Urban Neighborhood Initiatives is a place-based neighborhood organization working within and alongside the Springwells community of Southwest Detroit. Founded over 21 years ago, UNI has strived to provide the highest quality opportunities for young people, spurred citywide movement on issues within education, and rejuvenated parks and green spaces in which all can thrive.
Over one-third of Springwells residents are under the age of 18. We view these young people as our greatest asset and work to create youth-led spaces and programs that offer support, opportunity, and room for growth in our Youth Development work. From year-round youth leadership cohorts to out-of-school enrichment programs, employment opportunities to summer fun, youth of all ages can find a home in our programming.
Through our Education work, we aim to decrease chronic absenteeism across the city by holistically addressing the needs of students. This looks like building out attendance teams within pilot schools, providing incentives for attendance, and using a collective impact strategy to increase college attainment. We work collaboratively with partners, vendors, and a national leadership team to achieve widespread change.
Within Land Use and Economic Development, we work to revitalize and maintain parks and green spaces within the neighborhood. Often, this means partnering with neighbors to develop long term plans to care for these shared neighborhood assets. We utilize partnerships and the generous manpower of volunteers to create oases of beautiful land to support neighborhood events, parks, and a thriving natural environment. We also created Southwest Rides, a youth-led bike shop that empowers young people with leadership and community engagement experience. The shop also provides low-cost alternatives for transportation, meeting a need in the neighborhood as the only bike shop in the area.
We believe social, economic, physical and cultural investments interact and reinforce each other. We deeply believe we are each at our best when we are connected to one another, when people are engaged in creating and maintaining the kind of environment they want for their families. We would love for you to join our work in honoring community and supporting opportunities for all to thrive. Thank you for your support!