Theory of Transformation™

Ujamaa Place Theory of Transformation™  program model utilizes individual transformation plans to provide holistic, one-one high context coaching that inspires personal growth through education, knowledge-building and access to over 37 transformation services based on need.  These services are provided at no charge to the men enrolled in the Theory of Transformation™ program.

Many of the men who come to Ujamaa Place seeking support do not have stable housing situations or are homeless. Through enrollment in the Theory of Transformation™, Ujamaa Men have access to the following educational programming related to housing: financial management education, financial literacy education, Rentwise curriculum, and tenant training.

Program housing is available in the form of Emergency Shelter, SRO units, independent units, and home ownership opportunities. Support services include assistance with furniture and other household items, bridging services, and moving assistance.

21% of the men who come to Ujamaa Place do not have a high school diploma or equivalent. All of the programs under the Theory of Transformation™ are critical to a Ujamaa Man’s personal success, but Ujamaa Place places added emphasis on the Education program, because participants must be educated in order to compete in today’s job market.

The Education program offers two tracks, GED and Higher Education, in order to meet each Ujamaa Man where they are in terms of the level of education attained at the time of enrollment. For those participants who have not received a high school diploma or equivalent at the time of enrollment, Ujamaa Place offers GED prep courses and tutoring. Ujamaa Place is proud to partner with the Ronald Hubb Center, where its participants can get extra help with preparing for their GED test as well as take the actual test.

For those men entering the program who have already attained their high school diploma or equivalent, Ujamaa Place offers higher education opportunities for its participants to learn about the college application and admission process through lectures, one-on-one coaching, and even college tours.

Most of the men who come to Ujamaa Place are unemployed or underemployed and have not held a consistent job due to instability or incarceration. Securing and retaining a job is a critical step in the transformation journey. Ujamaa Place helps its participants secure and retain jobs through program activities, services, support, and job certification training.

Ujamaa Place prepares its participants to enter the workforce through mock interviewing, cover letter and resume building, topic discussions, guest speakers, employment partner tours (i.e. EcoLab, 3M, White Bear Lake Superstore, MN State Fair), and job certification training in, including, but are not limited to construction, automotive, welding, forklift, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Once participants are mentally ready to work, as unhealed trauma is a real barrier for most of the Ujamaa men, they can access the following offerings: job fair visits, job application assistance, transportation assistance to get to and from interviews, reference letters, professional attire for interviews, and miscellaneous expense support, i.e. cell phone to communicate with potential employers.

Thanks to its employment partners, Ujamaa Place also offers in-house interviews (employers on-site conducting interviews with the Ujamaa Men). Once Ujamaa Men secure employment, Ujamaa Place continues to support the men with whatever they may need to help them be successful and retain their jobs, such as transportation assistance, clothing assistance, and miscellaneous expense support.

Ujamaa Place has built a small (yet ambitious and growing) social enterprise, which supports its Stipend Program. Ujamaa Place hires its men to work at various community events and pays them competitive wages for their labor in the form of a stipend. Launched in 2018, Film Class at Ujamaa Place, taught by area professionals, teaches the fundamentals of Film Production. Ujamaa Men who demonstrate proficiency are hired to do small film production jobs in the community. Ujamaa Place is then able to pay its men a stipend for their work.

At the time of enrollment, Ujamaa Men undergo an assessment for substance use disorders and mental illness. Ujamaa Place provides individual counseling for substance use disorders and mental health illness. Ujamaa Men attend psychoeducational groups that consist of meditation, yoga, nutrition, and personalized fitness training. They also attend process groups on twelve-step facilitation, cognitive restructuring, co-occurring disorders, trauma-informed, gender-specific, cultural pain, music therapy, and coping skills.  Ujamaa Place provides case management services and referrals to community partners, while assisting the men with navigation of community-based health care services.

One of Ujamaa Place’s primary focuses with respect to its criminal justice programming is teaching the men about the criminal justice system, social justice advocacy, their rights and more, as well as empowering them to use their experience and voice to advocate for change in their community. Ujamaa Men recently advocated alongside 15Now for a $15 minimum wage.

The Ujamaa Men are frequently present at the State Capitol, City Hall, and in the community advocating on issues that impact them and the communities in which they live.

Ujamaa Men, who were enrolled at the time, had the opportunity to take Nonviolence365 Certification Education and Training in October 2017 facilitated by Bernice King, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s youngest daughter, and the entire training team from The King Center. 

African American Culture is a foundational element under the Theory of Transformation™ that is integrated throughout every aspect of the Ujamaa Place experience. 

Journey 2 Africa in 2018 took Ujamaa Men to Ghana to be immersed in African culture and to learn about their historical roots. Many cultural programs take place throughout the year such as: Rights of Passage, Cultural Financial Literacy and Healing Circles.

Ujamaa Place leadership and coaches understand there are many systemic roadblocks that exist in society that are beyond their control. Navigational resources and tools are critical through partnerships with corporations, healthcare providers, policy makers, law enforcement, clergy and the community. Without these alliances, these programs are not sustainable over time and result in repeated chronic bouts of homelessness, joblessness and criminal justice system involvement.

  • Ujamaa Place developed a wealth creation collaborative funded by Northwest Area Foundation called the "Twin Cities Communities of Practice." The collaboration of six organizations is committed to addressing the economic disparities in the African American communities in the Twin Cities. To date, the collaborative has successfully delivered Cultural Financial Literacy curriculum to participants in all six organizations, reaching 15,000 participants collectively.
  • Mitchell Hamline School of Law provides a legal clinic to assist the Ujamaa Men with legal matters.
  • The King Center, Nonviolence365 has provided training on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s nonviolence methodology and education to the Ujamaa Men and Coaches.
  • Community housing partners including Union Gospel Mission, PPL, Common Bond, and Catholic Charities provide emergency, transition, and long-term housing.
  • The Ramsey County JAG Diversion Program helps men ages 18-30 exit the criminal justice system and re-enter society. Ramsey County Bail Reform and Birth Equity also provide support in these areas.
  • City of St. Paul Criminal Justice Re-entry Partnership.
  • Wilder Foundation is a research partner on homelessness and Theory of Transformation™ evaluation.
  • NAACP, AALF and Hallie Q. Brown partner to provide valuable services to underserved communities in the Twin Cities.