by Tierra Smith
Hello, Tremonsters. The South Side restaurant’s Game Day Clambake fundraiser to benefit Merrick House will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 22, at The South Side (2207 W 11th Street). We interviewed Merrick House Executive Director Michelle Curry to find out about the annual fundraising football event put on by Sherman Delozier, owner of The South Side.
Tremonster: Michelle, tell us about the upcoming fundraiser.
Curry: This event is the Merrick House Tremont Gameday Clambake, which is taking place on Sunday October 22, at The South Side from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We’re asking that you join us for football, food, and fun. We will be playing corn hole and, of course, no football game is complete without a football pool—$20 per square, and proceeds will benefit you as well as Merrick House.
Tremonster: Tell us about some of the programs at Merrick House.
Curry: Yes—we have four core programs at Merrick House. We have our early childhood education where we serve children from 6 weeks to five-years-old (who, of course, are not kindergarten eligible), and we are currently enrolling. We also have youth leadership and development, where we work with youth six to 18-years-old, and our adult education and career preparation, where we help individuals who have not obtained their high school diploma to pass their high school equivalency exam. Lastly, we have our MomsFirst program, where we work with pregnant women, ensuring that their child reaches their first birthday.
Tremonster: Can you elaborate a little bit more on the MomsFirst program?
Curry: Actually, yes. MomsFirst is a program that is geared towards helping pregnant women. In the MomsFirst program, we enroll pregnant women up until 33 weeks—they’re allowed to stay in the program until their child reaches two years of age—and we basically assist them with any of barriers that they may have (such as domestic violence): making sure they attend their doctor’s appointments; preparing for the birth of their child; ensuring that they have a safe sleep area for the child, that they have items that the child would need. MomsFirst is an awesome program, and we’ve been providing the MomsFirst program for quite some time now.
Tremonster: How long has Merrick House been here, and is there a program you feel is the most impactful for Tremont and its current community members?
Curry: We’ve been a pillar in the Tremont Community for 98 years. All of our programs are impactful. One example that comes to mind would be our afterschool and youth leadership program—in that program, we are a safe haven for youth. As you know, between the hours of three and six are opportune times for youth to be engaged in activities that they shouldn’t, so, at Merrick House, we are a [Cleveland Foundation/Cuyahoga County-sponsored] MyCom Out-of-School Time Site. That means that we’re a safe place for youth to be after school in between those hours of three to six. We offer recreational activities such as basketball, volleyball, and weight lifting. We also do some team-building exercises through our international youth leadership program, and we go on “exposure trips,” where we take the youth on college tours—this year, we went to Washington, D.C. and visited Georgetown University as well as Howard University. In town, our youth, through the Youth Outdoors Program, are visiting the Metro Parks and participating in community service activities, such as cleaning up the parks, team-building activities out there. So, we do a lot of great things here at Merrick House
Tremonster: It sounds like it. Thank you so much, Michelle.
Curry: Thank you. Remember: October 22, The Tremont Merrick House Gameday Clambake—we look forward to seeing you there.
Come out for the Gameday Clambake at The South Side for football, food, and a fun way to support all of the programs at Merrick House. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 22.