DETROIT, MI — It was a true labor of love.
For more than 40 years, Erica Wright has directed her charity — and its mission of guiding young people — out of her home near West Side Academy in Detroit.
Her service to others has sometimes meant forgoing her own yard work and other projects such as clearing out and organizing the basement of her nonprofit. (more…)
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.”
Southfield — The project was special from the start.
More than a half-dozen residents from Angels’ Place — the nonprofit that A Time to Help supported Saturday in Southfield — welcomed the volunteers and stayed until the end, working alongside the group constructing games and painting banners.
For 25 years, Angels’ Place has provided residential homes, community living, support and day programs for persons with developmental disabilities. The nonprofit was founded by five mothers concerned about the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and the needs of their families.
It was ATTH’s first project at Angels’ Place in two years.
“This is one of the most important projects I’ve done this year,” said longtime ATTH volunteer John Boyda. “We have the charity we’re working for, working with us.”
Led by S.A.Y. Detroit and ATTH founder Mitch Albom, and Albom’s radio show co-host Ken Brown, the group worked in the backyard of one of Angels’ Place’s residential homes. It was ATTH’s last project of the summer before resuming in September. The date and location of the next project will be announced in mid-August.
“I really admire the way that he uses his voice to find the people to go to where the most help is needed,” Angels’ Place volunteer coordinator Dawn Bradley said of Albom. “Seeking out need is really what he does, and figuring out how to get it done. We appreciate all the you did for us today.”
When the S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center at Lipke Park reopens after the Fourth of July, the students enrolled for the summer session will enjoy a fresh start — in more ways than one.
Nearly 40 A Time to Help volunteers spent last Saturday morning (June 24) giving the inside of the facility a scrub-down, while another group tackled the center’s vast campus, including weeding and picking up trash along the fence lines. (more…)
Royal Oak — As scores of patrons waited in line Saturday (May 20) to visit the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, more than two dozen A Time to Help Volunteers made their way behind the building to face the project that awaited them at the Detroit Zoo: Spreading thousands of pounds of landscaping rocks.
How’s that song go? Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Led by S.A.Y. Detroit founder Mitch Albom and his radio show co-host, Ken Brown, the crew worked diligently for nearly three hours clearing debris, shoveling rocks into wheel barrels and, finally, spreading the rocks around shrubs and trees to beautify the area behind the center.
“This group is awesome,” said Matthew Lapshan, who leads the Detroit Zoo’s landscaping staff. “I can’t believe how much they can get done in a short period of time. They went right to work.”
The fellowship among the volunteers is one of the reasons Donna Mesyn of Clinton Township has been supporting ATTH for the last 15 years.
“Of all my experiences, volunteer people are the greatest to be around,” Mesyn said. “I love ATTH. I love we’re getting something accomplished, and the friendships I’ve made. But the best thing is that we don’t have to look for the work to do; it’s assigned to us because of Mitch and his great organization, and the time they put in. It’s a fun way to spend a Saturday.”
The painters were on rooftops and ladders. The other crew members filled a dumpster with debris that had been littering a two-block area around Cass Community Social Services’ campus in Highland Park.
The common thread was that they were all volunteers — more than two dozen strong — and all members of Mitch Albom’s A Time to Help team that answered the call to service last Saturday (April 8) to help Cass Community’s Tiny Homes neighborhood. (more…)