Article by Sarah Craft, photos provided by Leon El-Alamin
Eight years ago, formerly incarcerated Flint citizens started getting better access to housing, education, and employment opportunities, thanks to the leadership of Leon El-Alamin, founder of The M.A.D.E. Institute.
Today, Leon’s work has already touched the lives of more than 1,000 formerly incarcerated residents and their families with wellness support, access to employment, transitional housing, and more. His team has rehabbed eight homes to serve as temporary housing for returning citizens and they’re rehabbing five more that should be ready for residents by the summer. Leon was formerly incarcerated so he knows first-hand how important it is for residents to be welcomed back to the community with open arms. Leon and his team are making Black history every day.
Leon is one of MFF’s three 2022 Community Trailblazer Awardees and, like so many this month, he’s remembering all of the Black leaders before him who have shaped America. “Black History Month means so much to me,” Leon said. “28 days is not enough to celebrate the achievements of Black people in this country.”
Despite being proud of Black accomplishments, he said there’s still so much work to be done to truly advance racial equity, especially in Flint. Besides providing services to at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated residents, The M.A.D.E. Institute is also building a social enterprise and commercial property to support environmental justice efforts, enhance education, and spark entrepreneurship across Black communities.
“Our neighborhoods have been attacked with the war on drugs, police brutality, the Flint water crisis, and so much more,” Leon said. “We are providing wrap-around services to individuals and the entire community of Flint to bring our people further. We are building self sufficiency, unity, and collaborative economics to build back this community.”
Visit MADEInstitute.org to learn more about Leon and his organization. Click here to make a donation.