Danielle Welcome remembers the day she first learned about Brilliant Detroit’s Osborn House. It was August of this year, and she was with her kids — Jade, Jameer, Jordan, and Jayden — just across the street on the playground.

“There was this big picnic, they were barbecuing, lots of games out, and they approached me! They were like ‘Hey, I haven’t seen you around here before, have you heard about Brilliant Detroit?’”

At that point, she had not heard anything about Brilliant Detroit. But just a few months later, Ms. Welcome is a member of the Osborn House community, attending programs every week and community dinners every month. She takes her children to both Play and Learn and Snack and Learn, which provide a social and educational environment for the kids (as well as a nutritious snack).

Ms. Welcome also attends Peer-to-Peer, a mental health support group for adults through Brilliant Detroit. She has valued the group’s compassion and is grateful that it makes “coping with the day-to-day struggles of life” a little easier. At Peer-to-Peer and her weekly Zumba class at Osborn, Ms. Welcome has been able to build relationships that last beyond any single event.

All this is still new for Ms. Welcome. Though she has lived her whole life in Detroit and has spent the last 12 years on the East Side, she didn’t feel very connected to the rest of her neighborhood.

“I have never really been community-oriented,” she said. “Brilliant Detroit kind of has branched me out. I’ve been going to lots of different panels and meetings and just really adapting to being out there in the community.”

When asked why she thought it had been difficult to find community in the past, Ms. Welcome explained: “Because no one talks to people anymore! You walk past people and they look the other way… But everyone here was just standing there with open arms like ‘Hey, come on in!’”

It’s when she is spending time in the house that she feels most welcomed. “The front blinds and front window are always open. The front door is always unlocked. You don’t really feel boxed in. And then once you get in and start talking to people, they’re just instantly trying to figure out what you need, what they can help you with. You just don’t really get any bad vibes anywhere.”

Though Jade, Jameer, Jordan, and Jayden are not yet old enough to begin the tutoring program at Osborn, Ms. Welcome and her kids still have fun reading together. There is one book in particular that stands out as their favorite: Cows Can’t Jump, by Dave Reisman. “You get really interactive,” she said, “getting into making the sounds that animals can’t do.”

Before Brilliant Detroit, “I didn’t even know community houses existed, and yet I’ve met so many people and parents and other kids,” Ms. Welcome said. As 2019 comes to a close, she and her children are excited for a new year as part of the Brilliant Detroit community.


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