project leader
Lindsey M
4870 St. Hedwig St.
(Southwest Detroit)
latest update rss
No updates yet.

the project

Hello and welcome! We are the youth and young adults who are part of Congress of Communities (CoC). CoC is a small, resident-driven, grassroots non-profit which does leadership development, advocacy and community organizing with youth and residents of southwest Detroit. We were founded in 2010, and since then, CoC has become a staple of the southwest Detroit community. Our youth organizing work consists of a Youth Council, college preparation programming, and racial justice-focused leadership development and community organizing training.

In fall 2018, we attended a youth-driven spaces retreat with the Neutral Zone, an organization in Ann Arbor dedicated to supporting community organizations build their capacity for youth centered work. At this retreat, we identified the many ways in which CoC is youth-driven, including having youth serve on the organization's Board of Directors, youth run projects, and flexibile and fun meetings. However, we also pointed out that CoC's office doesn't really feel like a space for and by youth. We spent the weekend brainstorming, and the idea of a Youth-Driven Community Center was born.

Since then, we have been working hard to make our dream a reality. We wrote and secured a grant through the Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit program, which covers a good amount of the cost for building the Center. After getting our grant, we pulled together a team of youth, young adults, parents, and community members to create the Youth Center Task Force. The Task Force meets bi-weekly to drive the planning for the Center. Our goal is to be as community and youth-driven as possible, so we want lots of voices to go into the construction of the Center. 

After months of searching, we found a house in the perfect location, right off of Junction, near Michigan Ave. It falls right in the middle of southwest Detroit. The house is large, two stories, and has a side lot which we'll be able to use as a yard and garden. BUT it needs a lot of work! While the Kresge grant covers much of our project's costs, we want to make sure the Center is high-quality, environmentally sustainable, accessible for all, and practical. We need your help to get us over the finish line! Once we're finished the house will have childcare spaces, meeting rooms, a social justice library, a teen "hangout" space, beautiful outdoor gardens and play areas, and more! The Center will be a space for southwest Detroit residents to come together to learn, organize, and develop community leaders. 

the steps

Summer 2020

  1. Construction - Roof replacement, demo inside walls, replace windows and doors, replace siding, build porches
  2. Planning - Community outreach survey, focus groups, survey assessment

Fall 2020

  1. Construction - HVAC, plumbing, electric, drywall, & cabinets installation
  2. Design - Painting, decoration, furnishing
  3. Planning - promoting the opening of the Center, programming

why we're doing it

Many southwest Detroit youth are not informed on matters such as racial and social justice, preparing for college, and ways to get involved in improving our community. This is due to the fact that the schools we attend are poorly funded, resulting in not covering these important issues as a part of their class curricula. A lot of southwest Detroit youth are first generation students, which makes it difficult for us to ask our parents/guardians for help with school and preparing for college, or to ask about current events and social justice movements taking place. The community center will be a great asset to fill the gaps left by our schools, and to educate us about ways to be engaged/involved in our community. The house will be full of resources for students and families seeking help, including social/racial justice education, civic engagement opportunities, self-care, early childhood education, school tutoring and college prep. 

The most unique thing about our center is that it is youth-driven. We are literally the planners of the space, from the way it looks, to the blueprints, to what programs will take place, and how we will ensure that it will be a safe, comfortable space for all. We want to build a creative, youth-designed center that is full of resources and educational supports, while still being a place where youth can feel at ease and have fun.


Funds will go towards building a social justice library, installing collapsible walls, and creating safe, educational play areas for children.

ioby Platform Fee     $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)    $929
TOTAL TO RAISE =    $30,964


Sorry, but this project doesn't have any updates yet.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Anonymous
  • Alejandra Gomez
  • Anonymous
  • Cirilo S.
  • Leticia J.
  • Isaac Salinas
  • Alexis S.
  • Isabella S.
  • Anonymous
  • Ramsey and Michelle C
  • Jihan Aiyash
  • Matt Homrich-Knieling
  • Esmeralda T.
  • Heidi W.
  • Marwah Ayache
  • Meredith Q.
  • Richard Z.
  • Jazmin S.
  • Janet Ray
  • Abhijay Kumar
  • David S.
  • Sarah C.
  • Stephanie Segura-Guerrero
  • Irene Routte
  • Alberto Leal-Flores
  • Stefania Ramirez
  • Advanced Animal Emergency
  • Crocker
  • Kathy Englund
  • Maricruz.Z
  • Saul P. Olguin
  • Kathryn B.
  • Lindsey Matson
  • Alamu Olatunji Tewonia
  • Maggi P.