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Daily Inspiration: Meet Tendea Family

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tendea Family. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Since 2015, Tendea Family has worked to operate HUNDREDS of free and transformative programs to truly serve Baltimore’s Black Community!

Chairman Elijah Miles, the founder, and leader of Tendea Family founded Tendea Family on the campus of Morgan State University during the Freddie Gray Uprisings. Sadden and frustrated by the state of the Black community and Baltimore City, Chairman Elijah decided to dedicate his life to changing the community he came from. Quickly members came, programs formed and a new grassroots organization was built.

Tendea is Kiswahili slang for HUSTLE. Hustle is an acronym for our founding principles: Honor, Unity, Sacrifice, Trust, Love, and Excellence

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Housing and funding have been the two biggest obstacles we faced as an organization. We have dedicated men and women that have sacrificed time, money, energy, and jobs for this work, but payment for our members has been slow.

However, we know that as we keep showing up for the people we serve the people will support and show up for us!

Faith has been our strongest weapon through all of this!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Tendea Family is a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing Baltimore’s Black City by operating transformative programs focused on identity, self-improvement, community service, and development.

East Baltimore, specifically the McElderry Park community, has become our central location for community service. Our weekly Community cleanup and giveaways, every Sunday morning, have taken on a life of their own. There we clean the neighborhood and give out clothes, food, and resources to the residents of that community.

We pay youth in the community $50 to intern with us every Sunday and learn the fundamentals of grassroots organizing. With “Our Hood, Our Job” being echoed throughout the streets the community cleanups have become one of our most popular weekly programs.

Community discussions are Sunday night! After the hustle of the Community cleanup, the community comes out to discuss solutions to better solve the issues that plague Baltimore’s Black Community. These conversations happen in many forms i.e. panel discussions, speeches, and group conversations. As the saying goes, “back to the drawing board”, this program has been titled The Drawing Board to discuss all the topics we see in our community and leave with an action plan.

With identity being the core focus of Tendea, every Wednesday space is held for Black men, women, boys, and girls to discuss Black History, culture and identity, manhood, womanhood, and community responsibility. This is a safe space for people to share, vent, and heal from all the trauma they have experienced in their families and community.

More simply put our impact has totaled to more than:

$5000 worth of children’s books given away every year for our Black book giveaway, 2000lbs of trash removed from McElderry Park, 600+ families feed during COVID, and 700+ hrs of Black history taught to the community!

We plan to continue to do our part in building a true community!

Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
The majority of our organization is made up of young people that have decided to dedicate their lives to a work that is extremely creative and adventurous in nature.

The security and predictability from the normal track of going to school, getting a job, moving to a quiet neighborhood, and taking trips have been sacrificed.

The risk of joining Tendea is asking yourself “After I quit my job, and sacrificed time, money, and energy will this all work out.”

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