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Riding with Pride and Muscle

Riding with Pride and Muscle

Detroit — The SAY Detroit Muscle Crew II was at it again.

On the heels of Albaugh Masonry’s gift of labor in replacing the concrete entrance to the SAY Play Center two weeks ago, another marked improvement took place on Wednesday.

Dennis and Tami Caren, owners of D&T Signs in Wyandotte, outfitted three SAY Detroit passenger vehicles used to transport the children with signage that promotes the nonprofit’s slogan: “SAY Detroit. . . And SAY Something Amazing.”

Tami and Dennis Caren have been members of the Muscle Crew since SAY Detroit founder Mitch Albom started a local chapter in 2017; the “original’’ crew helped rebuild an orphanage/school in Port-au-Prince after the 2010 earthquake. The orphanage eventually was renamed the Have Faith Haiti Mission, which is operated by Albom’s A Hole in the Roof Foundation.

The Muscle Crew is a team of skilled tradespeople who volunteer their labor for projects that benefit SAY Detroit.

The Carens said they’re proud Muscle Crew members who love to give of their time.

“We were looking for a way to volunteer and this is a really good organization,” Tami Caren said. “It makes us feel good to help these kids.”

Mike Tenbusch, SAY Play’s executive director, said he’s beyond grateful for the signage.

“We’re trying to be like a family here, and having the Muscle Crew is like having an uncle who can come in and fix anything,” he said. “Like Dennis (who’s also an electrician) is now trying to help us fix a lighting problem that we have.”

As for having new signage on three of the four formally all-white vehicles, Tenbusch said their members can now ride with more pride in the city.

“Our kids have been riding around in anonymity, and now, well, it truly is amazing — it reinforces who we are,’’ he said.

Braving the Heat for a Tiny Home Neighbor

Braving the Heat for a Tiny Home Neighbor

DETROIT — As always, it was a team effort from the start.

One group assembled on Richton Street, another on Monterey. A third tackled the area near the John C. Lodge Service Drive.

For three hours on Saturday (July 14), more than 30 volunteers from A Time to Help weeded, weed-whacked, swept, shoveled, raked — and much more — to help beautify the area around Cass Community Social Services’ Tiny Homes neighborhood.

It was a robust effort on a hot and humid morning; the group consumed three cases of water by the end of the project. SAY Detroit founder Mitch Albom said he profoundly appreciated the work of the volunteers, especially under the circumstances.

SAY Detroit’s ATTH program has participated in volunteer activities at Cass Community for years, including the last two with projects to benefit the nonprofit’s Tiny Homes: In 2016, ATTH helped create the blueprint for the homes by taping measurements on the floor of Cass Community’s warehouse; in 2017, ATTH painted a tiny home and cleared an area of debris to prepare it for construction.

On Saturday, ATTH made it three in a row with a landscape project spearheaded by Sue Pethoud, Cass Community’s church and community relations liaison.

“Tiny Homes are for poor people, and it’s not just a temporary move, but a chance for economic mobility,”, said Faith Fowler, executive director of Cass Community.

Nearly a dozen volunteers who participated Saturday were ATTH first-timers, including Jane and Terry LaFlamme.

“I love this,’’ Jane LaFlamme said. “I love the camaraderie, that we’re making a difference. We’re trying to give back because we’ve been so blessed.”

Albaugh Masonry Tackles Large Project at SAY Play Center

Albaugh Masonry Tackles Large Project at SAY Play Center

DETROIT — The job wasn’t easy. But then, they rarely are when the work involves laboring outside each day, with temperatures soaring into the 90s – and with no relief in sight.

But Scott Albaugh and his crew from Albaugh Masonry was fulfilling a commitment that he made last year, when he raised his hand to join the Detroit Muscle Crew II and donate his time when he can for a physical project to benefit SAY Detroit.

This time, the project involved replacing the deteriorating front entrance at the SAY Play Center at Lipke Park, an after-school academic enrichment facility for children age 8 to 18, before summer session begins next week.

Albaugh and his brother Greg and son Sam began the work last weekend when they embraced the arduous task of busting up cement that was eight-inches deep.

The work continued with a five-member team on Monday; today (Tuesday) Albaugh was joined by seven others for the concrete pour. The job is scheduled to be completed Wednesday, when the pavers are put in place and the cement is saw cut. The crew also repaired an area in the parking lot.

All told, the job took two full cement truck loads, Albaugh said.

Albaugh was part of the original Detroit Muscle Crew, a group of skilled tradespeople who volunteered to help rebuild the infrastructure of an orphanage that would become the Have Faith Haiti Mission in Port-au-Prince after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

On Monday, Albaugh received a personal phone call from SAY Detroit founder Mitch Albom thanking him for his service.

Albaugh said he likes helping a charity like SAY Detroit because he can “see” exactly where his donation of labor is going. On Monday, he was given a tour of the SAY Play facility.

“It’s been a hot road,” Albaugh said with a smile. “But worth it.”

Thank you, Albaugh Masonry!


Laying the Foundation for Another Community Space

Laying the Foundation for Another Community Space

Last Thursday, June 28th, volunteers gathered in the Morningside neighborhood in the east side of Detroit for another community space rehab, a special project in coordination with S.A.Y. Detroit, Cooper Standard Foundation, The Dow Chemical Company, and the City of Detroit. Since 2016, Cooper Standard volunteers have, in concert with S.A.Y. Detroit’s Working Homes / Working Families, steadily rebuilt Morningside by removing blight and converting public spaces into playgrounds.

For more than six hours, volunteers built a new privacy fence, planted trees, laid mulch, and built a wall for a future mural.

The work of recovery is long-term, and rebuilding the neighborhood is a block-by-block mission. More than nine homes in the area now belong to families in the Working Homes / Working Families initiative, with one of last year’s recipients right down the street from this new park.

Several new homes to be refurbished in the program will also be in the Morningside neighborhood, and we’re gearing up with the Detroit Muscle Crew II for those builds in the coming fall.

A Time to Help Cass Community Social Services – July 2018

A Time to Help Cass Community Social Services – July 2018

Cass Community Social Services is a Detroit-based agency dedicated to providing food, housing, health services and job programs. A Time to Help volunteers will be assisting the nonprofit in a landscaping/grounds maintenance project. We’ll be working at several locations around the campus, including its Tiny Homes community.

Event Details

Date: Saturday, July 14, 2018

Time: 9 am – 12:00 p.m.

Location: We’ll meet at the Scott Building at 11850 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit, 48206, before our project begins | Map

Parking: Plenty available on Woodrow Wilson.

Volunteers Needed: 25

Attire/Other Info: This is an outdoor event, so please dress appropriately. Please bring your own work gloves. We are in need of experienced mowers. Cass Community does have some lawn equipment, but feel free to bring your own gas-powered weed whacker, brooms, rakes, etc. S.A.Y. Detroit will donate heavy duty construction garbage bags and recycle bags for the project.

Sign up:


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