Sunday, February 24, 2008

ASB Comes to the D

I don't know about you, but I didn't spend any of my college spring break vacations volunteering. There is a special group of 60 individuals from across the country that are doing just that this week in Detroit as part of an awesome and inspiring program, United Way Alternative Spring Break (ASB) 2008.

The students began arriving in metro Detroit on Friday evening. On Saturday, they rolled up their sleeves to assist a number of local service organizations, whom they will serve through Saturday, March 1. Local ASB sites and activities include:

Motor City Blight Busters: Volunteers will help by cleaning up parks, painting and rebuilding neighborhoods, removing graffiti and renovating and constructing houses in Detroit.

Vista Maria: Volunteers will help paint several wings of the residential facility, plus assist with beautification of the grounds and client projects.

Detroit Habitat for Humanity: Volunteers will build small house components for future house construction and assist with neighborhood cleanup where the houses are constructed.

Lighthouse PATH: Volunteers will assist with interior/exterior beautification projects including painting, sorting and organizing and working with clients that live in the facility.

Franklin Wright Settlements: Volunteers will paint the facility and assist with interior beautification projects.

Ray West Memorial Ramp Project: Volunteers will build accessible ramps for physically challenged individuals in southeastern Michigan.

Participants of past ASB events often become dedicated to community engagement. In a survey following ASB 2007, 84 percent of participants reported being more likely to volunteer in their communities after their ASB experience. Within three months of the event, 40 percent of them had already followed through on that pledge.

They also remain committed to ASB. This year, 27 percent of last year’s participants are returning. U of M-Dearborn student Adam Harris participated in ASB in 2007 in Louisiana and is serving as a team leader in Detroit this year. “I was really gratified to see the students from all over the country come together to provide a service during their Spring Break,” said Harris. “So leading into this year I wanted to bring that same energy and enthusiasm to my community as well.”

Lead sponsors for United Way ASB are Deloitte and FedEx. Promotional partners include Cheap Tickets and MTV. Locally, U of M-Dearborn is providing housing for the volunteers; Kroger and Panera Bread are providing food; and Enterprise is providing transportation.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan mobilizes the caring power of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to improve lives in measurable and lasting ways throughout the region. The organization is led by a diverse group of volunteers from business, labor, government, human services, education and the community. United Way provides opportunities to invest in the metropolitan Detroit community through its annual Campaign and is a leader in convening partners to impact local residents each year by increasing economic self-sufficiency, protecting children and youth at risk, strengthening families, empowering neighborhoods and communities, and promoting health and wellness.

Have a question or comment on this post?
I'd love to hear from you!
E-mail me at