Bilal Amen is the co-founder of HYPE Athletics Community, which supports the positive development of Wayne County youth through athletics.
When I was younger, my goal was to be a millionaire by the time I was 30. I wanted to be retired by the time I was 32. That was my goal. I was working odd jobs, crazy hours just so I could collect a paycheck. I got to a point at which I asked myself, “what am I doing?”
What I do now, I don't do it because the pay is great. I do it because I love it. I've had other offers, other jobs that would pay me double or triple what I make right now. I've turned them down because I get to work with kids every day. I get to watch them grow up—watch them turn from kids to men. I can literally say I’m helping build my community.
These aren’t just kids from Dearborn. They are from Detroit, Taylor, Wayne, from all over. Our whole goal was to bring kids together through sports, to get them to make new friends besides the ones that they see daily. Our kids are walking into tournaments that they don’t belong in and beating some of the top teams because they came together as a family. They worked as a team. But we’re not looking to build crazy champions, we’re looking to build role models for the community.
Many people say that in this young generation there are a lot of kids who have attitudes. Me? I see it differently. I see a generation that wants to make change.