"A movement is underway in Highland Park to turn blight into beauty."Channel 7 Detroit
"Mama Shu is working to turn the energy from her grief into something that can bring joy."Curbed Detroit
"Avalon Village means the best kind of revolution to me – peaceful, empowering, self-less, and sustainable."Alex Ebert, Lead Artist, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes
"Yes SHU Can!"The Daily Detroit
"Shu erected a solar streetlamp on a block that had no light. She didn’t ask – she just did."Charlie Leduff, Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter
Go here to read the inspiring story.
NBC Nightly News – THU, NOV 03
The city of Highland Park, Michigan — like so many automobile industry dependent cities in Michigan — has seen better days. Shamayim Harris is doing what she can to change that.
HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. — Some folks see their hometown for what it is. Meet someone who sees hers for what it could be.
The Detroit suburb of Highland Park has all the makings of a ghost town. This was the library. This was the high school. Much of the town just plain was. [read more]
Jun. 10, 2017 – 3:51 – Mama Shu talks revitalizing her Detroit neighborhood to create a safe place for kids to play
HIGHLAND PARK, Mich.
Posted: 5:35 PM, August 11, 2016
Updated: 5:35 PM, August 11, 2016
Mama Shu receives Cocoon 9 prefab house for the Avalon Village from Ellen DeGeneres… [read more]
Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Ryan Garza, The Detroit Free Press
Shamayim Harris, better known as Mama Shu, sits on her porch on the corner of Avalon Village, a sustainable eco-friendly community that she is building in Highland Park… [read more]
Monday, July 25, 2016. Virginia Lozano, The Detroit News
Shu Harris is motivated to turning her community around, especially for the children. She is the CEO of Avalon Village in Highland Park, a nonprofit organization that is buying up lots and transforming them into a park, garden, and homework house. This summer, Harris provided a four-week music camp for children for free. The Sun Boy Record Music Camp taught children how to play different instruments, how to be a DJ, dance and much more. The camp ended with a recital day for parents to see what the children had been doing. Read more here.
Avalon Village grows every day because of the generous support we receive from people all over the world.
Thank you so much for your support of the Avalon Village!
“It takes a village” is not just a catchy slogan! The Avalon Village’s Kickstarter campaign successfully raised $243,690 from 1,511 backers in 30 days. Donations came from supporters across America (see the interactive map below) and from people in 140 countries, speaking hundreds of different languages. Our story of renewal and revitalization reached the UK, Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands, Germany, China, India, Ireland, New Zealand and the list goes on. We are beyond grateful for the global love and support.
“People across the country and the world are inspired by The Avalon Village,” says Hayley Rosenblum, a Kickstarter strategist. “Each contribution, whether small or large, is a signifier of support for the village, a vote of confidence for the project, and a signal that people want to know more about its progress.”
“The economic crisis of the Detroit metropolitan area is well-known,” says Rosenblum. “But, it’s not often that we see a community band together to work through the challenges and struggles and support each other in meaningful and substantial ways. Lead by Shu, who is a force of nature in the positivity, dedication and vision she brings to Avalon Village, she is showing that despite the hardships and challenges, residents are working together to build something bigger than themselves.”
This is a partial* map of donations made to the Avalon Village Kickstarter campaign:
*670 of the 1511 backers’ zip codes are visible on this map. (Personal addresses have been removed to protect donors’ privacy.)