They say, “it takes a village to raise a child, […] I felt like was being raised by a village.” Danyelle's story is a great example of neighbors coming together to ignite a thriving, powerful, and connected community.
Not only has Danyelle Brock (38) lived in the neighborhood her entire life; she has lived in the same house since she was 5 years old. Ms. Brock, her husband, Jason, and her three children, Tremerell (15), Lailah (9), and Jason (8), live on the upper floor of the very home that her parents, Tremerell and Michael, have lived in since 1984. Growing up, Ms. Brock remembers enjoying the outdoors and spending time with the other kids in the neighborhood. She recalls, “Most adults looked out for the safety and well-being of all youth who were playing outside.” If a child was misbehaving, “they did not ignore it, they spoke up and, as a child, you listened.”
As a kid, Ms. Brock often went to the Avis Wright Center and the Sherman Park Boys and Girls Club (now called Mary Ryan Boys and Girls Club). These community centers gave her a great sense of community because most of the neighborhood kids spent their time there as well. She also remembers attending the “Warning Games,” a competitive young adult activity, held at some of the Milwaukee Public High Schools. Her childhood was filled with great neighborhood activities and community based fun.
As an adult, she has been active in the community, participating in several community-oriented activities, block club meetings, and community cleanups. Her work for Sherman Park extends to the Sherman Park Community Association (SPCA) and the Center Peace Neighborhood Council. When talking about her work and volunteering for the community, she stated, “I enjoyed every minute because I had the opportunity to wear many hats, network, and engage with the community. My job was never done.” Her interaction with the community stems from a belief that holding conversations with individual residents in the community is the “only way a person will have the opportunity to get to know their neighbors.”
Her view of the community has changed quite a bit over the years. Her children don't have the same outdoor opportunities that she had when she was a kid because she and her husband “fear for their safety” and observe that there is a “lack of positive parental engagement.” When asked about things she believes should change about the community, her response boiled down to one overarching theme: the mindset of community residents. She feels as though people in the neighborhood lack self-designated power. What people need to realize is that there is power in numbers, power in the people. Ms. Brock explains, “we control what our environment will be and can be, and we need to show pride in the area we live in, whether we own or rent the property.”
(Left to right) Michael (dad), Danyelle, and Tremerell (mom). Photo provided by Tremerell Robinson.