At the ribbon cutting opening of the
South Side Community Coalition Community Center (L to R) founder, Frank Curtis X, Mayor Tony Benavides, and Director Pete Cunningham.

 

LANSING, MI -- Something good is happening on Lansing's south side. 
    And, that good thing is the October 11, 2003, opening of the South Side Community Coalition Center. 

    The Center is located at 2101 West Holmes Road, in the old Quality Dairy building.

    The mission of the of the Coalition is to provide and facilitate the development of programs for youth and their families who reside on the south side of the Capital City.

    The Coalition defines the south side as the area bounded by I-496, west of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., and east of Waverly Road.

    The goals of the center include providing educational programs, job training, life skills and recreational opportunities for youth, activities that will improve self-esteem, promote academic success.

    The South Side Coalition began in October 2002 as a vision of founder Frank Curtis X, who believes all people and families on the south side should have the right to educational and recreational opportunities.  He also says it is the responsibility of the community to insure that residents become well educated and contributing members of society.

    For Curtis X and Gordon Wilson the center is a reminder of their youth.  Curtis X said, "back in the 60's we had a place down on Division Street call Teen Town."  "We had a place to hang out, some place to go," Gordon added, "We didn't allow trouble to take place at Teen Town or at the Lincoln Center.  We had a place where we could go and someone to talk to about whatever was bothering us". 

    "Today, this center means everything to us who had no place for our older youth to go," Gordon said.  According to Curtis X it was worth the struggle to develop the center.  He said, "At first people weren't willing to participate, but we finally got the right people.  It all came together.  There are no "I" in this group.  We have a team." 

    South Side Community Coalition Center Board members include:  Chair, Gordon Wilson; Vice Chair, Cleveland Henry; Treasurer, Ann Blair; Secretary, Cathy Scott-Lynch; Vice Secretary, Amel Eiland; Dr. Willie Davis; LPD Capt., Edward Forrest; Cordell Henderson; Dr. David Wiener; Murdock Jemerson; and Veronica Johnson.  Pete Cunningham is the newly appointed director of the center.

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Reprinted from The Michigan Bulletin, volume 9, Number 18, dtd October 2003, picture from the same