Recently, in the summer of 2013, Duke Ellington Middle School was closed.  The moment we found out that Duke Ellington was vacant, Redeem Detroit knew that we had to secure the building or it would become an eyesore in the community so we quickly gained access to the building and we secured it.  Although some damage was already done and the plumbing has been stripped, we believe that the school is worth saving.  Redeem Detroit volunteers have already repaired broken windows and have been maintaining the premises.  We are now working with community stakeholders to use this school as a community center that will house many of the civic services that we need in the area.  This building is over 82,000 square feet and we plan on using every inch of it to help out those who are struggling in our neighborhood – from our babies to our seniors.  We plan on renaming the building the Back to Life University, where you can get your life back. It will be a multi-purpose building that will house a number of non-profit organizations that will serve the needs of the community including: a school for parenting and pregnant teens, a clinic, a head start, a daycare, a restaurant, a gymnasium, a performance center, administrative offices, retail, and a number of educational and civic organizations.  This place can become a model operation for neighborhoods that have vacant schools that are deteriorating and becoming an eye sore in the community.  We can show how communities can pull together around a common goal to revitalize a neighborhood and to reinstitute an economic infrastructure that will sustain it for years to come.

So far, Redeem Detroit has helped hundreds of families get connected to jobs, education, and other resources.   We have secured many vacant properties, we have started two gardens, and we have cut down 10 overgrown vacant lots in our target area in the span of three years.  We are determined to bring this neighborhood back: one lot at a time, one house at a time, one building at a time, one block at a time, and one person at a time.

We really need your help to rehabilitate this school for the uplifting of the citizens in Detroit.