Sunday, March 30, 2008

Introduction to Detroit

Want to learn more about Detroit?

One of the best ways to do just that is through the Detroit Orientation Institute (DOI), a three-day program put on by Wayne State University.

Now in its 17th year, the DOI -- whose next session runs April 15, 22 and 29 -- offers a historical perspective and candid look at Detroit and metro Detroit. Think of it as a "Motor City-style boot camp", where you'll hear from community leaders, tour neighborhoods and visit landmarks. Participants will also receive a CD containing more than 200 pages of background information on Detroit and metro Detroit.

Who benefits most from DOI sessions? Definitely newcomers to the area, but anyone who wants to learn more about Motown and the metropolitan area is welcome and encouraged to sign up. Typically, business executives, professionals from nonprofits, university faculty, high school teachers, government administrators and journalists attend. The program is limited to 50 participants per session and is offered once in the fall and once in the spring.

Meals and transportation are provided for a tuition cost of $900 per person. Registration is accepted by phone or fax. Registration forms are available here.

For more on the DOI, check out Clare Ramsey's great Model D feature article on the subject here.

Happy learning!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Nominate your favorite volunteer!

Do you know a tireless volunteer in the community?

Consider nominating him or her for United Way's annual Volunteer Recognition program. Not only will your little helper appreciate being recognized, they'll have fun with the process. That's because, this year, things are a little different; instead of just filling out a form, 2008 nominees have the opportunity to showcase their volunteerism via a two-minute video. Community members will select this year's winners by voting during National Volunteer Week -- which runs from April 27- May 3 -- on United Way's website.

Nomination categories include youth, young adults, retirees, businesses and groups. Nominee's volunteer efforts should fall under one of United Way’s Agenda for Change categories, which include Educational Preparedness, Financial Stability, and Basic Needs.

The deadline for nominations is 11:59 p.m. on April 11, 2008.

For more information and complete guidelines, please click here.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Entrepreneur lecture series

Entreprenuers, take note: the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit is hosting a free entrepreneurial lecture series this spring.

Sponsored by the Chrysler Minority Dealers Association, the free lectures are scheduled for the fourth Thursday of the month in March, April and May.

Guest speakers include Ken Carter, the inspiration behind the movie "Coach Carter", on March 27; Michele Hoskins, owner of Michele Foods Inc., on April 24; and Dr. Farrah Gray, money coach and best-selling author, on May 22.

Located at 315 East Warren Avenue in the heart of Midtown, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is open Wednesday and Thursday, 9:30 – 3:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9:30 – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Admission is $8.00 for adults (ages 13-61) $5.00 for seniors (ages 62+) and $5.00 for children (ages 3-12). Museum members and children under three are admitted free. Every first Sunday of the month through October 5, 2008 are Free First Sundays at the museum, sponsored by Target. There is no charge for admission on Free First Sundays.

For more information, visit the museum's Webpage here.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

DDOT and CVS Team Up

In an effort to make local mass transit easier for Detroit residents, the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) is now selling bus passes at all CVS stores in Detroit.

According to Transportation Riders United (TRU) executive director Megan Owens, "weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and regional bus passes are available. That's in addition to all the other locations that sell bus passes, including the Cadillac Tower lobby store, all neighborhood city halls, Comerica Bank branches in Detroit, and several city supermarkets."

You can also buy DDOT passes online here. Passes for SMART buses are available online here.

Also, in case you hadn't heard, SMART announced last week that it has partnered up with Google and is now offering the incredibly helpful Google Trip Planner to its riders.

Get the low-down on the Trip Planner and what it means for you here.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March Madness comes to Ford Field

In just 8 days, March Madness hits Ford Field in downtown Detroit!

Beginning Friday, March 28, four of the 16 remaining NCAA teams will compete for a chance to win the Regional Competition - and you have a chance to be there when it happens. The schools selected to the Midwest Region in seed order are: Kansas University, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, Clemson, USC, Gonzaga, UNLV, Kent State, Davidson, Kansas State, Villanova, Siena, Cal State at Fullerton, University of Maryland Baltimore College (UMBC) and Portland State.

If you live in or near Detroit, you have it easy: just purchase your tickets and head to Ford Field for the games. It isn't hard for non-Michiganders to root for their teams, either; students from 11 of the 16 schools playing in the Regional are within a 13-hour drive of Detroit. Wisconsin, Georgetown, and UMBC are an 8 hour drive away, and Kent State fans can reach the area in a short three hour trip.

Although the Midwest regional at Ford Field has already established an attendance record by selling 50,000 tickets, you can still get tickets to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games in Detroit.

Available online or by calling Ticketmaster at 248.645.6666, tickets -- which cost $45, $75, $100 and $150 -- include admission to two Friday games and one Sunday game. Fans also have the opportunity to see the Regional teams in action during open practices on Thursday, March 27 from 12–4pm at Ford Field.

Home of the Detroit Lions, Ford Field is a state-of-the-art sport and entertainment venue. Since opening in 2002, it has hosted over 4,000 events and welcomed over 5 million fans. In addition to the NCAA Midwest Regional this year, Ford Field will play host to the 2009 Men’s Final Four Tournament and the 2010 Men’s Hockey Frozen Four Tournament. Please visit Ford Field on the Web for more information.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

St. Patty's Weekend Party Guide

Whether you're Irish or not, this weekend is the perfect time to celebrate Ireland and that fun-loving little saint known as Patrick.

Lucky for you party people, there's no shortage of things to do in the D on March 17, or the weekend leading up to it.

Lucky for you, too --
After 5 Detroit has complied its St. Patrick's Weekend Party Guide, a nifty little resource that identifies your best partying bets around town this holiday weekend. Check it out here.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Get to know Southwest Detroit

As Detroit's fastest-growing neighborhood, southwest Detroit is a colorful community that you should definitely make a point to visit if you haven't already.

You have the opportunity to do just that and learn about the community on Thursday, March 20, when Southwest Solutions (SWSOL) hosts the March edition of its 'Be a Part of the Solution' bus tour.

Running from 6-7:15 pm, the tour is your free chance to get to know southwest Detroit a little better, and to hear some of the great things SWSOL has done to improve the community. What can you expect on the tour? John Van Camp, president and CEO of SWSOL, will talk about the organization's mission and the transformation of southwest Detroit, and you will meet several southwest Detroiters, who will share their personal stories of triumph. You will also have the opportunity to view some of SWSOL's program sites.

After the tour, make sure to stick around the neighborhood and enjoy authentic fare from one of Mexicantown's amazing restaurants (there are several outstanding places -- to narrow your choices, ask SWSOL staff members for their recommendations).

Having attended a similar SWSOL tour back in September, I can attest that this brief program is a few hours very well spent. The organization is doing amazing things in southwest Detroit -- it has been for over 30 years -- and John Van Camp is one of the most passionate people I have ever met. (He was so motivating that, after hearing him speak on the bus, I wondered if I should pay him for inspiring me so much!)

You don't have to be a Detroit resident to attend, either; if you have a desire to visit southwest Detroit and learn how it is becoming a stronger, healthier community, you're encouraged to particpate in the tour.

Sound like something you'd be interested in? RSVP to Bob O'Brien, Vice President of Development for SWSOL, at (313) 849-4902, extension 1, or by email. You must sign up for the bus tour by March 18 to attend.

More about SWSOL
Incorporated in 1972, SWSOL is a non-profit organization that seeks to improve southwest Detroit through a variety of services including mental health, family literacy and housing and economic development. In the past decade, SWSOL has invested more than $10 milion in the community. Its foreclosure and home counseling program has also earned it local and national recognition. And, in 2005, SWSOL garnered the Best Managed Non-Profit award by Crain's Detroit Business. For more information, please visit SWSOL on the Web.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Arts & Scraps fundraiser: recycling for Detroit kids

This Saturday, March 8, Arts & Scraps is holding its annual fundraiser. For $40 per couple, enjoy a strolling dinner, a tour of the NextEnergy green facility and alternative fuel lab, and Dragonmead beer samples. Plus, try your hand at several games, including bingo, roulette, craps, poker and blackjack.

The fun begins at 6:30 pm at NextEnergy, a Detroit non-profit dedicated to advancing the Alternative Energy Technology industry in Michigan. For more information on the Arts & Scraps annual fundraiser, contact Suzanne Janik.
Not familiar with Arts & Scraps? A non-profit organization based in Detroit, Arts & Scraps recycles 22 tons of industrial scraps into creative, fun materials for over 200,000 children in Detroit. The Arts & Scraps facility is open to the public Tuesday and Thursday from 11-6 and Saturday from 11-4. Stuff a grocery bag or choose from items in the single price area. Staff is available for help with project ideas. Arts & Scraps is also a great place for birthday parties. For more information, visit Arts & Scraps on the Web.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Upcoming: Pistons Telethon

For the first time in Detroit sports history, a team will devote an entire day, including their game and their broadcast, to a telethon to raise money for charity.

On Friday, March 14, as part of the Detroit Pistons' season-long celebration of 50 years in Michigan, the organization will host the Pistons Cares Telethon Benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan. The team asks everyone in the community to help them reach their goal of granting wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

The telethon will run throughout the day and into the evening as the Pistons host the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs at 8 pm.

The entire telecast of the game will be devoted to the telethon. Throughout the night, representatives from the Pistons community will ask fans to call and pledge. Sponsors will present their donations and the Pistons will introduce stories of past and present Make-A-Wish kids.

All donations taken -- online, over the phone, through pre-telethon programs and in-arena the night of March 14 -- will place each donor into a drawing for unique, one-of-a kind prizes from the Detroit Pistons, including the grand prize of a road trip with the team on Roundball One.

For more information about the Pistons Cares Telethon Benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan, please contact Dennis Sampier, Director of Community Relations, at (248) 371-2034 or visit

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