Watch the video above to see Matrix Human Services on the news!


On Sunday, December 15th, 2019, ABC Channel 7 News in Detroit talked to Matrix Human Services President & CEO, Brad Coulter, and Kerrie Mitchell, VP of Marketing and Development to discuss the various programs Matrix offers the community. The conversation covered some of Matrix’s history starting back in 1906 with The League of Catholic Women who operated a settlement house and safe space for new immigrant women coming to Detroit, and how it evolved to what it is today, revitalizing neighborhoods throughout Detroit. Read the conversation below or watch the video.


“And welcome back to Spotlight, joining me now is Brad Coulter and Kerrie Mitchell of Matrix Human Services. Welcome to Spotlight.” – Chuck Stokes


“Thanks for having us.” – Brad Coulter and Kerrie Mitchell. 


“As we kind of make this transition from talking about business and growing business in Michigan to what happens 365 days a year, and you often times don’t hear about the things that the two of you are really involved in, and that’s making sure our neighborhoods and our communities continue to grow and continue to provide the services that are so sorely needed that make us a good city and good society, correct?” – Chuck Stokes


“Well and that’s really where we operate. We’re both proud to be with an organization that since 1906, has been working at the grass roots level in Detroit. So we..” – Brad Coulter


“That’s a long time. 113 years.” – Chuck Stokes


“Yea it’s a long time.” – Brad Coulter


“It’s called Matrix Human Services now, but it way back when was called what?” – Chuck Stokes


“The League of Catholic Women. So we were originally founded by father Wynoman as a settlement house for immigrant women coming to the country and evolved from there. We’ve always been involved with children, with teens, and adults and that’s still where we operate.” – Brad Coulter


“The name change came in the 80’s?” – Chuck Stokes


“In the 80’s.” – Brad Coulter


“It made it a little more…” – Chuck Stokes


“Kinda non-denominational, yea. So that change happened then. But we operate in about 50 locations around the city. We have programs that really impact people’s lives and we estimate we touch about 20,000 people per year.” – Brad Coulter


“And I hear the 18th largest non-profit in Michigan?” – Chuck Stokes


 “Yea. We are one of the largest non-profits in the city of Detroit and our focus is multi-generational, and diverse, and inclusive. So we try to make sure that we have a program that is going to allow anyone who wants to have a difference, or make a change in their lives, that we have the accessibility to be able to do so. So that’s why we work with children, we work with teens, we work with adults, we also work with seniors.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“Alright, lets kinda break it down a little bit. The largest amount of programs that I guess you have up under your wing are dealing with, what kind of, sort of, from cradle to, when it start with babies…” – Chuck Stokes


“Yea. We literally start with prenatal services. So we start with early childhood, and our largest program is Head Start, which is Birth-to-Five, which is early education. The key component of that program is that we do the multi-generational approach, so while we educate the child in the classroom, we have case workers that work with the families in general because we know we can’t work with one without the other. And so if you really talk about how to change or revitalize the city of Detroit, you have to make sure the community and the people that live in the community are best served and that’s one of the best ways we are able to do so.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“Yea, so you gotta give them a healthy start. I know that the state has put more money into Head Start. I think that came up under, towards the end of the Snyder Administration, he was pumping more money into that. I haven’t checked recently in terms of the current administration how much more is going into that. But why is it so important that they get that they get that start for whats coming down the line?” – Chuck Stokes


“Really, zero to five is when a child’s brain is developing, when that wiring is taking place, so its so important that they have a safe, nurturing environment, a stimulating environment that they can come to. So we do curriculum based preschool. It’s not daycare. So every day has a lesson plan, every day has an objective to help with that child’s development, but then working with the parents as well, so they understand and can get involved with their child’s education. For example promoting reading is huge because the more words a child hears, the more their brain develops and the better they are later on. It makes a huge difference.” – Brad Coulter


“So would it be safe to say that you’re, in addition to working with the children, that you’re educating the parents and in some cases, re-educating parents?” – Chuck Stokes


“Absolutely. We are re-educating how they could practice more at home with their child so that when they do come to school we work, actually the lesson plans are developed with the parent as well with the teacher, and so that’s one of the great things they are able to do, so they do work inside of the classroom and they take that work home to make sure any of the gains aren’t lost. But while we work with the child, the parent works with our case workers to ensure any type of goal that they may have, a lot of times when people come to us, they don’t know that they don’t know. And so its our job to make sure we instill in them new things they can actually attain. So it could be something as small as getting a job, it could be something, ya know, maybe getting a high school education. We provide those resources to that parent so we can stabilize that entire household.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“Yea. It all goes back to the home. Many of the news stories we do and we say, how in the world did that happen? Why did that happen in that particular school? Then, when you really start going through it, you realize that a lot of it is what the children have or have not been taught, and that manifests itself as they increase in age.” – Chuck Stokes


“And a lot of what we do especially with teens and adults is basic life skills. Ya know, conflict resolution at work, why its important to be on time for work, or show up at work on a daily basis. Financial planning, financial budgeting for people, helping them raise their credit score, establish a credit score. So just the basic soft skills that people need to succeed in the workplace is where we focus with the adults.” – Brad Coulter


“Alright, take a break, and when we come back I want you to bring me up to date on HIV positive. I understand that that’s growing and you got some programs specifically designed to deal with that. We’ll be right back, stay with us.” – Chuck Stokes


“Welcome back to Spotlight, talking to Brad Coulter and Kerrie Mitchell of Matrix Human Services. HIV, is that growing in Detroit?” – Chuck Stokes


“It is. It actually is growing.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“And are we talking about the City of Detroit or Metro area?” – Chuck Stokes


“It’s in the metro area, but its highly concentrated in Wayne County which is the City of Detroit. We see that it’s going up in the age group of 24 to 29.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“Why? – Chuck Stokes


“It’s because, ya know, that age group didn’t see the epidemic in the 80’s when it was critical and people were dying fastly, and so…” – Kerrie Mitchell


“Right, because many people would say that’s something we addressed quite a while ago but its coming back.” – Chuck Stokes


“It’s coming back, it’s just because people just aren’t aware what they can do to protect themselves, and so that’s what we do on the ground front. We work to prevent the spread of HIV and we also have an after care program called Ryan White that works with people who are diagnosed with HIV so they can still live healthy, long lives. But what we have to do is make sure the public knows, to just know their status, and that’s one of the most important things that we do in the community.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“So it’s easy to get tested and it’s easy to get treated?” – Chuck Stokes


“It is.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“Especially if you reach out to organizations like Matrix.” – Chuck Stokes


“Only thing they have to do is go to our website or give us a call,, and we’ll get you tested. And it’s anonymous and no one has to know. The most important thing is for people to know their status.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“Alright. We know that a lot’s goin’ on in downtown and mid-town, but the emphasis that I’m hearing from a lot of our leaders is on the neighborhoods, that we aren’t going to be a completely whole city again until we, do great things in the neighborhoods. And we know a lot is going on. The mayor has certainly talked about it. I know Anika Goss was here not too long ago and they were talking about how do you grow the middle class and move into all that. You guys are working hard in the neighborhoods too.” – Chuck Stokes 


“Yea, and the neighborhoods are really the backbone of any city’s revenue source because of property taxes and everything, so I mean, where we are working and providing social services and providing opportunities for people in the neighborhoods I think is the key to really stabilizing the city and helping bring back the city. You have to work at the neighborhood level to really make this succeed. ” – Brad Coulter


“And what is it that you’re hearing the neighborhoods need the most?” – Chuck Stokes


“Ya know, if we could, I always look at it as two different things. Poverty and working poverty is something that’s, two different, and Matrix works with people that are the working poverty. The people who have, ya know, who are one paycheck away from a crisis situation. Those who are making minimum wage but trying to support an entire family. Those are the people we work with day to day and when we see those people, we try to understand exactly the situation that they’re in at that current moment. And so that’s why with our adult services, we’re excited that, we provide one-on-one financial coaching, we provide them with credit scores, and last year, over two hundred people increased their credit scores and out of those two hundred people, seventy of them actually established credit for the first time. That’s huge in that particular demographic that we serve.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“Giving them that education.” – Chuck Stokes


“Exactly. It’s changing the concept of what they thought they could attain before. Or they could think of home ownership or something that wasn’t attainable to them before they actually came to Matrix, and so that’s one of the things we try to provide, making sure they understand, that they can live completely different than they currently live now.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“We talked about the little kids, what about the teenagers which are key, as well as the seniors. What do they need and what are you providing for them?” – Chuck Stokes


“So we have a large community center at McNichols and Gratiot and we do a number of sports activities out of there. We have a children’s choir that’s gonna start operating out of the center next year, as well as mentoring services in the schools, so we’re working with teens. There’s a lot of good kids out there that really just need activities so they can thrive and we provide a number of those activities both at our community center and in the schools. And with seniors, we do a number of home visits for seniors to help keep seniors in their house, to give them resources, and really even a friendly face to visit. So, we work actively with seniors who are in their home.” – Brad Coulter


“Brad and Kerrie, how taxing is this in terms of dollars and cents on Matrix, because we know that government is cutting back on a lot of things that they traditionally have been able to provide, and we know that more and more, people are coming to our non-profit organizations saying, ‘fill the gap’, but to fill the gap you need a lot of money… how stressful has that become?” – Chuck Stokes


“We do haha. We do. We do get funding from the federal government, partially funded, but we really lean on the community. Corporate support, foundation support, even in the visual support, you can imagine how much it takes for us to be able to get a person through an Online High School Diploma Program. That’s actually our program that has the largest need. We get the most calls for that program, but we don’t have enough to actually fill the demand that we have, so imagine what five-hundred dollars could do. That’s really changing the trajectory of someone in the city of Detroit. If they have their high school diploma, then they can get a livable wage job, and then they don’t have to, ya know, rely on public assistance and things of that nature. So when we think of that small investment, it definitely goes way further than anyone could imagine, and that’s why we kinda stress the need of individuals, corporations, foundations, really truly coming to us if they believe in what we do, I know we certainly do, but believing in what we do and to make sure we can help change the lives of the people we serve.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“Brad I’ll give you the last word. I know that, in addition to what Kerrie just said, you’re also seeking grants, trying to get government support, you’re trying to get individual support, and of course we are here in December, probably one of the most giving times of the year in which people are writing those last checks for the year.” – Chuck Stokes


“Well we have our annual appeal going on, but we have a number of events throughout the year where people can get involved, and the way I really look at it Chuck is, ya know, it does cost money to do the social services up front, but you got to look at the costs on the back end at our health care system and everything else. The social services work. It works. ” – Brad Coulter


“It’s our safety net.” – Chuck Stokes


“It’s our safety net so you’re either gonna pay for it up front or you’re gonna pay for it at the other end with healthcare, incarceration costs and everything else, and I believe we should be working on it up front, and that’s where the money goes.” – Brad Coulter


“Alright and once again the website where people can get more information?” – Chuck Stokes


“ if you wanna get involved with volunteering or giving, its all on our website.” – Kerrie Mitchell


“Kerrie Mitchell, Brad Coulter, thank you so much for coming in…” Chuck Stokes