DALLAS - For Oak Cliff, a non-profit working to change outcomes in the 75216 zip code, will have a new home in a one that has a rich past.
The old historic Moorland YMCA is being repurposed by a community group that’s bringing new purpose for Oak Cliff.
"This building was built for the African American community in Dallas, and the fact that we're able to open our doors the weekend of Juneteenth, which is a time of liberation, jubilee," said Taylor Toynes, co-founder of For Oak Cliff.
The community organization started seven years ago, and will now work to end systemic inequities and oppression in a special place, the Moorland YMCA, which carried out the same work in the 75216 zip code, where the hurdles for residents to reach success are high.
"With the oppression, the hurt, the pain of challenges, the obstacles, the tests all of those things that are upon us," Toynes added.
For Oak Cliff is an alternative to the public hurdles.
"It’s like a very open space for my neighborhood. You know, we don’t have a lot over here. We've got schools, the house, that’s it. It’s the one place you can come and open up with people that you like being around," 16-year-old Devin Smith said.
"They've really helped me out of my shell. I can actually talk to you without stuttering," 17-year-old Olivia Howard said.
And For Oak Cliff assists in overcoming personal hurdles.
"Thanks to Crystal, she would always quiz me, make sure I don’t stutter," Howard said. "And every time I stuttered, she would make me start all over."
Like Toynes, many who work there come from the zip code they are helping, but others are drawn to give because of the good work being done.
"Volunteers are just so attracted by the spirit and energy of the staff, and really all the people who just come together to do amazing special things," volunteer Christian Yaztdanpanah said.
Special things in For Oak Cliff's new home that continues to be a special place.
"Place of transformation, place of liberation, place of love, place of security, place for grace," Toynes added.
While there are hurdles, there’s also hope.
The message from Toynes for Oak Cliff is from the lyrics of a Kendrick Lamar song, "we gone be alright."