Rebuild in North St Louis

Rebuild Foundation

Funding Received: 2013
St. Louis, MO
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
August 6, 2014

By Vanity Gee

The last several months have been busy, transitional, challenging, and rewarding all at once for Rebuild. In March, Rebuild welcomed a new Program Manger for Hyde Park. While this brought new and interesting programming to 1415, it also presented great challenges for neighborhood youth, for their families, and for the existing relationship Rebuild had with the community as a whole. Throughout the transition, we have strived to maintain consistent schedules and programs and have held multiple community gatherings and one-on-one meetings to discuss Rebuild’s transition and upcoming plans. We have learned building relationships is slow, intentional, and important to our work, which is imperative both to our short-term and long-term success.


Despite some hiccups, Rebuild-Hyde Park continues to move forward. We implemented the Urban Music Program (UMP) that is held three days a week for youth ages seven and older. Since its second week of programming, UMP has pulled in at least 8-10 core participants per session (and at many times upwards of 15-20), making it a very popular program. We still host Open Studio on Saturdays. Our next large program this summer is our Art & Design Camp in July, in which our youth will help design and build an outdoor learning space.

Indoor Fun

Recent Wins
1. We have entered a partnership with a neighboring school, Most Holy Trinity Catholic School, to implement arts programming during their school day. The programs will run for the 2014-15 academic year and will connect to some of our afterschool programs.

2. Our Urban Music Program is new, but has been rewarding for the youth and instructor since the second week of the program. It is one that we will likely continue in the coming school year.

3. We have had many new children attend programming at Rebuild consistently over the past several months. This means we are gaining a positive reputation in the community amongst the youth and their families.

4. We have had increased attendance at community events by parents and other community adults. To maintain and grow adult participation in Hyde Park, adult programming for the Fall season is in planning stages.

She Reads

About a week ago, Rebuild-Hyde Park suffered a burglary in which most of our equipment for the Urban Music Program was stolen. In addition, our property was tagged with graffiti by the same youth. It was frustrating because Rebuild and our neighbors are quite certain we know who did it, but have little proof to take to law enforcement. The youth who committed the theft and vandalism have not participated in Rebuild programming, but obviously know of our work in the community. While the incidents were unfortunate and a setback for our youth, they came from a positive place; if the work Rebuild did in Hyde Park was not held in high regard, the teens would not have been aware of what we’re doing—and therefore aware of our equipment—in the first place. With success (however small) comes notoriety, and with notoriety comes increased exposure and vulnerability. It’s something all nonprofits, large or small, established or new, have to understand and manage.


As mentioned earlier, the leadership transition in Hyde Park has challenged many of our established relationships in the community. The recurring issue that arose from conversations is that neighbors were left out of our decision to change leadership in Hyde Park. Because the work we do is steeped heavily in community feedback and participation, many of our neighbors wondered—and some outright demanded to know—why they were not a part of the decision-making process.

This leads Rebuild to consider the aspect of inclusion in our work. When and how do we include stakeholders in the day-to-day administration of Rebuild? And what does it mean for our decision-making processes?