Archive for August, 2012

Blight Busters
Pick up a paint brush and hammer with this organization. Blight Busters renovates blighted neighborhoods, creating better neighborhoods and closer-knit communities. They revitalize the area we call home, attracting business and new residents. Not to mention, they are kid-friendly!

http://www.blightbusters.org/

Detroit Institute of the Arts
The millage passed, and the DIA is better than ever. Cultural institutions like these not only help revitalize our community, but enrich and educate us. You’ll be surrounded by exquisite art while supporting an institution that pulls tourism to Detroit.

http://www.dia.org/get-involved/

Detroit Zoo
The best opportunity for the animal and science lovers, learn about ecology while supporting another great community institution. Become a work with animals and children, permanently, seasonally or during events. I’ve got to admit, these opportunities look fun!

http://www.detroitzoo.org/volunteers

Focus Hope
These guys promote everything from education to community revitalization and full stomachs. With this program, you have a wide array of opportunities from research, to tutoring, to food delivery. This big organization will surely have a great place for you.

http://www.focushope.edu

Mercyworks International
Yes, this is us. We’re a new faith-based organization working on food distribution, substance abuse prevention,  and entrepreneurial training in this city. Our opportunities take you in the heart of the Detroit, or keyed into the web as a social media volunteer. We even offer unpaid internships for Detroit’s young adults (like me!).

http://www.mercyworks.net/

For more opportunites, check out Michigan.gov’s website on volunteering, click here

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Check out this cool article on volunteering for kids!

Best Volunteer Opportunities For Kids In Detroit « CBS Detroit.

VolunTourism is exactly how it sounds: A voluntourist is one who plans a vacation around community service. Usually trips like these take you to exotic, beautiful lands—ones you’d usually visit to lounge around in sun, or ones you may never have considered visiting otherwise. Voluntourism gives you a chance to feel you’ve contributed while on vacation, but is that feeling only that—a feeling? Here’s what the proponents and critics have to say:
Proponents Say:
While we all want to avoid sounding like the ‘western cure,’ you, as westerners, do possess some valuable, transferable skills to the developing world. Namely, you’re an expert in western culture and English. As the world becomes more interconnected, cultural understanding becomes more important for economic development. That being said, it’s also more important for YOU to understand other cultures, and voluntourism will teach you more about culture than sunbathing by a pool.
**For more info on VolunTourism: http://www.voluntourism.org/
Critics Say:
Remember what I said about cultural understanding? Well it’s also central to the critic’s argument. As westerners, we are not experts on the culture of the developing world. As a result, voluntourism does not always have the intended life-enhancement for local peoples. In fact, it often does the opposite: sometimes it’s as little as poking are heads where they’re not want, sometimes as bad as propping up fraudulent organizations. Whether you support volunteerism or not, you should take time to research the organization you plan on volunteering with.
**For more info on potential problems: http://matadornetwork.com/change/why-you-shouldnt-participate-in-voluntourism/
An Altruistic Alternative:
Looking to make a difference in the world? Why not play it safe—act locally! There are causes equally as pressing state-side—causes that are also less culturally complex. Why not work to stamp out poverty right here in Detroit? End urban famine volunteering on an urban farm or in a food bank. You could promote as much economic development by removing blight in Brightmoor as buying a plane ticket to Africa. Consider local volunteering different kind of voluntourism–one with day trips instead of hotels, cars or buses instead of a planes. We can guarantee your experience will be just as life changing in Detroit as it would be in a foreign country!
**For more info on local volunteering in Detroit: http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/index.jsp?r=msa&l=49270
**Want to volunteer in Detroit with MercyWorks Intl? Contact volunteer@mecryworks.net
What are your thoughts on volunteerism? Let us know in the comments!