When neurosurgeon Jawad Shah talks about giving back to the community of Flint, Exhibit A is the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, as stated in a post on Crain’s Detroit Business.
Dr. Shah bought the 63,000-square-foot Broome building in 2015 for $1. He said helping young people in the community is at the core of what he wants to do as a physician and CEO of Insight Institute for Neurosurgery & Neuroscience, according to the post.
“We are helping young people in Flint,” he said to Crain’s. “It’s the same thing as helping people with brain tumors, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. It’s part of our overall mission.”
Maryum Rasool, the center’s executive director, said the Broome Village was an elementary school built in 1921 that closed in the 1990s and later housed a variety of other businesses. It became the Broome Village in 1995 and then closed in 2012 until Dr. Shah bought it and restored it.
During the early days of the Flint water crisis, the village became one of the first water distribution sites. Dr. Shah and other doctors offered lead testing, and a dermatology clinic was located there to treat skin conditions.
At first, the Broome Village attracted about 30 children. By the end of 2018, word of mouth spread and there were nearly 500 children and 6,000 families participating in the village’s seven after-school programs. They include an after-school program, a summer camp, a sports academy, youth journalism, music, an adult literacy program, and nutrition classes.
“We have kids who have went from failing to having all As within a year,” Rasool said in the story. “We have kids now that understand concepts. They may not be a 4.0 student. But they go to school now, when before they just didn’t want to bother with it because they didn’t know what was going on.”
Dr. Shah said the village also is intended to provide children with a safe zone and to revitalize the neighborhood and community.
“If they need a ride from your house, we will get them here,” he said in the article. “You need food, you need a backpack, you need pencils? The team here does what it takes to help them succeed.”