Civic Leadership Award Honoree 2012

Justin Cessante


Justin Cessante is a former 1999 graduate of Detroit Catholic Central and football captain of back to back State Championship teams, Justin is going into his 9th year of coaching defensive backs and wide receivers on the Varsity Football staff. In 2009 he assisted in coaching Catholic Central to a Division 1 State Championship becoming the first Alum in CC history to play and coach for a State Championship team. Justin attended Grand Valley State University on a football scholarship and was a starter on the 2002 National Championship Football Team. In 2004 he graduated with a B.S. in Communications in which he wrote his Senior thesis on HYPE Athletics Community.

Justin is currently the Director of Community Relations at HYPE (Helping Youth Progress & Excel) Athletics Community and has been part of the organization since 2001. HYPE is a non-profit founded in 2001 with the mission to provide diverse, drug free and violent free programs to the youth of Metro Detroit. HYPE has serviced over 70,000 youth in the past 11 years through athletics and free social services including tutoring, mentoring, substance abuse prevention, anger management, life skills, health awareness and community service. HYPE recently celebrated the Grand Opening of the HYPE Recreation Center located in Dearborn Heights, MI. Justin also serves HYPE as a coach, camp director, and mentor. He has been instrumental in expanding HYPE’s programs to 16 cities in Metro Detroit along with fundraising for the organization and generating sponsorships for community service initiatives. From 2011 – 2012 Justin was influential in organizing and directing HYPE’s involvement in the HYPE Detroit Lions Turkey Giveaway (feeding 500 families), V.O.A. Adopting Families Event (CC Toy Drive), The Diehard Wheelchair Basketball Tournament (volunteers), Worldwide Day of Play, Special All – Star Kids Day (servicing children with disabilities), Lomas Brown Football Camps, The Celebrity Wheelchair Basketball Game (RIM fundraiser) and The HYPE Athletics Community Day.

Justin is a board member for the DMC/RIM Celebrity Wheelchair Basketball Game, Community Living Services and the Catholic Central Sports Hall of Fame committee. He has had an influential role in strategically partnering with community organizations, non-profits, school districts, recreation centers and corporations in order to provide resources and quality programs to the families of Metro Detroit.

Justin is a strong supporter of the Parkisan’s Walk, Breast Cancer Awareness and the Athlete’s Disability Network. In 2013 he will be starting an LLC called Built2Change which will focus on helping individuals and companies start foundations in order to give back to their communities. Justin is extremely proud to be a Detroiter and will continue focus on positively impacting the City of Detroit.

"The Twilight Benefit Foundation represents a great cause. My family and I were honored to be apart of this special event. It was a humbling experience receiving an award for my efforts in the community. I accepted this award on behalf of HYPE Athletics Community and the dedicated staff we have in the organization. I am a proud Detroiter and will continue to strive to be the change we all want to see in our city. Continue to Believe in Detroit and continue to Believe In Helping Youth Progress & Excel."

-Justin Cessante



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