From time to time Detroit Mercy’s Marcom team profiles students we think you should know.
Every week, Detroit Mercy student Baron Warren visits Northridge Academy in Flint, Mich., to meet with a group of male students. In the classroom, the students sit in a circle with Warren at the center.
During one session, he and the students pass around a basketball and share their dreams and goals and cheer each other on. A few weeks later, Warren, 36, brings in dress ties and walks his group of attentive listeners through how to tie a proper knot, a metaphor for preparing for a life of integrity.
“That’s what this tie represents,” he said to the students. “Every day we have to suit up for manhood… When you suit up, we’re being honest and we’re being responsible.”
This is all part of Warren’s Males 2 Men program, where he works with young men who may not have positive role models in their lives. He provides them with often-overlooked skills and life lessons. In the past, he’s also partnered with schools in Detroit and Pontiac, as well as Washtenaw County.
The Males 2 Men program is just one aspect of Warren’s business Cuts & Coaching. The entrepreneurial venture also includes speaking to incarcerated young adults throughout the United States and Europe, as well as one-on-one coaching. Since launching Cuts & Coaching, Warren has attended Detroit Mercy to pursue a master’s degree in substance abuse and addiction counseling.
“I have always wanted to increase my knowledge to help young men in a variety of areas,” Warren said. “Drug abuse is definitely a major issue with at-risk males. That being said, I chose Detroit Mercy because I believed they would equip me with the skills to be of extreme value. I am so happy I made the choice.
“I was immediately blown away by how knowledgeable the professors are. I have yet to have had a bad course. Each professor has been extremely knowledgeable, and I am truly enjoying the process.”
Raised in Detroit’s inner city, Warren saw at an early age how his strong role models shared with him life lessons that set him on a path of maturity and prosperity. At the same time, he witnessed his peers without mentors go down a different path.
A year after graduating from high school, he joined the United States Navy where he was assigned the job of barber on the aircraft carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln. While he quickly became a skilled barber, he harnessed even more valuable traits. During his eight years of service, he became more disciplined and learned the importance of a well-kept appearance. He also honed his ability to listen and impart useful advice.
Honorably discharged in 2012, Warren returned to southeast Michigan and took a job as a rehabilitation specialist at the Eisenhower Center in Ann Arbor. A few years later, he went to work for the Michigan Department of Corrections, first as a correctional officer at Cooper Street Correctional and later as a counselor for the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility.
Soon, other doors began to open.
“After working for several years with the Michigan Department of Corrections, I would oftentimes be asked to speak at corporate events, school graduations for inmates, leadership training, and conferences,” Warren said. “After each event, many in attendance would say that they’re inspired, so after many compliments, I figured it was time to take my message on the road.”
He launched Cut & Coaching in 2017. By September 2018, he took a leap of faith and launched Cuts & Coaching and threw himself into the business full-time with one mission at the center: help at-risk males become men and impart upon them the tools necessary to stay out of the prison system.
For now, he has enjoyed traveling the United States for speaking engagements but realized the importance of preparing for a more settled future. That’s what led him to pursue a degree in counseling, which affords him the option of opening his own private practice one day.
“I already had a bachelor’s degree in psychology,” Warren said, “but I started looking into it and University of Detroit Mercy had one of the best programs around and met with Dr. Nancy Calleja, the faculty chair, and I fell in love with the program the moment I met her.”
With an expected graduation date of summer 2022, Warren now feels prepared for his future, and he has already found his course work applicable to Cuts & Coaching.
“I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “But the number one thing I’ve learned in the counseling program is meeting people where they are. All of my professors have used that philosophy. Meet your clients on their level.”
Warren has applied this approach to speaking engagements and his Males 2 Men program. He has already noticed the positive impact it’s had on his clients, as well as himself.
“It’s really changed my mindset, my heart, and how I communicate with people as a whole,” he said. “I try to find out where my audience is at educationally, demographically, what issues are they facing, and meet them right there. I have the University to thank for that.”