MARY TURNER CENTER FOR ADVOCACY
1927 ROSA PARKS IN DETROIT
What is your organization’s target area?
We service Michigan’s House District 6 and City Council District 6.
How is your organization making a difference in Detroit today?
The Mary Turner Center for Advocacy, established as a non-profit organization in 2015, serves residents from Detroit, River Rouge, and Ecorse communities through engaging residents and families with resources and services to increase the quality of life for the people we serve. We provide free and accessible programming for low-income families within those communities through a number of community based partnerships and initiatives. We also help to organize and convene families within our target boundaries through town halls and workshops to discuss, plan, and strategize around issues that are relevant to the communities we serve. A number of our community based initiatives have included:
Tax Foreclosure Assistance– Providing families within the necessary tools and information to prevent home foreclosure. We work in partnership with the Wayne County Treasurer’s office and United Community Housing Coalition to provide relief and payment arrangements to those facing foreclosure.
Environmental Justice– We have organized town halls and informational meetings around issues of air quality and pollution in Southwest Detroit to address continuing issues with clean air in our communities. We have been connecting families to information on how to report these issues and empowering them to become advocates for their own communities for environmental justice.
Education & Literacy – For two years we have partnered with annual event, Dia de los Ninos, Dia de los Libros (Day of the Child, Day of the Book) to provide free books to children within Southwest Detroit. We also host annual readings at various schools within the district for March Reading Month. This year we also launched our Girls Making Change Fellowship with 9 fellows from across our target neighborhoods to inspire young women of color to be empowered to be leaders through training, mentorship and community action.
Utility Assistance– We have developed partnerships and relationships with local city services to provide our residents with access to payment arrangements, assistance programs, and other resources to keep families from services being shut off. We have worked with program such as SER, THAW, and others to provide subsidy assistance to residents.
What are some of your organization’s proudest accomplishments?
Our primary objective is to help families and residents within our targeted boundaries have access to programs and information to build a better quality of life. We seek to empower residents with the necessary tools and resources to be their own advocates within these
communities, while also providing support to families who are in need.
Our achievements are the numbers of residents we have assisted each year. We have helped a significant number of residents with tax foreclosure, tax issues, unemployment cases, DHHS cases, etc. Other major highlights are the start and completion of our Girls Making Change fellowship for high school girls of color in, and several major events like the Environmental Justice Townhall in November 2015, Become a Citizen Day (2015), an Expungement Fair and Parole Readiness Workshop, and several utility assistance days.
What have been your top lessons learned through your work in your community?
One of our biggest top lessons learned has been to continually seek opportunities and partnerships that can help to leverage access to programs for our residents. Our work is made possible through our various partnerships with our community partners, which has been very important to the sustainability of our work. We have been extremely successful in leveraging the work and programs of our partners, but also creating our own out of those partnerships. We hope to continue to these relationships to service our community.
What words of wisdom or encouragement would you pass on to others doing work similar to your organization?
There is more power in working together than in silo’s. We have learned a great deal by partnering with others and have been able to impact many families by doing so.
How can others get involved/support your work?
We are always looking for partnership opportunities to provide accessible programming to our residents. Also, we are always seeking volunteers to help support our programs at the Mary Turner Center.
Larissa Carr, Board President
Phone: (313) 841-2240