History

22 Years of Building Stronger, Better Neighborhoods!

CHARISM is celebrating its 22nd anniversary in 2016! It all started when CHARISM was created in 1994 by five local churches and Community Homes, a subsidized housing complex located near McCormick Park, to provide programming to low-income families in the neighborhood. As refugee families began settling in this neighborhood during the mid- to late-1990s, the needs of the community shifted and CHARISM also began to offer programs to serve these New American families, such as English, sewing, and computer classes.

Ten years after beginning efforts to build a strong community in the McCormick Park neighborhood, CHARISM was approached by the City of Fargo Planning Office to offer similar programs in an additional Fargo neighborhood with similar needs.  In August 2004, CHARISM opened the doors of the Stonebridge location to serve this south Fargo neighborhood as well. In addition to our youth programs, this location included a “Multicultural Hub” where New American businesses could affordably lease space and use common areas for events.

In August 2013, after 10 years in this neighborhood and having sufficiently met the mission that brought us to South Fargo, CHARISM returned to its roots in the McCormick Park neighborhood full-time. This is where you will find us today!

CHARISM is unique is its neighborhood-based approach – our offices and programs are purposely located within walking distance of the families we serve. This lets us be a part of the neighborhood and see first-hand how we can help support our neighbors and build a stronger Fargo.

CHARISM is special in its approach to youth and families.  We do not just offer a safe place for children to be after school or during the summer, we also get to reinforce what they are learning in school and teach them new skills. Our mentors and staff provide educational support by helping with homework and academic activities, but they also model social skills, teach positive decision-making, and become someone a child knows cares about them.

CHARISM focuses on community outreach, to help neighbors get to know each other and build a sense of trust and respect. CHARISM loves to connect our neighbors with other community organizations and groups, too – CHARISM wouldn’t exist without collaboration with groups like Project English and NDSU Extension! We’re always seeking ways to connect our neighbors with the community outside of their immediate neighborhood, and we also love to bring in programs right to the neighborhood to increase access to these resources.

CHARISM realizes that making a difference in the lives of the people we serve is a community effort, we couldn’t do it without the help of some wonderful partners! We partner with others in to build the strongest community that we can. We work closely with the Fargo and West Fargo Public Schools, the Fargo Park District, the Fargo Police Department, colleges, churches, and numerous other organizations in Fargo. We hope you will help us continue in our efforts to build stronger neighborhoods with opportunities for all neighbors to reach their goals and potential!