We have learned that you have to be willing to be part of a community if you want to see that community change; you can’t just help from the outside. We have also learned that people want to be part of the change, but they don’t always know how. People are looking for an opportunity to help.
What is your organization’s target area?
We are located in District 3, the Regent Park neighborhood.
How is your organization making a difference in Detroit today?
We have programs that run year round for kids, teenagers, and senior citizens. We provide meals, training, life skills, fellowship, and other services during these programs. We provide meals on holidays, Christmas presents, Easter baskets, summer camp, and other services for our community as well. We also purchase houses in the neighborhood, rehabilitate them, and rent them at affordable rates. We work with volunteer groups to beautify the neighborhood and have partnerships with many organizations, including the Kresge Foundation, Best Buy Foundation, Home Depot Foundation, and Detroit Future City, Detroit’s Adopt-A Park, Chase Bank, and PNC Bank, LifeRemodeled, working together to create a thriving community.
CLICK HERE to see how the organization was started
What are some of your organization’s proudest accomplishments?
We purchased a former elementary school and have broken ground to turn it into a Community Center. We were also given a closed bank building from Chase and a grant to remodel and have also broken ground on that property to turn it into a Performing Art Center with an emphasis on Spiritual Dance. Our organization’s proudest accomplishment, though, is walking through the streets of our neighborhood and seeing all of the positive changes that have occurred over the last 10 years.
What have been your top lessons learned through your work in your community?
We have learned that you have to be willing to be part of a community if you want to see that community change; you can’t just help from the outside. We have also learned that people want to be part of the change, but they don’t always know how. People are looking for an opportunity to help. We have also learned to focus our efforts. The temptation is to say yes to everyone and everything, but it is important to form a mission statement and follow it closely to avoid getting burned out.
What words of wisdom or encouragement would you pass on to others doing work similar to your organization?
Don’t give up. There are projects and ideas that we started working on years ago, and it hasn’t been until recently that we have seen huge changes to our community. Also, don’t be afraid to network and ask people for their advice.
How can others get involved/support your work?
To volunteer, people can get plugged in at http://www.lifebuildersdetroit.com/volunteer/. To financially support, people can donate at http://www.lifebuildersdetroit.com/donation/.
More about LifeBUILDERS:
CLICK HERE to see how LifeBUILDERS is making an impact in the Regent Park Community.
CLICK HERE to see LifeBUILDERS’ volunteers in action.
CLICK HERE to read “The Time Is Now: A New Vision for Regent Park”, a community plan produced by University of Michigan Taubman students in partnership with LifeBUILDERS
Larry Johnson, Executive Director
Email: [email protected]
Social Media: www.facebook.com/lifebuildersdetroit/?fref=ts