Bronx nonprofit to launch campaign to build community center

Miss Abbie's Kids is seeking financial help in acquiring a community building for a community center.
Photos courtesy of Shanequa Charles

For nearly a decade Miss Abbie’s Kids Inc. (MAK) has helped low income households struggling with basic necessities and provided access to resources. However, this has all been done without a home.

While it briefly rented a space for eight months during the pandemic, it was too expensive and required many repairs. MAK Executive Director Shanequa Charles understood a permanent facility was needed and recently found one in Fordham.

The 20,000 sq. foot site will allow Charles and her staff to double the amount of programs it can host. In an effort to acquire this building, she is launching a fundraising campaign this month and asking for the public’s help in raising $3.5 million.

Charles, 41, knows the impact she has had on the Bronx, but wants to accomplish more.

“What we are doing is scary,” she explained. “It (the community center) will benefit the community on many levels. I saw for eight months how it changed their lives.”

In the last few years MAK has provided:

  • Sponsorships for over 200 children
  • Programming that has impacted over 19,000 young people and their families
  • Workshops and programming for over 300 adults and teens
  • Microgrants for 10 small businesses
  • Weekly community education training

MAK Community Center will have free and low cost enrollment for community members to engage, but will also have a microenterprise component that will have a natural juice bar, marketplace and a recording studio run by the youth to foster entrepreneurialism.

It will also feature a weekly open mic, financial literacy workshops, Narcan training, overdose prevention, racial equity workshops, a food pantry, community meetings, art class, civic engagement, a judge shadow program, mentoring, photography/videography, COVID relief, summer sleep away farming program, creative writing and much more.

Her goal is to have the community center open by the end of the year.

According to Charles, parents have told her about how impactful MAK has been on their kids.

“People are excited about the doors opening again,” she stated.

To donate to the campaign, make checks payable to: Miss Abbie’s Kids, Cashapp: $MissAbbiesKids, Venmo: missabbieskids@gmail.com or Paypal: MissAbbiesKids@gmail.com.

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