"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

As Seen On…

Mama Shu featured in People Magazine

Go here to read the inspiring story.

This Michigan Woman Is Remaking Her City, One Building at A Time

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.

CBS News ShuMichigan woman on a mission to revitalize her neighborhood

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]

Mom works to rebuild suburb after son killed in hit-and-run

Jun. 10, 2017 – 3:51 – Mama Shu talks revitalizing her Detroit neighborhood to create a safe place for kids to play

Hero helps transform Highland Park


By Karen Drew – Reporter/Anchor

Posted: 5:35 PM, August 11, 2016
Updated: 5:35 PM, August 11, 2016

Ellen Degeneres Gifts Cocoon9 House

Cocoon 9 House gifted by Ellen DeGeneres Delivered to Mama Shu

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


Highland Park ‘eco village’ brings basics back to Avalon Street

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

Highland Park woman gives children gift of music in her ongoing project to turn community around

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.

donate-pictureAvalon Village grows every day because of the generous support we receive from people all over the world.

See below for ways you can donate to support Avalon Village!

We Love Our Backers!

“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.”

Our Kickstarter campaign was one of the most-funded and most-backed civic design projects in history. We could not have done it without YOU.

“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.)

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