In 2010, NDN Co-Executive Directors Amy Zoe Knapp and Andre Philippe Perrin started NDN as a way to give the children on the Near West Side of Chicago opportunities to have healthier and productive lives and to help them break the cycle of poverty in the community. They noticed three areas that needed to be addressed: the need for more exercise for the children in the community, the need for access to healthy food options and the need for the children to significantly improve their reading ability.
So, they set about finding solutions for each of those problem areas. To address the issue of the lack of exercise, NDN started the Summer Running Program as away to combat the chronic presence of childhood obesity in the community. To address the problem of a lack of access to fresh produce, NDN did two things: First, we started an organic community garden where community residents could grow and harvest their own fresh vegetables; also NDN spearheaded a petition drive—collecting over 2,000 signatures in support of bringing Pete’s Fresh Market to the neighborhood. NDN’s efforts culminated in Pete’s Fresh Market coming to the Near West Side, ending a 40 year food desert in our community.
To address the problem of the children in our community having reading levels 2 to 3 grade levels below where they should be, NDN started a Literacy Program to work one on one with children improving their reading comprehension and vocabulary. NDN is committed to improving the lives of children on the Near West Side. We will continue to have high expectations for our children and challenge them to achieve great things.
Andre Philippe Perrin, Co-Executive Director
Amy Zoe Knapp, Co- Executive Director
Board of Directors