In 1999, Reverend Bertha L. Carter started feeding the homeless in the Northend Historic Community from the back of her van by providing food items from Kroger’s meat packing houses and bakeries. Reverend Carter’s vision grew, which impelled her to provide jobs and implement youth development programs through the St. John’s Evangelistic Temple of Truth Church and School of Wisdom. This gave birth to Northend Christian CDC which was founded in 2000 as a 501(C) 3 non-profit organization.
With the main purpose being the development of the Northend historic community, the organization started a Skill Enhancement Youth Development and After School Tutoring program in reading, mathematics and basic computer skills for children ages 5 through 17 years. The program was a success and parents observed improvements in their children’s grades, some students moving up by 1 or 2 grade levels while others receive full scholarships for college.
The work became overwhelming for Reverend Carter, who sought the assistance of an Executive Director to help with the management of the organization and in 2008 Jerry Ann Hebron became the Executive Director of Northend Christian CDC. Ms. Hebron brought with her new and enhanced visions and goals for the organization, which catapulted the St. John’s Youth Making a Difference in 2009. The program was launched with a spring Urban Gardening and Golfing project where neighboring youths participated in arts and crafts, gardening and golfing.
In 2009, the Oakland Avenue Community Garden broke ground as a result of the community engagement outreach and design led by the Greening of Detroit. In 2010, funding was secured from the USDA to build the first Passive Solar Greenhouse (Hoop House) to begin extended season growing at the site. In addition, 2010 saw the Youth Making a Difference Program extend to working with the Youth Grown in Detroit Market Group to sell products grown in urban garden throughout Detroit at various markets. This was a great experience for the youth as they learned customer service skills, marketing, financial literacy, team work, conflict resolution as well as the value of community service.
In 2011 we opened the Oakland Avenue Farmers Market with the support of Eastern Market Corporation and became one of the Detroit Community Markets. We also became a member of the Michigan Farmers Market Association and have 4 Certified Farmers Market Managers.
Art is very important in our gardens and we were funded by the Kresge Foundation in 2011 to create art in five community gardens in the North End. The gardens are Oakland Avenue Urban Farm formerly known as the Oakland Avenue Community Garden, Gateway Community Garden, East Arden Park/Boston Community Garden, Detroit Mural Factory Community Garden and the William C. Loving School Garden.
In 2012 we were funded by the Kellogg Foundation to began the renovation of our Community House located at 9227 Goodwin, Detroit, MI 48211. This funding supported our development of a Shared Kitchen Space for food preparation for the farmers market as well as getting license as a commercial kitchen. We are still working to secure the commercial kitchen license, however, we are open to other growers looking for food preparation for farmers markets, cooking demonstrations, canning classes, community meetings, etc. Other funding received to support the Community House came from LISC.
Also in 2012 we were selected as the site for the Community Public Art Project, Earth and Sky Repose, $40,000.
In 2013 we received additional funding from the Kellogg Foundation to continue our work around increasing food access and funding from the Charter One Growing Communities Grant to build a 30×72 Solar Passive Greenhouse (Hoop House) for transplant production. The transplant production will support our increase need to grow food to support our farmers market on Oakland Avenue as well as our off site farmers market stands at five Chrysler Plants.
Additionally funding received in 2013 was from the Erb Foundation to develop a Native Plant and Butterfly Garden. This site is located at 645 Kenilworth, Detroit, MI 48202.
Our collaboration with the Oakland Avenue Artist Coalition which started in 2013 launched the first Artist Festival in the North End “The Healing”. Over 300 people attend this all day event in 2013 and in 2014 the three day event over 700 people. A very diverse group of people spent the day being entertained, shopping, networking and just enjoying being out and about in the North End.
As Northend Christian CDC continues to grow through dedication and hard work, we intend to collaborate and partner with other organizations to build, strengthen and develop the Northend historic community.
To contribute to the sustainability of the Northend Historic Community by providing a healthy lifestyle with diverse cultural, physical, social and educational programs.
Vision: We intend to develop the Northend Historic Community by implementing interactive youth development programs for students 12 to 24 ages, developing green jobs and providing quality housing, providing resources for underserved and supporting healthy lifestyles through sustainable agriculture, education and beautification of community.
The core values of Northend Christian CDC include honesty, integrity, respect, accountability, sharing, caring and love.