The founder and inspirational director of Detroit Parent Collective (DPC) is Krista McClure. DPC began as a wisp of a dream. This dream began unfolding several years ago, as Krista was reflecting on her own life experiences, as well as the lives of other young mothers in Detroit. Meanwhile, she was noticing the lack of programs and services for parents in Detroit, in contrast to those offered in the surburbs, and in other parts of the country, most notably Seattle, Washington. Ultimately, Krista’s dream was to find a way to bring much-needed resources, in a safe space, to support women who are parenting children in Detroit.
As a transplant from California, Krista came to Michigan with her mother and older siblings at the age of nine. She quickly realized that this transition would not be easy for her. Like many children, Krista found that growing up without the presence of her father, was a large gap that she seeked to be filled. During her first few years after arriving to metro Detroit, she had a difficult time identifying who she was and how she fit into the larger community. The struggle of identifying as interracial in a predominantly European American suburban community had its challenges. By the time Krista had entered middle school, she found herself to be a loner, while she was simultaneously being told that she had real leadership potential.
Throughout middle school and entering high school, Krista had a love of sports and the ability to engage with people of all backgrounds and life experiences, including those who didn’t always have access to resources. Then, at the age of fourteen she encountered a situation where she felt there had been a level of trust -- but with a quick turn, soon found herself a victim of sexual assault. By fifteen, Krista had dropped out of high school and seemed to have lost her way. By the time she turned eighteen, she was pregnant with her first child, living in a women’s shelter and uncertain of her future. Despite the financial crisis in Detroit and her lack of education, Krista wanted nothing less than the best for her son, and always held that foremost in her heart and mind. Yet despite great efforts, she could not find a job; in desperation, she followed the lure of dancing for money. She quickly learned, however, that all money isn’t good money. Fortunately, she discovered, through a mentor, the possibility of earning the necessary certifications that would offer her the possibility of working with children in school settings.
While working as a paraprofessional within the Birmingham Public Schools, her heart yearned to help those who, like herself, were faced with obstacles; those who were “at-risk”. So Krista transitioned her focus toward youth in the city of Detroit, and secured a series of positions at several elementary and middle schools. These experiences enabled her to acquire a position alongside the CEO of a rather small, but impactful, non-profit, Excellent Schools Detroit (ESD). Regular interactions with administrators; community stakeholders; children, youth, and parents; city, state, and federal officials; and various experts in the field of education, provided exciting new learning environments for her. Such exposure, together with her keen observation and assessment skills, high energy, and ability and eagerness to learn quickly, meant that she began digging into policy debates, and even began using words such as “education landscape,” “scope of work,” “debacle,” and “notion”. These terms might seem basic, but for someone with a GED, they seemed to open a new world.
After spending several years focusing on helping to support quality education in the city of Detroit, a new job opportunity led Krista to spin off into a new area of interest: urban development and community building, which gave rise to her own entrepreneurial venture, the Detroit Parent Collective.
Actually, Krista’s move from working in the education arena to business development was a strategic one. She had pitched her ideas to non-profits, which did not “bite the bait”, to the point that she decided to venture off with her business concept essentially on her own. She decided her first step was to find a building in which to house her future business.
It was Spring 2016 when Krista approached Mason Holiday in an effort to purchase his beautiful brick-and-mortar storefront at 8418 McNichols, directly across the street from Marygrove College. This location was critical to her because she had grown up on the Marygrove College campus, traveling to and from the institution with her aunt and being involved in numerous activities on site and throughout Detroit. On numerous occasions, Krista tried to reach Mr. Holiday, who eventually suggested that she “pause” and wait to try to purchase the property through the Wayne County Treasury Auction, due to accumulated taxes that were years past due.
Krista was, like most mid-twenty year olds, anxious and impatient. Little did she know that this “pause” was exactly what she needed. In August 2016, Krista’s absent father passed away after a long illness. As the next of kin, she shifted her investment dollars, originally borrowed for the purchase of a commercial property, to pay for her father’s funeral expenses. It was only a few weeks later when a soft whisper so gently brushed her ear. This whisper reminded her to check the Wayne County Treasury Auction website -- and, low and behold, there was 8418 McNichols ready to hit the auction block. In a flurry of emails in the final hours of a busy work day, she managed to get the final bid in, and purchased the property across from Marygrove College.
With tears flowing, uncertain if it was her father’s whisper, if it was karma or just plain good timing, she knew that this property was destined to offer her the opportunity to pursue her innovative concept: to create a co-working space with programs for women, children, and elders, from a range of socioeconomic classes. There was still one rather large hurdle: a conjoining building, at 8414 McNichols, which had a private owner. Within one month’s time, Krista was able to negotiate the purchase of 8414 by presenting a market analysis to the owner and convincing him to sell it to her at half its asking price.
As Krista’s dream turned into a whisper and then a reality, she thought more about her past, and the possibilities for the future:
How her own environment and experiences formed her to be the woman she is – and how she wants to share this with others
How a space like her new property might offer women respite in times of discouragement, disillusionment, or despair
How a space like this could offer women access to Wifi to tackle work or job searching, or to read a book or magazine, because her child/ren would be within earshot with quality care
How a space like this would break down barriers among socioeconomic classes, and help bring neighbors and communities together
How a space like this would allow for women to share their concerns, questions and thoughts about parenting, in a safe and non-judgmental environment
How a space like this could really bring to life the philosophy, “It takes a village to raise a child.