One in a series
Lottie B. Curtis was a man of many hats in serving his community and church until he passed away in August 1995.
Curtis served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He grew a community garden in his yard to feed his neighbors. He taught others how to drive and helped them obtain drivers licenses. He also served as deacon, choir member, church sexton and in other important roles at his church. And that's just to name a few.
Two decades later, his good will and service still echo in the community he dearly loved.
In April, the modest 800-square-foot hoouse that once belonged to Curtis was established as headquarters for a nonprofit organization in his name to continue his legacy – The Curtis House.
“He was like a shining star that everybody gravitated toward and wanted to be like,” said nonprofit founder Jeremy Gray of his great grandfather, and added he wanted to celebrate the giving mentality in the community.
Like Mr. Curtis, the nonprofit has intentions of helping the community in a multitude of ways, whether it be free food from the community garden, a creative outlet or helping a neighbor in need.
During the first several months of operation, the nonprofit has already initiated several projects such as a feeding program, sports camps, free haircuts and others.
On Wednesday, the nonprofit held a Graffiti Explosion event at the home for children to unleash their creativity with painting projects.
Later that day, underprivileged children were invited to Christmas at the Curtis House and were given toys and games.
On Saturday, The Curtis House continued the holiday festivities with Breakfast with Santa at Buffalo Wild Wings.
The 63-year-old home still shows characteristics of its age with a segmented layout, laminate flooring and wood paneled walls – but the plan is to transform the home into a more open, welcoming layout that will allow space for gatherings and events, Gray said.
The yard has been leveled for a new community garden, and space has been set aside for the construction of an education building. But the main focus right now is getting the house renovated, Gray said.
“We feel like if we can get the house done, then we can do more activities,” Gray said.
On the first Saturday of each month, a group from The Church of the Highlands comes out to help with various projects at the nonprofit, Gray said. The first Saturday of January, renovations will begin inside the house.
Because the nonprofit has ambitious goals with projects and renovations, advisory board member Tamarcus Milner said volunteers are more than welcome to dedicate their time to accomplish these goals.
“It’s a lot of movement, and it’s going to take a lot of hands on it and time from people,” he said.
Individuals interested in volunteering can contact the nonprofit through a contact form on its website, www.thecurtishouse.org.
If you aren’t able to volunteer but are still interested in helping, monetary donations can also be made through the nonprofit’s website.
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