5 organizations making a difference in Woodlawn

woodlawnmural 1 5 organizations making a difference in Woodlawn
This mural was designed with and painted by the community in Woodlawn. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Five organizations in the Woodlawn community spoke about their community efforts on a panel hosted by the Rotary Club of Birmingham on Wednesday, June 1. From Christ Health Center to Woodlawn United, they are creating change and rejuvenating this historic community. Read on to learn more about their efforts. 

The Woodlawn Effect

Woodlawn Panel
From left to right. Mashonda Taylor, executive director of Woodlawn United, Carol Butler, executive director of Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation, David Fleming, president and CEO of REV Birmingham, YWCA Central Alabama CEO, Dr. LaRhonda S. Margas and Dr. Robert Record, CEO and resident faculty of Christ Health Center. (Camille Womack / Bham Now)

The Woodlawn Effect panel invited leaders of five non-profits—either Woodlawn-based or partnered organizations that work to improve the community and its infrastructure—to speak about their efforts. 

Meet Demitri Carpenter

Demitiri Campbell 1 5 organizations making a difference in Woodlawn
Demitri Carpenter is a leader for change in his community. (Demitri Carpenter)

Demitri Carpenter is a Woodlawn resident who has benefitted from such efforts and through community involvement worked his way up to Chief Culture Officer for Christ Health Center. 

About Christ Health Center 

Christ Health Center opened in the city of Woodlawn in 2009. Their founder and CEO, Dr. Rex Record, saw there was a need in the community for proper healthcare. 

“We had a major inclination toward Eastern Birmingham and specifically Woodlawn but also looked at opportunities across the city. Neighborhoods and potential clinic locations that seemed to fit didn’t work. Out of nowhere, the opportunity in Woodlawn presented itself. There was a community in great need of healthcare that had such obvious potential to be a beacon of hope to our entire city.”

Dr. Robert Record, CEO and founder, Christ Health Center 

The community association president, Mr. Arnold King, welcomed them, and the center has been thriving ever since. 

Genuine relationships foster change

Many residents have benefitted from Christ Health Center’s work. Demitri Carpenter, a lifelong Woodlawn resident, is one of them. 

“We met in the front yard of the clinic when he was 17, and I told him, ‘God has a plan for your life.’ Something clicked, and he gave me the major gift of a little trust.”

Dr. Robert Record, CEO and founder, Christ Health Center

Demitri met Dr. Record when he decided to take a shortcut home from school one day that led him through the Christ Health Center’s front yard. He ran into Dr. Record who told him how they wanted to help the Woodlawn community by giving them access to affordable healthcare. 

Reaping the benefits of the seeds that were sown

Demitri Doc Rex and Mentees 5 organizations making a difference in Woodlawn
Dr. Record (far left), Demitri’s mentees (middle) and Demitri Carpenter (far right) (Demitri Carpenter)

Two weeks after their initial interaction, they ran into each other again at The Dream Center located in Woodlawn. From then, a strong mentorship grew over the course of more than a decade. That mentorship encouraged Demitri to work his way up from secretary to Chief Culture Officer at Christ Health Center. 

Demitri was so moved by the mentorship of Dr. Record that he has now mentored over 300 young men in his community. 

“Real life change happens in the context of relationship, and authentic relationship shapes all parties involved.”

Dr. Robert Record, CEO and Founder, Christ Health Center  

Other Woodlawn Organizations making a difference

  • Woodlawn United revitalizes and transforms the Woodlawn community in the areas of community wellness, mixed-income housing and education while equipping its residents to become leaders. 
  • Rev Birmingham specializes in economic development and place-based restoration by creating commercial business districts. 
  • Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation promotes economic development in the state of Alabama by creating “vibrant” communities through transformative and sustainable programs.
  • YWCA Central Alabama’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women through economic development programs.

These organizations, in partnership with each other, the Christ Health Center and Woodlawn residents have worked to improve and revitalize the community. They aim to provide access for residents in the areas of affordable housing, healthcare, education and showcasing local businesses at the Woodlawn Marketplace.  

Visit the organizations’ websites if you’d like to get more involved in Woodlawn community projects. 

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Camille Womack
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