Detroit couple form community center focused on education

House of Help offers tutoring, summer camps, fitness, spiritual mentoring programs

DETROIT – The son of a single working mother, Ray Anderson grew up with the men on his block as role models, a position he now holds.

"We're dealing with youth that have an orphaned spirit," Ray Anderson said. "Literally when they go home, they go home to nothing."

Ray Anderson and his wife, Toni Anderson, canvassed their neighborhood in northwest Detroit in an effort to bring the youth off the street. They formed House of Help, a community center that emphasizes the importance of education.

"Like with reading they're four grades behind and because they are so far behind they are embarrassed to even try," said Ray Anderson.

"I think the biggest challenge is providing love and encouragement, and letting them know that they can accomplish whatever they put their minds to," Toni Anderson said.

House of Help offers after-school tutoring, summer camps, health and fitness programs, and spiritual mentoring -- something that many of these kids cannot get at home.

"This is may be a model for the future where church, after school, school, community center may all be in the same place," said Mitch Albom.

"Our goal is to bring back a sense of community," said Ray Anderson. "All of our kids and youth that come here they serve they serve the community. They are learning how to give back."

And they do give back through food distribution, a clothing closet, prayer and other programs that keep residents safe and warm.

"A neighborhood is more than just a collection of streets; it's a sense of responsibility to one another?" asked Albom.

"Yes, definitely," Ray Anderson said.

Putting the "community" in community center, Ray and Toni Anderson are opening their doors to the city's youth in the heart of Detroit.

Heart of Detroit