Co-founder of Avalon International Breads and Detroit Lover, food enthusiast.
Kathryn Lynch Underwood
City of Detroit City Planning Commission
urban agriculture policy and codes for the City.
Coordinator of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan (ROC-Michigan), an organization of nearly 600 restaurant workers based in Detroit.
Owner of the Heritage Company II Architectural Artifacts and founder of "A Beautiful Detroit Begins with You" www.heritageco2.com
CEO of Alternatives For Girls since 1988. A Detroit resident since 1982, Ms. Good has over 25 years experience managing and directing human services programs serving children and families in Detroit, including directing a child abuse and neglect program just prior to helping to launch the grassroots effort that created AFG in 1987.
Co-founder of Selma Cafe. She organizes and facilitates the Friday morning breakfasts, oversees fundraisers for Selma Cafe activities, writes the website blog, and co-facilitates the hoop house builds with her husband. Lisa is also a full-time school social worker for the Washtenaw County Juvenile Jail, where she started a vegetable and flower garden for the youth in the facility.
Dr. Joel Kahn
Graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Michigan School of Medicine and has been practicing cardiology for over 20 years. He serves as the Medical Director of Employee Wellness, Preventive Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation at the Detroit Medical Center and serves as a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine.
Director of Operations
By Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg
For the third year in a row, Avalon is sharing the love of Valentines Day with those in need through our Kickin’ Out the Love Valentines’ campaign. This year, we are partnering with Kids Kicking Cancer, an inspiring organization with a powerful mission. Founder Elimelech Goldberg tells the story.
Seven years after the death of my first child to leukemia I found myself the director of one of the earliest pediatric oncology camps nestled in the Catskill mountains of New York. The infirmary at Camp Simcha was like a little hospital in the woods. One day I walk into the chemo room to see a five year old little boy being held down by two nurses with a third holding a very large syringe to put into this boy’s port in his chest. He was screaming and struggling. This child was from Texas, far away from Mom and Dad and the doctors that he was used to. The nurses were great but the child refused to be distracted or bribed. He was too afraid.
In the old days we used to teach in the medical schools that there was a pain center in the brain. Today, with the use of functional MRI’s we can evidence an entire neuro-matrix of pain reception. Included within the fray are the parts of the brain that register fear, anger, despondency and other emotional parameters. Clearly, if people don’t feel purpose within their struggles, they will experience a greater level of pain.
This little boy from Texas was anything but calm. The fears of a different environment and a way too practiced experience of being in pain and discomfort promised a horrific experience. Just as the nurse was ready to plunge the syringe into his chest and in the midst of his overwhelming screams, I walked onto that scene. It was so counter intuitive to me that I heard my voice, yell out, “Wait.” The room stopped, even the boy stopped screaming. Everyone looked at me... I had no clue what I was going to say next. “Give me five minutes with this boy”, I petitioned. The nurses were happy to leave and the young patient looked at me as if I was the governor and had just stayed his execution. I walked over to this young boy and said, “ I’m a black belt”. Frankly that doesn’t necessarily mean much, but to that five year old child from Texas, it was clearly a “wow!” “Do you want me to teach you some karate?” I asked. The little boy almost jumped off the table. “In the martial arts,” I explained, “Pain is a message that you don’t have to listen to. You can bring in this amazing karate energy and blow out the pain.” Five minutes later we were doing a simple Tai Chi breathing technique together. Twenty minutes later the nurse pulled out the needle. The little boy looked up. “Did you do it yet,” he asked.
At that moment, Kids Kicking Cancer was born.
Twelve years ago, we began a pilot project with ten little boys and girls at Childrens Hospital of Michigan. Last year we saw over 2,200 children in the US, Canada and Europe. As we are now without the federal funds that originally supported our Detroit program, we are feverishly looking for friends and supporters to make certain that we continue to help the children in our community beyond their pain.
Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg or "Rabbi G." as the children fondly refer to him, is a black belt who lost his first child to leukemia. In founding Kids Kicking Cancer he is dedicated his daughter's memory to helping ease the pain of very sick children while empowering them to heal physically, spiritually and emotionally.
The Dorn family is a Cass Corridor institution. They have lived in the neighborhood for over 40 years, raising children (including non-biological kin), keeping the faith and generally raising the happiness bar wherever they go.
Pat and Fran were two of our first customers. They got stuck on Scallion Dill bread and never looked back. Deemed "the mayor of the Cass Corridor" Pat's unwavering commitment to keeping our neighborhood accessible has resulted in the successful Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation's low and moderate-income housing developments.
So it is no surprise that Jessica, part of the Dorn clan, has been an Avalon customer for a greater percentage of her life than anyone else we know. In fact, Jessica has been at every Avalon Holiday Cookie Decorating Party since the first in 1997, when she came in Grandma Fran's arms. Since then, she has waddled in as a toddler, came with wide eyes as a pre-schooler and quietly decorated cookies while a student at Detroit Public Schools. Last Sunday, as a high school freshman, Jessica helped the younger children at her fifteenth cookie decorating party. We share her family's pride in her growth.We've grown too. Since Jessica was a baby, Avalon has gone from 4 to 45 employees, from 100 to 1000 customers per day and from the "new kid" on the block, to one of the elder businesses watching in amazement as dozens of new enterprises sprout up around us. As the frenzy of our busiest holiday season ever (thank you avalonbreads.net!) begins to calm down, we are mindful of both the blessings in our wonderful community as well as the growing needs of many. For every Jessica, there is a girl who lacks the support of healthy family and community. We invite you to join us again this year in supporting Alternatives For Girls, one of the many worthy organizations in Detroit that serves women and girls in need. While you count your blessings tonight, amidst the comfort of your loved ones (and hopefully Avalon stollen!), please make a tax-deductible contribution to Alternatives for Girls. At www.alternativesforgirls.org or by mail to: AFG, 903 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48208-2365 .
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We thank you for your support and wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.
Eat Well, Do Good.
Ann and Jackie