What's unique about the house?
Harambee means “Pulling together” in Swahili. The Harambee house is in a former parsonage built in 1912 next to First Christian Reformed Church. Since 1999, the church has partnered with Project Neighborhood to support ministry in the neighborhood. Harambee has room for six students in addition to the mentors. It is 4.2 miles from campus making it is bike-able from Calvin in under 30 minutes; bus takes 35-60 minutes.
What's interesting about your neighborhood?
On the edge of South Hill, one of the up-and-coming neighborhoods of the city, Harambee is within walking distance of Wealthy Street restaurants and coffee shops. Heritage Hill is only two blocks away, with eclectic architecture and the Pleasant Park playground. To the south, the Oak Hill Cemetery offers space for quiet walks under the trees. Some of our neighbors have lived here for over forty years, ever since the Great Migration north. Others just moved in a few years ago, part of the new wave of gentrification. Some fled war in East Africa or violence in Central America to take refuge in the US.
What partnership opportunities exist in your neighborhood?
Wednesday night community dinners at the church bring together neighbors and church members of all ages. After dinner and worship, some students play games and talk with adults, while others help lead activities with children. Some students mentor a child at Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Academy through Kids Hope. Next door to Harambee is Bates Place, a community hub that facilitates asset-based community development in the neighborhood. We’ve had monthly potluck brunches there with neighbors. Students can informally get to know returning citizens who live nearby.
Address: 1309 Madison Avenue Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
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