South Linden: Improving from the Inside Out
After spending three years conducting a community needs assessment in central Ohio, Xenos Christian Fellowship formed Urban Concern in 1991, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Urban Concern is committed to restoring the South Linden neighborhood by empowering students and families to be agents of positive change in our community and the world.
What started out as a grassroots after school program and Bible study, serving just 17 students, has grown to be a beacon of light and transformative power for a community with high crime, unemployment and dropout rates; schools in “Academic Emergency;” and higher than average poverty and teen pregnancy rates.
Serving hundreds of families every year, Urban Concern is fiercely committed to restoring our community through providing strong education, family and community development resources, and the love of Christ.
Urban Concern opened Harambee Christian School in 1998 to provide a high-quality private education for at-risk students. Harambee has since grown to include grades K-7 with students excelling above the national average despite high rates of student poverty.
Urban Concern also operates the adult education initiative, Parent University, which offers GED testing preparation, parenting classes, and financial services. The Mentoring Program pairs students with a dedicated adult friend for academic and personal guidance. Relevant and engaging Bible studies are offered for all ages. And over 20 years later, the original After School Program serves up to 80 students each day.
Harambee is an African word that means, “Come together and move it forward,” which is what Urban Concern strives to do in our community. It is an extraordinary challenge but one we believe is necessary and possible because of God’s unlimited resources, great love for people, and desire to bring justice to the poor.
Our staff and volunteers have received national and local awards for their service to the South Linden community, including The White House’s Point of Light Award, the World Vision Mustard Seed Award, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award, presented by the Columbus Education Association.