Highland Park blight redemption project raises more than $250,000

- She turned the pain of losing her son into a rebirth for her community, transforming a Highland Park block into a safe haven for kids.

Charlie LeDuff first shared her story earlier this month as she launched a fundraising campaign for the next phase of her project.

Shu Harris is one step closer to making her dream become a reality.

"I'm looking at all of these people from all over the world," Harris said. "They were really digging our project"

The project is Avalon Village, a sustainable community in Highland Park on Avalon Street.

Harris' Kickstarter campaign exceeded its goal, raising nearly $250,000 in just 30 days.

A fundraiser at American Coney Island also helped raise money. Phase one of Avalon Village will be the "Homework House."

"We're just creating a safe environment for the children," she said. "They can come here in the morning and have breakfast. After they get out of school when they walk in the Homework House they will already smell their meal being cooked, their dinner."

Harris just received a donation of 35 boxes of brand new books for the Homework House.

FOX 2 first brought you Harris' story earlier this month and the story of Avalon Village born out of tragedy. Her 2-year-old son was killed by a hit and run driver.

"So the completion date for phase one is on the day that he died Sept. 23,” Harris said. "We are opening up that day. So it will be nine years exactly"

Harris' advice to others? Never give up.

"Sometimes it is hopelessness and people feel that way when they look at their conditions," she said. "The thing about it is, they have to be more empowered. You have to make some moves sometimes."

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