The Merced Loughorough area is known for crime, gangs, shootings, and high density, low income housing and the Meadows was the last place people wanted to live. But one young man was brave enough to move into the neighborhood to make a difference. Tunde, a young African American man, starting playing with the kids, helping them with homework, and interacted with the adults. Parents often had to work multiple jobs or were unable to care for their children, but they trusted Tunde.
Last year the place got even worse, there was no money for upkeep and windows were broken out, doors disappeared and graffiti covered many places. We were sure it would just be torn down… but a new owner came in, put glass in the windows, upgraded the place and new families started moving in. The stigma that the apartment complex had is slowly disappearing and families are moving in because activities are happening there.
While the complex has seen many improvements there is nothing outside for the kids to do and at a recent community gathering families expressed an interest in a playground.
So, together we started the journey to research what it would take to build a playground…. One person is mapping out the place, the kids are dreaming what they want, the management is helping with insurance, and we are working together make sure the children have a safe, fun place to play.
A place that has seen death and violence, a place that has seen pain and suffering is changing because one young man stood up and said “enough”! Because of his work, a whole community is coming together to make their neighborhood a better place for the next generation. Never underestimate the power of people!