INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A community center opened up this month on the far east side of Indianapolis, and the founder says its goal is to help shift the idea of just surviving to one of thriving.
The Ross Center is a vision of The Ross Foundation that’s come to fruition.
Born and raised on far east side, Dee Ross had wished for a community center. He’s created the space for others. “No community deserves to fight for the basic needs. I feel like a lot of these types of outlets are aligned with the basic needs of the community.”
The center has a big focus on youths, with a library packed with cultural reading selections, a creative art room, learning space, and a recording studio.
“We want to teach them how to produce. We want to teach them how to engineer. We want to teach them how to record and express themselves through poetry,” Ross said. “We don’t want them to just be a safe space for them to come and record. We want to teach them mechanics of music and the history of music.”
“We cannot talk about thriving if we’re stuck in surviving,” Ross added.
For people facing poverty, drug use, and desperation, the path out isn’t always clear, and the resources often few. Ross said, “There’s a big gap out here, especially with a lot of overdoses. That’s happening every single year, especially during this pandemic. The Black community mental health has risen.”
To address health needs, the center is a Narcan distribution site, and a testing location for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
“We want to be a resource to our community but we also want to be a pillar in our community,” Ross said.
The community center’s operators are putting together additional programs, and are looking for volunteers. They’ll have a volunteer callout at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The Ross Foundation is at 8901 E. 42nd St., which is near the intersection with North Post Road.