News & Updates from S.A.Y. Detroit

Michigan Masons Strengthens Commitment To S.A.Y. Detroit

Michigan Masons Strengthens Commitment To S.A.Y. Detroit

Charity in, charity out.

Proving its commitment is stronger than ever, members of the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation presented S.A.Y. Detroit its second installment check of $500,000 on Wednesday (Nov. 8).

Led by Michigan Masons Grand Master Josh Woodwyk, a team of Masons representatives — including past Grand Master Bill Finkel, and Walt Wheeler, executive director of the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation — spent part of the afternoon visiting the S.A.Y. Play Center at Lipke Park, one of S.A.Y. Detroit’s major programs.

The group met many members of the center, including a trio of young women who debuted a song that they helped write called “Let’s Love’’ accompanied by Notes for Notes program director Dustin Slater on the keyboard.

S.A.Y. Detroit founder Mitch Albom and S.A.Y. Play executive director Mike Tenbusch guided the Michigan Masons — who are in the second-year of a long-term partnership with the nonprofit — on a tour of the facility, and updated the group on S.A.Y. Detroit’s progress during the past year. The group was also presented with an autographed Matthew Stafford football.

“It was terrific hearing the students tell their personal stories about what the center means to them,” Woodwyk said.

Woodwyk and Wheeler later joined Mitch Albom’s radio show as guests, broadcasted live on Wednesday night from the S.A.Y. Play Center.

Thank you Michigan Masons!

A Time to Help December 2017: S.A.Y. Detroit / The Salvation Army Christmas Party

A Time to Help December 2017: S.A.Y. Detroit / The Salvation Army Christmas Party

A Time to Help’s largest volunteer event of the year is right around the corner. Come join Mitch Albom on Saturday, Dec. 2 to help host our annual holiday party for shelter residents and their children at The Salvation Army Harbor Light in Detroit.

With the help of a generous public, the A Time to Help party gives shelter residents a heartwarming and memory-making experience. We will provide the mothers an opportunity to “shop” at a gift store stocked with donated new clothing and toiletries, along with toys for Santa to distribute. The morning will also be filled with fun activities that our volunteers will supervise for the children, including face painting, dancing, caricature drawings, children’s crafts, games and more. The popular “relaxation zone’’ returns again this year for mothers to receive free manicures and massages. So, too, does the opening breakfast snack followed by a fabulous pizza luncheon sponsored by Shield’s Pizza. And of course, the highlight of the celebration will be a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Among the new additions this year will be performances by “Patrick the Magician’’ for the families to enjoy.

Please join us!

Date: Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017

Time: 8 am – 12:30 p.m. Volunteers are asked to arrive by 8 am to check in, help set up and decorate, and receive their assignments. The party will start at 9:30 am.

Location: Ellen A. Thompson Center at The Salvation Army Harbor Light, 3737 Humboldt, Detroit 48208 | Map

What to Bring: All volunteers are asked to bring items to donate to stock the holiday store. This is where shelter residents will “shop’’ for gifts for their children and themselves. We encourage each volunteer to purchase at least one life-skills toy such as Legos or educational and family games, and one clothing or toiletry item. Gifts are to be unwrapped to make sure that each child and parent receives the appropriate and safe new gifts.
Gift Items Requested:

For women: The shelter is requesting nighttime clothing — such as nightgowns and two-piece PJ’s — so we are making it a pajama party at the holiday store! The size range requested is small to 3X. Other items to consider donating for the moms include body wash, deodorant, lotion and pump body spray (no aerosol  sprays, please).

Children’s clothing: Pajamas, or other nighttime clothing such as sweat pants and sweat shirts. The ages of the children range from infants to age 14.

Toys: All toys will be sorted by age group in “Santa’s Workshop’’ near the holiday store, and then bundled and taken to Santa for distribution after his surprise arrival. We are asking for life-skills and educational toys, but age-appropriate electronics for the older children, including ear phones, are OK. The age groups are infants to age 3; children ages 4 to 7; 8 to 11, and 12 to 14.

Another Donation Request: We want to make all of the party rooms and the hallways super festive this year, so if you have any extra holiday decorations to donate or bring for us to borrow for the event — such as wall decorations, holiday lights, centerpieces, etc — that would be great. Please make sure to put your name on your decoration if you’re not donating.

Other Important Information: We are asking all volunteers to refrain from taking photos of the shelter residents/guests and their children unless you know they’ve signed a consent form. It is paramount that we protect their privacy. In addition, The Salvation Army has implemented “Safe From Harm’’ rules for volunteers that apply to their campus. The guidelines will be emailed to each registered volunteer the week of the event.


Volunteers Needed: 75

Higgins Park is Born!

Higgins Park is Born!

City of Detroit, S.A.Y. Detroit, and Cooper Standard Collaborate to Construct Community Playground, Strengthen Neighborhood.

DETROIT, MI — October 11th. In a continuing effort to revitalize city neighborhoods and beautify the community, the City of Detroit teamed with the Cooper Standard Foundation and S.A.Y. Detroit’s Working Homes/Working Families to build a playground at Higgins Park.

Nearly 120 Cooper Standard volunteers spent more than five hours building a playground, located at 9200 Olivet Street, Detroit, 48209 where Higgins Elementary once stood. On hand were Mayor Mike Duggan and Mitch Albom.

Together with S.A.Y. Detroit and the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, Cooper Standard has led a transformative effort in the city strengthen to neighborhoods, one block at a time, by refurbishing formerly abandoned houses through S.A.Y. Detroit’s Working Homes/Working Family charity. Over the past two years, the foundation — and the employees of Cooper Standard — have added the construction of new playgrounds to its efforts for families in these communities.


S.A.Y. Clinic Celebrates Residents, Attracts New Patients, at Health Fair

S.A.Y. Clinic Celebrates Residents, Attracts New Patients, at Health Fair

HIGHLAND PARK, MI — For more than two hours Saturday (Sept. 16), the parking lot just outside the doors of the S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic was transformed into a vibrant gathering spot for the community.

Called “Healthy Food = Healthy Women,’’ S.A.Y. Detroit hosted its first women’s health fair and open house to increase its outreach and visibility in one of metro Detroit’s most-challenged neighborhoods while also celebrating the good work the clinic has done for the community for the past nine years.

The S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic, which is located at 211 Glendale Avenue, between Woodward and Hamilton, was established in 2008 by S.A.Y. Detroit founder Mitch Albom as the nation’s first free medical clinic for homeless and uninsured women and children. Operated by the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, the clinic records more than 4,000 patient visits annually.

Area residents who attended the free event – which was run by 20 members of Albom’s A Time to Help volunteer team — were treated to a continental breakfast sponsored in part by Avalon International Breads and Forgotten Harvest. Henry Ford Health System provided free blood pressure and BMI testing, while SASHA Center had a booth set up to distribute information about its sexual assault services nonprofit.

In addition to those donations, S.A.Y. Detroit would also like to thank Dr. Joel Kahn’s GreenSpace Café in Ferndale for distributing free vegetables; My Community Dental Centers for its free giveaways; Smiggins the Clown for entertaining and painting children’s faces; Dr. Richard Keidan of Detroit2Nepal Foundation for his assistance in organizing the event, and the Cooper Standard Foundation for its longtime sponsorship of the clinic.

“Today was a fantastic meeting of our staff, our volunteers, some previous patients and a lot of potential new patients,” Albom said. “We were amazed at how many people still didn’t know about our little gem here, but we’re really pleased at how pleased they were once they found out what it was and I think this will spread the word about our clinic. We also spread the word about healthy eating, and we introduced a lot of people who had never met each other before to one another, which is the best thing you can do.”

Dr. Peggy Richardson, the S.A.Y. Clinic’s medical director, and Dr. Keyshia Covington took residents and guests on tours of the clinic. Chris Skellenger of  Buckets of Rain — an urban garden nonprofit — also informed visitors of its program, which provides homeless shelters with free produce and other food, and has one of its main gardens across the street from the clinic.

“We are trying so hard to let people know in the neighborhood and beyond what we are doing at the clinic,” Richardson said. “We have specialty care for our patients who do not have insurance. Everything that we have is free of charge for them.’’

Albom added: “We were blessed with great weather and this is exactly the kind of outreach that we want to do. We just don’t want to be inside our clinic, inside our doors, we want to be outside our doors telling our community that we can help them and we’re here for them — and we accomplished that today.”

S.A.Y. Detroit Celebrates DRMM Graduation with Giveaways

S.A.Y. Detroit Celebrates DRMM Graduation with Giveaways

Mitch Albom was on hand to represent S.A.Y. Detroit at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries graduation ceremony on August 25th. The annual graduation ceremony is for DRMM residents who have successfully completed their program. At this year’s event, two families were surprised with new homes, and another two families were surprised with new vehicles. Albom presented one of the families, the Jenkins family, with a plaque of their new address.

Catch up on the event:

Touring a Special Center Devoted to Michigan’s Veterans

Touring a Special Center Devoted to Michigan’s Veterans

One of the first projects funded by S.A.Y. Detroit after its founding in 2006 was a new commercial kitchen at the Michigan Veterans Foundation. Eleven years later, Mitch Albom joined MVF Executive Director Tyron Chatman on a tour of the new Detroit Veterans Center (4626 Grand River, Detroit), home to 104 veteran residents. In addition to a state-of-the-art kitchen, the center boasts a computer learning lab named and dedicated in Albom’s honor for S.A.Y. Detroit’s longtime commitment to the nonprofit. The learning lab – which is set to open soon — will enable formerly homeless veterans to learn computer literacy and will include job search activities.

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