What's unique about the house?
Nizhoni is a Navajo word meaning “beauty,” encompassing all of what is right and good and beautiful in the world. It was started in 2007, when Creston Christian Reformed Church bought and renovated the house. It is the only Project Neighborhood house that was bought by a church for the purpose of the program, exemplifying the church’s commitment to the neighborhood, students and Calvin University. Although the house is owned by the church, students are invited to explore service-learning opportunities at one of the many organizations in the neighborhood. Located on the north end, not far from the Travis House, Nizhoni is 6.5 miles away from Calvin. Five students, along with the mentors, can live in Nizhoni.
What's interesting about your neighborhood?
The Creston neighborhood has been a working-class neighborhood since the early 1900s, and is now in a period of transition and development, with growing shops, restaurants, and apartments (including the famous Creston Brewery). The neighborhood is walkable, racially and socioeconomically diverse, and close to downtown. Within several blocks of the house are many non-profit organizations offering a variety of services, as well as growing opportunities to access fresh produce in what is otherwise known as a food desert.
What partnership opportunities exist in your neighborhood?
Nizhoni students have served in a variety of roles across many organizations in the Creston neighborhood. There are opportunities to provide health services and coaching to patients at Catherine’s Health Center; to serve free, hot meals to neighbors at Supper House; or help stock local food pantries at North End Community Ministries or St. Alphonsus’ food pantry. Students can also serve at the Creston Neighborhood Association by writing publications, processing data, and neighborhood outreach. Students can volunteer at local community gardens or an urban farm, or serve at a local tax assistance program for low-income families. Students can help with youth ministry and after school programs at New City Neighbors, or empower people with disabilities through art at Artists Creating Together. Students also have the chance to help with worship, Sunday services, and childcare at Creston Church.
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