This week, I was lucky enough to be able to interview my site manager, Pat Bosch, Director of Nortown Community Development Corporation. Read below to see what she has to say about herself and her work.
What is your professional background? How did you get involved in community work? Professionally, my degree is a Bachelors of Science in medical technology. I attended the University of Detroit before it was known as U of D Mercy. I worked as head of bacteriology at St John Hospital (Ascension) at the Mack and Moross road campus. After marriage, I gave up my professional career to raise my family of 4 children. As the children got older, I became involved in school and church activities. These activities focused on service to the neighborhood and larger community.
One of the very first involvements was organizing a picket line to protest the overnight conversion of our neighborhood movie theatre into adult entertainment. It took 11 years for that case to come before the US Supreme Court, but as a result, the city of Detroit ordinance now governs adult entertainments and is more protective of neighborhoods when it comes to adult uses. Those efforts were the beginnings of greater involvement over the years, through block club organizing, community engagement, planning, land use zoning, and other economic development programs. These experiences led to the formation of several grassroot organizations. Namely, I was part of a collaborative that started We Care About Van Dyke 7 Mile Community Organization, We Care Nonprofit Housing Corporation, Nortown Community Development Corporation (Nortown CDC), and Restore Northeast Detroit (RestoreNED). As a Detroit resident, I am an active member of the We Care group, cochair of RestoreNED and executive director of Nortown CDC from the time of it’s creation in 1992.
Can you provide some insights about Detroit and about your community? As a lifelong Detroit resident, I have seen my childhood neighborhood totally disintegrate, and have vowed that my current neighborhood in Northeast Detroit will be spared a similar fate. There should be no throwaway neighborhoods. Through my years of community involvement, I have personally witnessed numerous activists dedicate their lives to ensuring that not only their neighborhoods maintain quality of life, but that the city as a whole remains a good place to live work, shop and play.
What keeps you motivated to continue this work, even when it becomes challenging? What keeps me motivated is my intrinsic belief that, as we constantly work for a sociable, equitable, and diverse community, if that is our core value, we will prevail against all odds. The outcomes may not be what we originally sought, but the bottom line is that if we are true to our beliefs, then that is the important factor. There was a saying in the 60s: “Bloom where you are planted.” This is where we were planted. So we keep on trying, no matter what. The part that sustains me though, is seeing the fervor and commitment of other nonprofit leaders, especially when they share their spiritual values. I realize that we are all part of the same world, and that each is doing their part to make their corner of the planet more like heaven than hell. That is our ultimate goal.