The Delta Project
The Delta Project
“How do I become something I don’t see?”
From this simple question, The Delta Project was born.
The Delta Project exists to break the generational cycle of incarceration by reconnecting youth of color and their families to community relationships through mentorship, coaching and storytelling.
Cole's life work is to provide mentorship and guidance to incarcerated fathers and restore relationships between boys and men of color. He has experienced and seen a lot in his life, but still, this question caught him slightly off guard.
It was the right question to ask, at the absolute right time. It required reflection, and ultimately action. Cole met with Joel Van Kuiken in late summer 2017 looking for guidance on how to deconstruct the question's meaning and context, and most importantly, how to act. Shortly after they met, Joel reached out to Eric Johnson, a trusted creative collaborator from Gorilla Productions, and posed the question to him.
A year and a half later that question became a north star for the launch of The Delta Project. At its core, it's a focused effort to help young men in the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center become something they don't see.
Pre-covid, The Delta Project team developed a video storytelling process that uses a two-way mirrored camera device that lets two people look into each other's eyes and carry on a conversation. The result is a fascinating split-screen video dialogue that allows the viewer to almost join the conversation. But here's what's great about it. Young men in juvenile detention are taught video production skills, and one of them is trained to conduct an interview with a leader from the community who they wouldn't have the opportunity to see.
In 2021, The Delta Project is working to expand our impact within the West Michigan community through direct support of young men who have returned from residential treatment programs through a variety of focused programs designed to meet the young men's needs.