Today is 313 Day, the day we celebrate Detroit and all that comes with the city we call home. We talked to two of our Community Health Workers, Felicia Lane and Linda Reyes, about their experiences living and raising families in Detroit and what advice they have for others!
Felicia (pictured above) and Linda (pictured below) are Community Health Workers with WIN Network: Detroit. They help connect moms and families to resources throughout Detroit that help them raise a healthy family. They are our experts on what it’s like to raise a baby in our city, and their support has helped hundreds of Detroit babies and families thrive.
Felicia and Linda, how long have you lived in Detroit?
Linda: I was born and raised in southwest Detroit, and have lived here my whole life.
Felicia: I’ve lived in Detroit for 60 years. Detroit is my home.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Detroiters raising a family today?
Felicia: The biggest challenges are finding affordable childcare, good local activities for kids, and accessing good schools. We also need to make it easier for community members to own their own businesses, and do something to combat violence in our communities.
Linda: A big challenge is making sure youth have free activities to occupy kids’ time. The youth need more recreation centers in their communities and mentor programs for girls and boys. We need more programs that will assist the youth in becoming more involved within their communities, not only in the summer but all year round. Public transportation is another challenge for Detroit. The public transportation in Detroit is not set up for Detroiters to get jobs in suburbs or other surrounding cities or for children to get to school. Automobile insurance is another big issue, because it’s too costly. Detroiters also need more subsidized housing for low income families so that they can afford to live comfortably and raise their children.
What are a few good resources that Detroiters raising a family should take advantage of?
Felicia: The Butzel Family Center is something everyone should know about. It’s a multipurpose community center with a lot under one roof, like recreational and educational activities. It’s located on the east side at 7737 Kercheval, Detroit, MI 48214. Another resource is the Detroit Repertory Theatre. It’s a great community theatre that serves a cultural and educational role. It is located in the North End at 13103 Woodrow Wilson St, Detroit, MI 48238.
What is your advice to those raising a family in Detroit?
Felicia: I like to tell parents that you may live in a particular environment, but that environment doesn’t have to live in you. Your living situation or the resources around you don’t define you or the type of parent you are.
Linda: Get to know your community and the resources out there to keep your child involved and engaged. Be active in your child’s school and attend their events when possible, or ensure you are getting information on the activities that are going on in the school. Make time to spend with your children whenever possible. Make sure to plan activities to have time with your kids. And finally, kiss them every night and let them know they are loved.