Achieving a high school diploma is the goal of women at Mercy Education Project. Here, the Sister’s of Mercy offer southwest Detroit “Moms” the chance to finish their education.
Mitch: What would you say is the biggest two reasons that women in our area don’t finish high school?
Johnnetta: They have a lot of barriers transportation is a barrier and child care is a barrier.
Kathy: But at a certain point usually when the children get into school then they realize ok I need to do something about this.
And that’s where Mercy Education Project comes in. Classes in math, language arts, social studies and science are offered, all free of charge. It’s a no pressure environment at this all women’s school.
Kathy: So they get to be themselves they are with other women who are all supportive of each other.
Johnnetta: The students that we get a lot of times they were in other programs and they said it just didn’t work for them but when they came to Mercy Education Project they were like this is home.
To date over 200 women have received their GED. But GED does not mean E-N-D.
Johnnetta: Whether you want to go to college the workforce directly or into a training program what we are doing is tailor making a program for them.
Which helps each student build a foundation for a brighter future following graduation.
Kathy: Typically we will have anywhere in between eight to 20 or 24 students who will be graduating.
Mitch: I bet they appreciate the diplomas more than the average high school student?
Kathy: Oh yes those were well earned.
Mercy Education Project is breaking down the barriers to education right here in the heart of Detroit.
That buzzing you hear is the sound of honey bees hard at work. Detroiters Timothy Paule Jackson and Nicole Lindsay fell in love with all things “Bee” when Tim had trouble kicking a nasty cold.
Tim: And I was trying everything to shake the cough and until I came across the power of local raw honey and after consuming that I noticed a big difference in my health.
Supply for local raw honey in Detroit is scarce so the pair figured they could do something about it.
Tim: Instead of going hours and hours away to look for a bee farm we thought we would bring it right to the city. We have so many vacant lots that have so many different types of wildflowers these are great places for pollinators.
Nicole: There isn’t people who are spraying chemicals or getting rid of their weeds but at Detroit Hives we believe weeds is the bees knees
Mitch: You two are just too cute
All joking aside Detroit is a prime location for hive production. Today Detroit Hives has 32 hives occupying seven lots on the city’s East Side with each hive producing about 50 pounds of honey in a single year. That’s a lot of honey and they hope to keep expanding.
Tim: We plan to increase our hive projection from 32 hives now to 200 hives by year 2022. We plan to revitalize 45 properties in the city of Detroit and lastly we plan to establish a learning center where we can educate the community all year round about the importance of honey bee conservation but also a place where we can sell our honey and local bee products.
Nicole: Detroit has been boosting the native bee population so through our studying and learning about bees that we knew that Detroit would be the place to “bee”.
Tim/Nicole:Pretty much the place to be.
It just never gets old. Timothy Paule Jackson and Nicole Lindsey are buzzing with excitement for bees right here in the heart of Detroit.
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Summer is still officially more than a month away, but with the help of the Michigan Masons and the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation, the season is closer than you think.
That’s because in a span of less than two hours Monday, the parking lot in front of the Franklin Cider Mill went from vacant to filled with the construction of a 20×40 foot tent that will serve as the home base of the Detroit’s Water Ice Factory’s pop-up store, which opens at 2 pm4pm Friday.
The store — in its third year in Franklin and the sister store of the flagship DWIF downtown location — will be open seven days a week, likely through mid-August. The hours are 2-10 pm, 4-9pm, Monday through Friday; Saturday noon-10 pm, and Sunday noon-6 pm.
For the second year in a row, the Masons’ volunteer efforts were spearheaded by Darren Thompson, communications director for the Grand Lodge of Michigan. He originally expected eight Masons to help with the tent raising, but 11 showed up, including David Clegg from Birmingham Lodge 44.
“I saw the email from the Grand Lodge and I live, like 1 1/2 miles away, so I decided to come out,” Clegg said. “It didn’t matter where or why, I’m just pitching in to help and glad to do it.”
Also among the volunteers was Grand Master David Hill, William Finkel and Robert Conley, System CEO of the Grand Lodge Office in Alma.
“I knew they’d all be here,” Conley said. “We’re very proud of the sponsorship we have with Mitch (Albom, SAY Detroit founder) and SAY Detroit. It’s a partnership where, when people need a little lift in life, they get that lift.”
Johnathon Matthews grew up on the city’s west side. He was a star student with dreams of becoming a lawyer. But those plans changed when he learned that violence knows no bounds.
Johnathan: I went to a party and ended up getting shot on the college campus and nearly lost my life. This was happening every day in Detroit I had never really understood it.
What he did understand is that change was necessary and how better to affect change than working directly with inner city kids as Principal of Pershing High School.
Johnathan: The first thing you see when you go into an inner city neighborhood is this lack of hope and when there’s lack of hope there’s a lack of purpose. It just blew me away that there is young people that just didn’t see a purpose in life.
So he and other school administrators got to work restructuring overcrowded high schools to give students the chance to find their purpose.
Johnathon: The main goal was to shrink schools into a point where every child felt like there was a caring adult someone that they can attach to and we knew that that couldn’t happen with two thousand students in one large urban high school.
Smaller schools were created and the students were divided into cohorts of 25. From 9th grade to graduation these students shared every class and became a family. Violence dropped and graduation rates soared.
Mitch: Did you ever stop to think what your life would be If you had not gotten shot?
Johnathan: I grew up trying to think about just being quote on quote successful and now I feel like my life does have a purpose.
And that purpose is to inspire his students every day right here in the heart of Detroit.
With his cart piled high, Nicholas Kristock is delivering blankets at Detroit Children’s Hospital. He started this mission after receiving a text message from his twin sister, a nurse, which said…
Mitch: Why is there such a shortage of blankets?
Nick: A lot of people probably don’t know that 30,000 times a year in our state of Michigan a child will walk into a hospital room and be greeted by this plain white hospital bed.
So Nicholas created the solution: a non-profit called Fleece & Thank You, where volunteers come together to create a warm and colorful blanket for every hospitalized child who wants one. That’s the Fleece part. As for the Thank You …
Nick: Each blanket we deliver also comes with a personal video message from the person that made it to the child that receives it and the child can see that message and send a message back to the blanket maker.
Mitch: And how many blankets have you made now?
Nick: To date we’ve made about 55,000 blankets
Hosting 400 events a year, Fleece & Thank You travels all over the state, bringing blanket making opportunities to hundreds of volunteers. The goal this year is 30,000 blankets.
Nick: We’ll make sure that every single kid gets this piece of comfort on their bed.
Mitch: Now do they get to go home with their blanket?
Nick: They do they get to keep it for forever
Mitch: So it is more than just providing something during the hospital it is also a keepsake?
Nick: Most definitely because every kid deserves to have this comfort.
Through Fleece & Thank You, Nicholas Kristock brings warmth and comfort to hospitalized kids right here in the heart of Detroit.
DETROIT — It was spring cleaning, A Time to Help style.
For nearly three hours Saturday, more than two dozen A Time to Help volunteers worked to help transform Cass Community Social Services’ cluttered warehouse into a more-organized space.
The end result was a site to see; the group had filled a massive dumpster with debris. Other items were sorted for recycling and future projects to benefit the nonprofit.
Under the direction of Rev. Faith Fowler, Cass Community has been fighting poverty and creating opportunity for Detroit’s most at-risk citizens. ATTH, SAY Detroit’s major volunteer arm which tackles monthly projects to assist fellow charities and community organizations, traditionally commits to helping Cass Community with at least one project a year.
The previous two years, Fowler and Sue Pethoud, Cass Community’s volunteer coordinator, organized events with ATTH to benefit its Tiny Homes neighborhood. This time, ATTH was asked to assist with a major clean-up job, and the volunteers happily responded on a beautiful spring morning.
SAY Detroit founder Mitch Albom was at his orphanage/school in Haiti over the weekend and was unable to attend. Ken Brown, Albom’s radio show co-host, led the event.
“We rely on volunteers every single day and we couldn’t do what we do without volunteer support,” Fowler said. “Without volunteers we’d be a quarter of what we are. To see people coming in to help you, it really lifts your spirits.”
ATTH’s next project is tentatively scheduled for May 18. Details will be announced soon.
A Time To Help was established in 1997 as a means of galvanizing the people of Detroit to volunteer on a regular basis. Click here to learn more.
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