowering youth and families in metro Detroit," Wilson said.
The organization offers programs like "Keys 2 Life," which teaches kids how to apply the principles of music to every day.
"We also have workforce development where we teach them dining etiquette, job skills training. And also, we teach them public speaking skills," said Wilson.
The Yunion is also known for its initiative "The Cave of Adullam," a transformational training academy specifically for boys.
"Helping kids process and release so much trauma, emotional pain, regrets, disappointments that they hold that prevent them from really living in the present," said Wilson.
Gabriel Davenport joined the program when he was just a young teen.
"I was really rebellious as a kid and had a lot of anger. And then I was at church one day and was trying to talk to one of the pastors and really get some understanding, and he sent me to Jason, so that's how we're here today," said Davenport.
Now age 21, Davenport says "The Cave of Adullam" made a significant impact on the man he's become.
"For me, it's really been a humbling experience. Me just being able to learn how to control my emotions. I grew up without my dad, so I have a lot of trauma, a lot of anger, a lot of rebellion, so it really was about learning how to control all of that, learning to look within. I feel like if you take everything you've applied here and you take it to the real world, you will be a successful person," Davenport said.
With the opening of its newest facility off Oakman Boulevard in Detroit, Wilson says it will allow the organization to expand its programs and reach even more kids.
"You can give a child the tool, but if you don't help them heal from what they've experienced, they may continue to swing the hammer incorrectly," said Wilson.
The Yunion is overall a center of support and encouragement.
"There is a place where we understand. There is a place where you can come, you'll feel loved, you'll be heard," Wilson stated.
Wilson says he owes the purchase of The Yunion's newest location to the generous donations of the community.
To celebrate twenty successful years, the nonprofit is holding a gala on Oct. 5 at One Campus Martius.
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