Week 2: Nortown CDC – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 2: Nortown CDC

Alright. Week 2. You’d think that by now I’d know what I’m doing? And I guess I kind of have an idea. But really, I feel a little all over the place. My site does so many things and works with so many people that every day – and almost every hour, really – is some kind of new adventure. Even the list of long-term projects is extensive. By this point, I’ve had the chance to see some trends in the problems they face, but I’m still only functioning on a week and a half of experience. Please keep that in mind as I attempt to describe my organization.

My community partner is Nortown CDC, a nonprofit attempting to foster growth and community control of the residential and economic sectors of the Nortown neighborhood, which is located in northeast Detroit. Some of the most impactful projects include Nortown Homes (a project to devoted to providing low-income housing to local residents), the Norris house (a building of historic significance whose restoration could mean more positive attention on the neighborhood), and their ongoing efforts to develop a database of local businesses (which can be used to create a coalition of local business owners and develop a marketing plan for the area). They also hold cleanups, testify at zoning hearings, present community concerns at city council meetings, collaborate with local business, volunteer at events organized by other nonprofits, and so much more. In general, they do the best they can to take care of their neighborhood and the people in it.

I’m always helping out on smaller projects when I’m needed, but most of my time will be spent developing a database detailing all of the businesses on Van Dyke between Eight Mile Rd. and Six Mile Rd and working with the director and a group of community members on history research that might help the Norris house receive greater recognition as a place of historical significance. I will also, if time permits, help the organization rework its website.

During my time outside of work, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with other members of DCERP, which has been really cool. During the school year, I would always get bogged down with homework in the evenings and on the weekends, and even when I had free time, it was hard to find a friend that whose schedule was also free. Having roommates to watch T.V. with and a built-in group of people who are just as excited to explore the city as I am has made this just as great a social experience as it has been a work experience.

Okay. Signing off ’til next week.

1 thought on “Week 2: Nortown CDC”

  1. Lisa ,
    You are definitely not alone in feeling a little all over the place. I think a lot of us can relate to there being a bit of a learning curve to this program. The work that you’re doing with Nortown CDC is super cool and very different from a lot of the other projects I’ve been hearing about so far. I’m also really glad that you’re feeling at home with the DCERP cohort. It’s nice to have people to explore with and to relate to about the highs and lows of our internships.

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