INDIANAPOLIS — It is a vision some six years in the making for a community leader on the far east side. The Ross Center will open this weekend just off the corner of East 42nd Street and Post Road.
“So many different things is going to be coming out of this little seed is gonna blossom,” Ross Foundation founder and CEO, Dee Ross said.
Hope is at the foundation of the center on the Northeast side.
“If you don’t have hope, you don’t have anything,” Whit’ney McTush said. McTush is a member of The Ross Center’s steering committee.
In the days ahead of Saturday’s grand opening, Ross, his team and volunteers were readying the space. The building used to be a daycare.
“I want people to say 'how can I play a role in being a part of this',” Ross said.
The community center is meant for the entire neighborhood — kids, adults and seniors — with a holistic approach focus on mental health, tackling violence and building a sense of community.
Dee said The Ross Center will offer:
- Mental Health and Trauma Counseling
- Vegan Pop-up Restaurant
- Public Library
- Creative Art Room
- Music Studio
- Computers, Copier and Printer
- Community Room for neighborhood meetings
- Home Literacy Courses
- Entrepreneurship Classes
- Zumba and Yoga Classes
- Small Event Space Rental
- After-school lunch program
- Community Garden
- Cooking/ Farming Classes
- Public WiFi
- Touch Screen Resource Map
Shelley Covington recently started teaching health and wellness classes at the center.
“To have something like this be birth in the area that seems to be destined for doom and destruction is a very good positive not only for the area but for the people in the area and the city as a whole,” Covington said.
McTush has known Ross for years. The project for her is personal as well. She was raised on the east side and recently moved back with her kids.
“At this point we kind of have nothing," McTush said. "Everything is being taken away from us, so it means a new start for the community."
The past year for Ross has been one of triumph. He went through the loss of his brother. He also survived a house fire that took his dog and everything he owned. This all the while working with the community to build The Ross Center.
“Even when I’m going through life, I don’t want it to impact my community," Ross said. "I didn’t get in it to satisfy me. I got in it to take care of my community."
The Ross Center will officially open at noon on Saturday. Following the grand opening, the Ross Foundation will host its annual Easter Egg Drop. That is at 1 p.m. behind the center.
“Ultimately, it’s about restoring hope to a hopeless community — restoring mindsets and identity," Ross said. "Letting them know that they matter, they’re seen and we’re going to make sure that we’re going to come out surviving and put in the position to thrive."