Detroit

D2N's Detroit focus is to support collaborative efforts amongst grass roots programs sharing a common mission, thereby increasing their impact. We are doing this on two fronts:

In East Detroit, along with the S.A.Y. Play Center, we work with the Building Better Men mentorship program for youth at risk. The collaboration of the the two programs has had a marked effect on the young men of the surrounding communities.

In Highland Park D2N supports efforts of the S.A.Y. Family Health Clinic, Buckets of Rain, Avalon Village, WNUC 96.7, Soulardarity and Detroit Outdoors in their work to improve access to health and wellness care for the community. This collaboration has become an integrated learning opportunity for Wayne State University Master of Public Health students.

The DMC Foundation has generously awarded D2N a grant to support our collaborative efforts in Highland Park. The grant is funding upgrades, beautification in the form of murals (one of which is pictured above,) and a clinic health coach at the S.A.Y. Clinic. It will also fund a refrigerator and an assistant salary for Buckets of Rain, as well as a playground/picnic area in their self-serve gardens. Finally, the grant will provide funds for the WSU students to implement strategies to counter the barriers to health care they have identified.

Community Health Fair at Buckets of Rain/S.A.Y. Family Health Clinic
Isla's Self-Serve Garden- Playground/Picnic Area coming soon!

East Detroit


Building Better Men

The Building Better Men Program (BBM) was started in 1991 by Odis Bellinger and founded on the principle that young men can be successful despite challenges associated with absent fathers. Their goal is to enable young men to become productive members of society.

This goal is accomplished with small reading groups, interactive group workshops, individual counseling, relevant participant role-play, male encouragement conferences, educational collegiate tours, and recreational field trips. These components of the program teach social and personal responsibility, decision-making, leadership skills, critical thinking and literacy skills.

D2N initiated relocating BBM to the S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center, where the two programs collaborate. D2N supports the further development of BBM's business model as they continue to grow and extend their reach to more and more young men.

They are #1!

S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center

S.A.Y. Detroit Charities was founded by Mitch Albom and is aimed at improving the lives of the neediest citizens, through shelter, food, medical care, volunteer efforts and education. It serves as the umbrella for ongoing major projects including S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center and S.A.Y Detroit Family Health Clinic. S.A.Y. Play provides recreation to young people while also requiring an academic commitment from each participant.

The collaboration of S.A.Y. Play and Building Better Men (BBM) has given access to this unique facility to the young men of BBM. In turn, Odis Bellinger, director of BBM, has recruited more and more boys to the S.A.Y. Play program through his long-standing commitment to the communities surrounding S.A.Y. Play.


Highland Park


Avalon Village

Avalon Village is a self-sustaining eco village in Highland Park created by Mama Shu to transform a blighted neighborhood into a safe, functional, family-oriented space.

The village encompasses an entire city block between Woodward Avenue and Second Street and currently owns 29 plots of land and five houses, including the Homework House, with plans to acquire and revitalize additional properties and structures.

The Homework House is an afterschool program for neighborhood children that will provide tutoring and academic programs, healthy meals, and recreational activities. D2N has provided funds to finish the roof, install drywall and insulation and buy general building materials. Homework House will open in fall 2020.

Summer brings camps to Avalon village. D2N is providing support for both Music and Hood Camps. Music is a discipline that has been removed from public schools. Music Camp offers hand-on learning instruction in Music Theory and Composition, Instrumentation, Music History and DJing 101 and ends with a community recital to showcase newly-acquired skills.

During Hood Camp Avalon Village is transformed into a camp ground where the children of the neighborhood interact with nature. Upon completion of Hood Camp participants are able to identify edible and medicinal herbs in their yards and communities; grow their own food; display conflict management skills; know what to do in case of emergencies; recycle and save and purify water.

Hood Camp

Buckets of Rain

Buckets of Rain is a nonprofit that assists communities where access to fresh food is limited. Their main goal is provide fresh food, but they also reduce urban blight through their gardens.

The 'Clinic to Farm to Table' program at the S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic enables doctors to write “prescriptions” for patients with diet-related health issues such as diabetes, obesity or hypertension. These patients can then visit Bucket of Rain’s one-acre urban garden (rows of raised beds sitting upon pavement) across from the clinic for a week’s worth of the recommended vegetables at no cost. Not only does BoR supply vegetables throughout the growing season, but they also provide patients with nutritious smoothies throughout the winter!

When the fresh food prescription is out of refills, the woman can return to the clinic for a visit and receive additional refills of the prescription for her vegetables. The doctors can then monitor the participants and look for positive changes in their health based on an improved diet.

Click here for a short news story on the program.

Chris Skellenger, BoR's founder, helps with a 'prescription'

Detroit Outdoors

Detroit Outdoors is a collaborative of the Sierra Club, Detroit Parks and Recreation, and the YMCA of Metro Detroit that connects Detroit communities with the local natural environment and invites youth to spend more time outdoors in all seasons.

The Sierra Club arm of Detroit Outdoors, Detroit Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO), works mainly with the Fauver-Martin Boys & Girls Club in Highland Park and has its gear library in Highland Park. D2N is providing donated outdoor clothing and gear for the gear library. This gear allows access to outdoor experiences not otherwise accessible.

Click here to see Detroit Outdoors' Wish List.

Rouge Park, Detroit

S.A.Y Detroit Family Health Clinic

S.A.Y. Detroit Charities was founded by Mitch Albom and is aimed at improving the lives of the neediest citizens, through shelter, food, medical care, volunteer efforts and education. It serves as the umbrella for ongoing major projects including S.A.Y Detroit Family Health Clinic and S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center. Operated in partnership with Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, the clinic primarily serves homeless and/or uninsured women and to a lesser extent, uninsured children.

D2N has created specialty clinics including cardiology, pulmonary, dermatology, ear nose and throat, naturopathic medicine, podiatry, and gynecology. Clinics in ophthalmology and acupuncture are in the planning stages. Reliable pathways for women to be able to enter the hospital system for procedures and surgery have also been developed. An interview with Dr. Charfoos, the physician who staffs the gynecology clinic, on Fox 2 Detroit News, describes her work.

S.A.Y Clinic and Buckets of Rain, across from the clinic, have a unique partnership in the "Clinic to Farm to Table" program. The program enables doctors to write “prescriptions” for patients with diet-related health issues such as diabetes, obesity or hypertension. These patients can then visit Bucket of Rain’s one-acre urban garden (rows of raised beds sitting upon pavement) across from the clinic for a week’s worth of the recommended vegetables at no cost.

When the fresh food prescription is out of refills, the woman can return to the clinic for a visit and receive additional refills of the prescription for her vegetables. The doctors can then monitor the participants and look for positive changes in their health based on an improved diet.

Nurse Practitioner, Patricia Wells, with a 'clinic to farm to table' bag

Soulardarity

In 2011 DTE removed all street lights from Highland Park; Soulardarity is working to install solar-powered streetlights in Highland Park. D2N is working with Soulardarity to place a solar-powered streetlight on Glendale (location of the Say Detroit Family Health Clinic and Buckets of Rain Urban gardens and playground.) The streetlight will also serve as a WIFI hub for a few-block radius.

Future site of streetlight

Wayne State Masters of Public Health Program

In Fall 2019 a multidisciplinary group of MHP students worked under the auspices of D2N to identify barriers to primary care access, social support and food security in Highland Park. They specifically worked with S.A.Y. Family Health Clinic, Buckets of Rain and Avalon Village. While volunteering at Avalon Village's Fall festival the students began a community survey to determine neighborhood perspectives on healthcare access.

Avalon Village Fall Festival

WNUC 96.7 FM

D2N helped complete Detroit’s only community radio station, WNUC 96.7 FM. Initiated by North End Woodward Community Coalition, NEWCC, the station has a reach of 5-7mile radius with a potential audience, once established, of 300,000. The station reaches a diversity of communities including: Highland Park, Hamtramck, a section of Southwest Detroit, North End, Midtown and downtown Detroit. The station benefits the community by providing free access to an independent media voice and, in an area with relatively low access to the internet, a vital source of information. WNUC went on the air in May 2017; an article in The Progressive, Birth of a Station: Low Power Radio Brings Real Power to Detroit Neighborhood, details their journey to going live.

With the goal of health education, WNUC is broadcasting a biweekly (every other Monday at 6 pm) health segment: Drs Making a House Call. Sponsored by EVO Detroit, Dr. Debbie Charfoos interviews a guest physician to address a pertinent health issue such as nutrition, exercise, diabetes and hypertension. Not only does the show educate, but also brings awareness that the S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic, a free medical clinic for uninsured women, is down the street from WNUC. Dr. Charfoos also volunteers at the clinic. An interview with Dr. Charfoos on Fox 2 Detroit News describes her efforts at both places.

In fall 2019 D2N facilitated the donation of 50 computer monitors, keyboards and mice from Beaumont to WNUC/NEWCC. The 2020 census count will be 80% online and Detroit is one of the most digitally disconnected cities in the country. The computers will assist in preparing, educating and equipping the community for the census. The census count translates to future funding and representation in Congress.

Reverend Joan Ross, station manager, broadcasting from the Community Health Fair
Patricia Wells, nurse practitioner, Dr. Debbie and Morris Porter, chief engineer for WNUC at the Community Health Fair.

Past Projects in Detroit


Project No Stand Zone

he Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance Youth Council is composed of high school-aged students who either live, attend school, work or worship in the Cody Rouge neighborhood. In addition to contributing youth voice to community improvement initiatives and participating in leadership training, the Youth Council is actively involved in planning and implementing projects and events that benefit all residents of Cody Rouge. The 2016 Cody Rouge Project Resident Survey indicated that 91% percent of Cody Rouge residents who use the bus system reported that they do not feel there are enough shelters or places to sit at community bus stops. To address the lack of bus seating in the Cody Rouge community, the Youth Council proposed building benches for seven neighborhood bus stops.

Project No Stand Zone is a partnership among the Cody Rouge Youth Council, the six high schools located in Cody Rouge and the “Sit on it Detroit” organization. “Sit on it Detroit” utilizes reclaimed wood from deconstructed houses to build bus stop benches. These benches are unique because they beautify the landscape using recycled materials, and also feature a small library in the bottom half of the bench. “Sit on it Detroit” provided prepped wooden benches to be finished and creatively decorated. The completed benches were placed at six local bus stops along West Chicago and Evergreen in the Cody Rouge neighborhood during a community event held in May 2017. Garbage cans were added to the bus stops.

Council Members with finished benches
Bus stop

Piety Hill Pocket Parks

In 2016 62 neighbors attending the Piety Hill neighborhood quarterly meeting requested a grant to repair and restore two pocket parks, located at 740 Hazelwood and 801 West Philadelphia, so they could be used safely and to their full potential by the community. The grant funded new fencing and new signs at both parks. Additionally, grass seeding and improved horse shoe pit backboards were istalled at the Philadelphia park.

In addition to the new fencing and sign at the park on Hazelwood, flowers were planted in the butterfly garden section and child-safe wood chips were spread in the play area. The park was named in memory of a young girl, Malena Marks, from the neighborhood who was killed in a car accident. Her family attended the dedication of the park.

The community took ownership of the project and supplied all the necessary labor. The Central Detroit Christian Organization (a longstanding nonprofit located in the neighborhood, staffed by the neighbors) provided a project manager at no cost.

Malena Mark's siblings at the dedication of the park on Hazelwood.