My Neighborhood - King (CG18)
A sense of community and belonging
by Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
Published in September, 2018
"We would take long walks, and we fell in love with the King neighborhood," said Vasu Ramani. "The nice sidewalks, the mature trees--so beautiful."
A U-M alumna and information technology researcher at the university, Ramani and her husband Raj Jayaraman had tried living in other metro-Detroit communities, but she always wanted to come back to Ann Arbor.
When they moved into this northeast side neighborhood, she recalls, a neighbor hosted a get-to-know-you brunch. Today, they take turns with five neighborhood families to host Friday night dinners.
Living blocks from Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, their daughter Mira, ten, can easily walk to school. Both she and her brother Rishab, fourteen, can bike to Windemere Park.
The children in the neighborhood quickly became friends, and now the parents are friends as well.
The great diversity, multiculturalism, academics, and inclusive spirit at King School also play a big part in the neighborhood's sense of community and pride. Rishab and Mira have participated in Rec&Ed soccer, Girls on the Run, Girl Scouts, Science and Math Olympiad, Academic Games, International Night, the King Learning Garden, and student council. "The children have so many opportunities to be invited to leadership positions at such a young age," Ramani says.
One neighborhood highlight is the annual Memorial Day Parade, where children ride bikes and neighbors gather at Glacier Highlands Park to honor Michigan servicemembers killed in action. "We always stay for the band and then the salute," says Ramani, "And the doughnuts of course."
For Ramani, the King neighborhood is all about community. "We just feel like we belong here."
[Originally published in September, 2018.]
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