Nu Development aims to give back to the community

Cimarron and Dosali Reed (Staff photo by PYO interns Kristine Royster and Christian Lawrence)

When Dosali Reed-Bandele and Cimarron Reed first met in the late 1990s, they were in college with Reed-Bandele attending Livingstone College and Reed at Saint Augustine University.

“I was visiting a mutual friend at St. Augustine’s and we lost touch. A year later we saw each other at Black College Day in Raleigh — and the rest is history,” said Reed-Bandele.

The Reeds (standing in background) address an open house meeting of the Durham Black Business Chain at the Nu Development Community Center. (Staff photo by PYO interns Kristine Royster and Christian Lawrence)

The Reeds (standing in background) address an open house meeting of the Durham Black Business Chain at the Nu Development Community Center. (Staff photo by PYO interns Kristine Royster and Christian Lawrence)

They never would have thought that they would one day be running a community center as a husband and wife couple and enjoying it. Career educators and parents to four children, the Reeds said that they always wanted to find a location to extend their love for the community.

Enter Nu Development Community Center, located in Phoenix Square off Fayetteville Street in the Hayti District.

A new visitor to Phoenix Square may only see abanodoned businesses, but you can also find hope in restaurants, barbershops and a bail bondsman that still call the area home base.

But with a closer look, visitors will see the Nu Development community center tucked in one corner.

Established in 2013, the community center is a place where kids, adults and seniors can participate in extracurricular activities like yoga, tutoring and line dancing, as well as events like lectures and movie night.

Other events Nu Development hosts include workshops about healthy lifestyles, financial literacy and book readings.

The husband-wife pair said they decided to create the center because they always had the idea of helping kids.

“From past experiences we felt that this community really needed Nu Development,” said Reed.

Reed said, although there are other community centers in the area such as W.D. Hill, Holton and John Avery Boys and Girls Club, Nu Development caters to other demographics like seniors and hosts activities like yoga and most recently, line dancing to keep everyone active,

As educators, both have worked in teaching for years; the Reeds view educating the community as a way of uplifting everybody. For example, each May Nu Development hosts an expunging “clinic” to help people with criminal records get past convictions erased.

According to, an organization working to help convicted felons find work and housing, expunging a felony conviction literally wipes that case from the public record. A person can then honestly say they have not been convicted of a felony and can then have an open door to finding gainful employment.

Nu Development is hosting its next expunging clinic Thursday, May 19, at 6 p.m. The clinic is usually held annually on Malcolm X’s birthday.

“We found a need in our community to help those that have offenses on their records get support,” said Reed-Bandele.

“The common setbacks for those who don’t get their records expunged are lack of employment, public benefits, educational services, child custody and housing,” she said.

In addition to these heavy topics and workshops like expunging clinics, other examples of Nu Development uplifting the community include book signings and readings for young children.

“We had an author from Charlotte, Frank Edwards, come to read to kids, “ said Reed-Bandele. “That’s always a popular event.”

Edwards is the author of the Jupiter Strong book series – a group of African-American centered books that focus on rebuilding family values.

            Reed said that the readings, workshops and activities for children have had a “positive effect” on kids and that they keep coming back.

“It’s impacted them all in one way or another,” he said. “We always hope it’s on the positive side.”

The Reeds said that while most of their programs are free, occasionally there is a fee such as when people want to rent the center for their own events.

Nu Development also acts as a gathering place for various events put on by community members. People tend to use the facility for health workshops, religious services, lectures, a girls group, fitness and an upcoming summer fashion camp.

People interested in learning more about Nu Development should contact the Reeds at

Reed-Bandele said they have a motto at Nu Development – “taking care of our future.”

She said she hopes to continue providing lessons and encouragement to the community person-by-person and kid-by-kid each day.

She said, “We want to help our community become greater than what it presently is.”