Spaces at Shechem
We strongly believe in holistic wellbeing. In a neighborhood consistently rated among the worst for health outcomes, the gym will provide access to healthy patterns. It will be a place for adults in this community to work on improving their physical health. We will be able to hold group exercise classes: Zumba, yoga, HIIT or Tabata. Opportunities like these will introduce people to fitness and healthy routines, allowing this neighborhood to start and maintain positive habits. Beyond physical health, exercise positively affects mental/emotional health.
It is no secret that the neighborhood around 26th and Capitol is not an ideal place to play outside. The gym will be a safe space where kids can run freely. There will be opportunities for kids to join in through open gyms, club sports, camps, and other youth programming. These opportunities give our kids a place to grow in a fun environment. Sports and physical activity aid in growth through learning teamwork, determination, goal-setting, etc.
The gym is a way to partner with other organizations and schools doing good within Milwaukee, but who do not have access to facilities to run certain programming. Many of our area schools do not have a gym. By partnering with these local schools, Shechem’s gym will give kids a place to have gym class, participate in sports or other extra curricular activities.
We’ve held classes at Hope Street since the beginning. We have a wide variety of classes on a regular basis, from bible studies to mindfulness to financial wellbeing. With each class, we have seen that when people choose to join in, they see growth, whether that be intellectually, mentally, or spiritually. The classrooms in Shechem will give more people an opportunity to join in, gain skills and cultivate hope.
Classrooms will be used for education and self-improvement through counseling and mental health services, tutoring, and classes such as GED prep. It will be a place for people to enter into classes so that they can gain skills and healthy habits. We’ll hold a wide variety of classes like art therapy, nutrition, jewelry making and financial health.
Classrooms will give our kids a boost educationally. Through after school programming, tutoring and other educational opportunities our kids will be able to continue their learning outside of school hours. These programs will also aid in developing healthy relationships with other kids. The classrooms will double as a place to have fun activities for kids too such as crafts and movies.
They will act as meeting places for bible studies, community meetings and book clubs. These gatherings will allow people to build healthy relationships and give people positive support systems. They’ll allow people to grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
People need community, support systems to live and thrive. In our neighborhood there aren’t many places that allow for that.
“There’s nowhere to go.”
“There’s nothing to do.”
“I ain’t going out there.”
These are all phrases heard on repeat at Hope Street. Our members often feel a pull to stay inside where it is safe rather than risk stepping into community. Event spaces in Shechem will allow members to join together in a safe space. They’ll give people a place to build new relationships, have fun and be with family and friends.
All of our spaces are for community use. They’ll provide a safe environment to host positive gatherings. All of Shechem’s spaces are able to be rented out to the community for event use. People will be able to throw personal gatherings like baby showers, birthdays, receptions and other celebrations of life. The gym will be a larger space to host bigger events such as a banquet or a resource fair.
The Coleman Cafe
There were two spaces that were a “given” when the Shechem vision was born. A gym and cafe. The gym was a natural inclination for Ashley, our Director with her background in basketball and passion for equipping people to live a healthy lifestyle. With that same intention, Sabrina, a chef and longtime leader in our community, knew that it was important to provide people in this community the opportunity to eat quality food, sit at a table together and simply nourish our souls. The Cafe represents countless food entrepreneurs and their dream to have a space where people can taste and indulge in their food. This space will be “home” to different vendors on a weekly basis who, like Sabrina, have the dream of having their own place and preparing good food with wholesome ingredients. Last, but certainly not least, doing it inside of a safe space where people can get to know one another. This cafe is fondly named in honor of Sabrina Coleman, whose vision inspired a space that will impact generations for years to come.
The cafe will be open to the public as a place to gather, enjoy basic coffee drinks and light fare. We will lease out the cafe to local vendors, giving them an opportunity to share their food with the community while growing their small businesses. This will also give members an opportunity to experience different healthy options in the community. Beyond food, we hope to collaborate with local artists to display their talents in this space. This space will also give people a place to meet to study, work on a project or have a conversation.
At Hope Street, we have always valued joining together around a table. It’s a safe and natural place to let down your guard and get to know one another. There is power in the togetherness a table brings; it can transcend norms. Coleman Cafe will give us the opportunity to meet people beyond our circles, learn from each other and gain new perspectives.
In a food desert, Shechem will have a rooftop garden that will help generate a source of locally produced, fresh food. We will be able to sell small bags of produce to community members, getting people exposed to healthy food, helping to improve physical health. We envision a space where community members can begin to learn that food can be good and nutritious. It will also introduce people to urban gardening that can be replicated throughout our neighborhood.
The garden and its plants will provide beauty to Shechem. The rooftop will also be a place to sit with friends and enjoy a cup of coffee. It will allow people to get fresh air while remaining in a safe and secure place. On the rooftop patio, people will be able to look over the neighborhood and dream about what this community can make it.