2018 "Reach to Teach"
Posted July 5, 2018
We recently partnered with The Molina Foundation’s "Families Learning Together" initiative to provide resources and tips to help children combat learning loss over the summer months. Molina has provided books/workbooks to be distributed to the children throughout our communities. We are thrilled to work with Molina Foundation a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing disparities in access to education and health from under-served and low income children, families, and communities. We appreciate the opportunities provided by this partnership with Molina Foundation.
Detroit "Motor City" Makeover
Posted April 22, 2016
Mayor Duggan and his Department of Neighborhoods, along with representatives of various community organizations, kicked off the 2016 Motor City Makeover – the City of Detroit’s annual cleanup and beautification effort. The Mayor called on business owners and students to join the effort to clean the city during the first three Saturdays in May. The announcement was made at a news conference at the Butzel Family Center on the city's east side.
This year, the city will be cleaned by district. Districts 1, and 2 will be cleaned on May 21; Districts 3, 4, and 5 will be cleaned on May 14; and Districts 6 and 7 will be cleaned on May 7.
Residents, business owners, houses of worship, block clubs, and schools are encouraged to:
Register online at or call (313) 224-4415 to join the effort.
Clean the area around their home, business, house of worship, or school on the Saturday designated for their sector.
Organize their neighborhoods or their employees for a massive group cleanup. On the online registration form, volunteers can designate a nearby area to clean-up, or call (313) 224-4415 for a location.
Beautify their area by planting flowers, plants, or trees, or by removing graffiti, etc.
The scheduled cleanup dates and locations to pick-up supplies are as follows:
Saturday, May 7, 2016
FAR WEST & SOUTHWEST
Saturday, May 14, 2016
CENTRAL & EAST
Saturday, May 21, 2016
CENTRAL & NORTHWEST
(Click to Enlarge View)
‘Uncomfortable Conversations,” Grassroots Efforts Crucial To Neighborhood Revitalization
Posted on March 1, 2016
Detroit Policy Conference 2016:
"How can Detroit increase opportunity and improve quality of life for its neighborhoods? That question served as the backdrop for the “Sustaining Neighborhoods: Champions of Revitalization”panel. Among the issues discussed, ARISE Detroit! Executive Director Luther Keith said neighborhood revitalization efforts must begin at the grassroots level.
“Stop waiting and start the block club that your community needs,” Keith said, challenging Conference attendees to look beyond downtown and midtown. “That’s how you move the needle"
Keith said "ARISE Detroit! empowers community members to take a vested interest in their neighborhoods by developing innovative ways to address issues such as illiteracy, high school dropout rates, crime and youth violence, drug abuse, domestic abuse, neighborhood blight and unemployment."
Gilchrist Block Club Meeting
Paul Lloyd Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Our motto at Field of Dreams Community Development is "People helping people build our Detroit." We are stepping up engaging with the Fargo-Oakfield Playground community desiring to motivate and encourage by extending our helping hand and promoting an elevated mindset of hope. Our mission: to first build the people and ultimately the neighborhood. Our interest is partnering with residents and our first stop was the Gilchrist Block Club which met at the Michigan Technical Academy.
We were introduced and were given an opportunity to present our advocacy program to build strategic framework that will assist revitalizing the neighborhood. We shared our vision to create a community plan that encourages partnership and prevents wasted resources, because we will be working towards the same goals along the same timeline. We believe when community groups share a plan created by meaningful engagement others (funders, the City, for example) take note.
At the top of the list of issues being addressed by the Gilchrist Block Club are community policing, streetlighting and blight removal.
Special Note: Just prior to our meeting with the Gilchrist Block Club, we were informed by the Michigan Techincal Academy that the after-school program which was held at this MTA location had been cancelled due to loss of funding.
Headly Westerfield Thursday, July 31, 2014
I left Detroit in 1971, but my parents stayed in the little house I used to live in for the next several years. I returned to Gilchrist Street frequently for visits until my parents moved 2 miles north, out of the city, into Oak Park.
Despite my parents having moved, I continued to return, year after year, decade after decade, from one millennia into the next. It seems almost a lifetime ago because it was. I rarely visited Motown without dropping in on the old neighbourhood. Gilchrist was my talisman. I was looking for truths that remained hidden, especially from me. So, I kept returning, reaching for something just beyond my vision; just past my memory. I was looking for something I never found.
This provides me with an overview to chart the devolution of a neighborhood in a way that most can't. I watched my old neighbourhood become infected with the disease that destroyed so much ofDetroit, 'Merka's first throwaway city. It's no accident I have been calling Detroit 'Merka's first throwaway city for almost 2 years. It was a case of "Out of sight, out of mind." Until Detroit's bankruptcy was announced -- and an Emergency Manager appointed to oversee the democratically elected city government -- most people had forgotten Detroit even existed.
I can still recall my first memory of what would come to be called Urban Blight in later years. It was a large, mixed-use, yellow-bricked building on the surface/ service drive, viewed from the John C. Lodge Ditch. There would have once been apartments on the upper stories with storefronts at street level. I was 14 or 15 when it was boarded up. It remained boarded up for more than 30 years that I recall. Then the Lodge fell into disuse as the highway used to get in and out of downtown from the 'burbs, so I don't know what happened to it in the last 2 decades. For all I know it's still there. Or, it may be gone by now, just another building missing from Motown's landscape. But for me this building was far more iconic of Detroit's road to ruin than the Michigan Central Station, which I had only seen in pictures.
Today Detroit's population of 700,000 is a fraction of its 1950 peak of 1.8 million. Entrepreneurs are buying up whole swaths of Detroit for wholesale gentrification. Tens of thousands (!) of abandoned structures are slated for demolition by new blight removal programs. Urban farms are being planted where houses, parks and schools once stood. Detroit is being transformed and what it will become is anybody's guess at the moment
Returning frequently, I watched the urban blight grow over the decades. It was as pernicious as the mold and mildew that attacks houses in the south. It kept nibbling around the edges, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, until it reached my old neighbourhood just on the northern edge of Detroit, immediately south of the famed 8 Mile Road. Then I watched as it infected block after block of the square mile I lived in bounded by 8 Mile and 7 Mile Roads, with Greenfield and Southfield to the east and west. Now, in that square mile are hundreds of homes boarded up, burned up, or missing entirely.
As the years took its toll on Detroit, something unexpected happened to Gilchrist, the street I grew up on: NOTHING!!!
While every surrounding block had anywhere from 3-10 destroyed homes per block, Gilchrist -- from Pembroke Avenue to 8 Mile Road -- still appeared to be in pristine condition. While I watched blight strike everywhere else in my old neighbourhood, somehow this half mile stretch of Gilchrist was spared.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Obviously I didn't drive up and down every street in Detroit on my2nd Annual Sunrise to Canton Road Trip for Research, but I must have driven some 20-30 miles just up and down the streets in my old neighbourhood. I saw no other half mile stretch that appeared to be untouched by blight except this 1/2 mile stretch of Gilchrist. There were small stretches of nice, but not a full half mile of it.
TO BE FAIR: On closer inspection there are a few boarded up houses along Gilchrist, but because the lawns are kept neat and tidy, they don't jump out at you the way they do on the other blocks. And, there are far fewer of them on Gilchrist.
While taking pictures of my old house I ran into Danny Harris two doors down. Mr. Harris is a member of the registered non-profit Gilchrist Block Club, a kind of "Keep Gilchrist Beautiful" community group in operation since 1984. Harris was cutting the grass of the house at the corner of Hessel. While he lived closer to Pembroke, Mr. Harris walked his lawnmower 3 blocks to take care of this patch of grass. Perhaps this community volunteerism is what spared Gilchrist from the same fate that's affected all the other surrounding blocks.