ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – There are many nonprofits doing great work across Metro Detroit, and Evrod Cassimy is highlighting some of them in a special segment called Your Neighborhood.
Pare Elementary School in St. Clair Shores has been abandoned for six years, but it's now home to eight organizations that have unique purposes.
"Our mission is that no one has to face cancer alone," said Madeline Bialecki of Gilda's Club.
Bialecki is helping people in the neighborhood find ways to cope.
"Individuals, families, anyone who has been touched by cancer," she said. "We provide support grounds, social activities, ways for people to just connect and find support during their cancer journey."
Gilda's Club Lakehouse location is the first of eight nonprofits to meet at the former elementary school. The club moved in after outgrowing its old space.
"We were in an old 7-Eleven," Bialecki said. "It was not ideal."
Down the hall from Gilda's Club are nonprofits such as Wigs 4 Kids, the Kiwanis Shorewood Club, the We Are Here Foundation and Big Family of Michigan, just to name a few.
Bialecki said touching the lives of cancer patients and their loved ones keeps her coming back every day.
"My life was touched by cancer," she said. "My best friend died from brain cancer seven years ago. I can still hear his voice in my head every day. I miss his presence."
She said she has found solace at Gilda's Club and welcomes everyone.
"I just needed a place to grieve, and this place gave me such peace," Bialecki said.