Brother and sister team, Jason and Chrystal Ridgeway, understand a little something about striving for excellence. Both top athletes in college, the pair wanted to come back to their community and support other rising stars.
Jason: We started off doing seminars we went out and spoke to kids high school and college kids about how to stay in school graduate if they received a scholarship how to retain it.
Mitch: And nowhere in that process did you talk about food.
Mitch: And then all of a sudden you saw something that changed your mind.
Chrystal: We were at one of our schools and the kids were pretty lethargic so we started talking to the teachers and the counselors and we said what’s going on and they said well they are waiting for lunch. A lot of the kids don’t eat breakfast so I talked to Jason I said we are giving them skills to handle social situations but let’s give them the skills to make good decisions about their diet as well.
Grow Green, Live Clean is their newest initiative. Their goal is to educate and provide access to nutrient dense foods through self-contained tower gardens.
Chrystal: And many of the kids never correlate what they eat with what is grown and I asked them well what is in a salad and they go ranch dressing.
To get them thinking differently, the students grow and harvest collard greens, mustard greens, herbs and salad greens like spinach and romaine. They even make their own salad dressing.
Jason: We want to feed the kids you know mind body and soul. We want to make well-rounded young people that can go off go to college and go to get a trade and then come back and give back the same way that we’re doing.
Harvesting good decision making, Jason and Chrystal Ridgeway are providing a healthier future here in the heart of Detroit.
Representatives from nearly two dozen area charities received checks today totaling more than $1.25 million from donations raised at the seventh annual SAY Detroit Radiothon, broadcast on WJR-AM last December.
The distribution ceremony at the Fisher Building, an annual event since the Radiothon’s inception, included several first-time recipients, including Avalon Village, FoodLab Detroit, Yad Ezra, A Beautiful Me, and Building Better Men.
Mitch Albom, who founded SAY Detroit in 2006, presented the checks with Dr. Chad Audi, president of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, as well as representatives from several major donor organizations. Members of SAY Detroit’s Board of Directors also participated in celebrating the efforts of various local charitable organizations.
“Today we share the generosity of the wonderful people and companies in Metro Detroit,” Albom said. “Thanks to them, we broke our previous Radiothon record. This enables us to operate our numerous SAY Detroit initiatives. And, as per our tradition, we share a chunk of this generosity with other organizations, large and small, who, like us, are dedicated to helping Detroit’s neediest.”
Since its first broadcast in 2012, the annual Radiothon has raised over $5.7 million to help the poor, the homeless, families without houses, children and mothers without medical care, students hoping to reach the college of their dreams, and veterans who have hit hard times.
The 2019 SAY Detroit Radiothon will be held Dec. 12th at The Somerset Collection mall in Troy.
Edee Franklin had a tumultuous past – one filled with drugs and alcohol. Now 31 years in recovery, she has a successful real estate business and just over a year ago opened the doors to her biggest housing project yet.
Mitch: It is not often that people in real estate world sideline in helping victims of human trafficking how does that happen?
Edee: I was hearing all this information about human trafficking and awareness and what was going on in our communities and I started to talk to people at the Michigan Human Trafficking task force and there were no long-term treatment facilities for survivors after they were rescued. I had been in a long-term treatment facility myself and I knew that the way to healing is long-term treatment so I set out to put one together.
Sanctum House is the first of its kind in southeast Michigan. The two-year program focuses on mental and physical healthcare in addition to life skills training and education and employment opportunities. Residents work closely with a team of caseworkers, therapists, physicians and social workers in an environment that feels like a home.
Edee: We can house 12 women and it’s fun to see women start to succeed we have one that just got a scholarship to college we have two that are getting their GED they are starting to go back to work. I wasn’t trafficked but I had been a victim of sexual assault and drug addiction and alcoholism and when someone looks at you and says what would we have done if you had given up and I think wow nobody gave up on me and I thought I could be one of them and I am not giving up on them either.
Using her past to open the door to the next step in recovery, Edee Franklin is saying If I can do it, you can do it right here in the heart of Detroit.
A Time To Help volunteers have long considered Motown Soup one of their favorite projects of the year. Saturday was no different.
The Utica-based all-volunteer nonprofit, which produces and packages dry soups and other mixes to raise funds for the needy, hosted more than two dozen ATTH volunteers in their kitchen and assembly area at Trinity Lutheran Church. In three hours, the group produced and packaged 1,420 soup mixes (about $10,000 worth of product), which beat last year’s ATTH effort of 1,200.
A terrific number, considering the project started late because of the icy commute many volunteers faced on the drive in.
“Getting groups like this to come in to help, it gives us a big boost,” said Dan Kennedy, one of Motown Soup’s volunteers who helped coordinate the morning. “The timing is perfect; we had an almost empty store room. Your efforts gave us an opportunity to replenish in a big way.”
There was even some friendly competition that brewed between the groups of volunteers. By mid-morning, judging from their pace, some were wondering if “chicken pot pie’’ would edge the “white chicken chili’’’ team for the most assembled soup mixes. And the winner was….
White chicken chili (419), followed by mini-tomato (392), chicken pot pie (364) and cheeseburger (245).
“Everything about the morning — it really went great,” Kennedy said.
ATTH thought so, too.
ATTH’s next project is set for April 6 at Cass Community Social Services. Registration will begin this week at atimetohelp.org.
Cass Community Social Services fights poverty and creates opportunity for Detroit’s most at-risk citizens. The nonprofit has been a leader in devising programs and creating jobs to enhance the lives of the homeless community, the developmentally disabled, and those who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse. Cass Community also lifts people back onto their feet through its tiny homes project for low-income individuals.
Project Description: Volunteers will be working in the warehouse on a pre-determined project. Some light physical work may be required. Dress in comfortable clothing and wear work gloves, if possible.
Date: Saturday, April 6
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Where: We’ll be meeting at Cass Community’s Scott Building, 11850 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit, MI, 48206 | Map
Parking: Available next to the Scott Building. Off-street parking is also available
Twenty-one years ago Charlie and Mary Parkhill were a carefree couple on vacation in Mexico.
Charlie Parkhill: I was taking a swim in the morning and a wave came up behind me picked me up dropped me on my head and that’s what compressed my spinal cord. I was totally paralyzed from the shoulders down.
Charlie was medevac’d back to the States and underwent several surgeries. The doctor’s were not optimistic about his recovery and delivered a grim prognosis to his wife Mary.
Mary Parkhill: When I finally got to see him the next day he just looked at me and he said I’m going to get better.
Charlie began intensive therapy and with time managed to walk more than 100 feet, unassisted. He was defying the odds but when he heard another patient’s treatment was ending due to insurance cuts he knew he had to do something.
Charlie Parkhill: This family was devastated and I went home to Mary and I said this could be our cause if we could find a way where people wouldn’t have to hear that.
So began the Mary and Charles A. Parkhill Foundation, which grants money to people with catastrophic injuries for continued therapy when other funding has lapsed. So far they’ve raised close to 600 thousand dollars.
Mitch: So you raise the money and then you give the money away essentially.
Charlie: We give it all away. Over 80 grants so far in the 12 years we have been doing this.
Mitch: That’s 80 people.
Charlie: 80 people.
Mitch: Whose lives have been affected by your generosity.
Mary: I wish we didn’t have to have this foundation because you don’t know what its like until you’re in that world so if we can if we can help someone it’s the best.
Charlie and Mary Parkill are turning a tragedy into hope for others with catastrophic injuries here in the heart of Detroit.
The Heart of Detroit is a groundbreaking public service initiative that shares inspiring stories of metro Detroiters with heart and everyday people who step up to help make our community a better place to live. You can learn more here.
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