Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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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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!

1.    Find something you care about
This goes without saying, but research may be harder than you think. The first organizations  that come to mind (like soup kitchens) often need the least amount of help. You may find better matches that need you more elsewhere. If you’re having no luck with the traditional Google search, check out websites like Volunteer Match, Craig’s List: Volunteer, or even check out Mercyworks Volunteer’s  twitter feed @mwvolunteer. If you’re a student, check out your school’s Career Center–You may just find a hidden opportunity, tailored just for you!
2.    Do a background check
This is especially important if you use Craig’s List. Most people have qualms about scamming those who want to volunteer, but it’s still important to know what you are getting into. Will you be working in an office or in the field? Will you learn a great deal from your opportunity, or will you just do the grunt work? Do you really support the aims and approach of the organization? Make sure you answer these questions before you commit.
3.    Make a great first impression
Any organization is happy to have you. Really happy. However, if you don’t communicate your skills, you may be stuck doing the jobs that are lying around undone. If you’re people-oriented, make sure the organization knows it! Don’t get stuck shredding papers or cleaning the office , so use your first call or email to your advantage.
4.    Treat your volunteer work like it’s a job
Hopefully it’ll be a pretty fun job, though. While your money is not on the line, you should still give volunteer work your all. Why? Often, you’ll cause a lot more harm if you offer to help but don’t follow through. Don’t add to the chaos, by being late, putting forth minimal effort be the volunteer of the month! You’ll make more friends, move up the ranks and make more of a difference.
5.    Network
Like-minds are all around you. Take advantage of it! These people will remember your work and your passion! Being a volunteer means becoming a bigger part of your community—and this community will help you when you need it.

cool!

Gallerist

The ninth annual Shanghai Biennale, which runs Oct. 2, 2012 to March 31, 2013, features city’s rather than the usual country pavilions. As part of the biennale, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has been selected to curate the Detroit pavilion.

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Urban Ghost Towns

Posted: July 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

Incredible ten minute story of Detroit’s Fire Department. Let’s hear it for our city’s brave fire fighters!

Call Me Stormy

What happens to cities when they become overly dependent on one industry to survive, and that industry falls victim to increasing foreign competition and unsustainable union demands? Here are portraits of two Midwest cities — Detroit, Michigan, and Gary, Indiana — that once were teeming metropolises but now are struggling to fend off urban blight and decay. Detroit is seen through the prism of Burn, a new documentary that showcases firefighters dealing with an explosion of arson in the Motor City. The report on Gary is from RT, a Russian TV network with worldwide bureaus, including some here in the United States.  H/T Moonbattery and Riehl World View

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HBO’s The Newsroom starts with a diatribe: Jeff Daniels’ character, an apolitical news anchor, describes today’s young adults as “the worst, period; generation, period; ever, period.” Why? Apathy. “Many Boomers view Millennials to be lazy, disrespectful and self-absorbed. Meanwhile, Millennials seem to become easily frustrated with the closed-mindedness of the seniors,” say the Young Nonprofit Professionals of Detroit.
But are Millennials really apathetic? No:
“Renewed interest in public service is visible across the country. Applications for AmeriCorps positions have nearly tripled to 258,829 in 2010 from 91,399 in 2008. The number of applicants for Teach for America climbed 32 percent last year, to a record 46,359. Organizations like Harvard’s Center for Public Interest Careers have been overwhelmed — and overjoyed — with the swelling demand from talented 20-somethings.” New York Times
It seems graduating in tough economic times has increased Millennials’ incentives to take altruistic, nonprofit jobs. After all, if high paying jobs are few and far between, why not take a job that pays poorly but does good? However, to compete in an environment like this, we’ve become aggressively ambitious and pragmatic—things Baby Boomers may confuse with self-centeredness and apathy.
Closing the Generation gap with volunteer work:
We can do one better than just working for a non-profit–we can volunteer. Volunteer work is the most effective way to show Baby Boomers that we care. Millennials should pick a cause we care about, sacrifice our limited time as a student, and work for free alongside the older generations. We are also well positioned for this kind of work. After all, most of us are only responsible for ourselves and can devote more of our free time to a cause. As I mentioned in previous blog entries, we could use the work experience involved with volunteer work as well.
Baby Boomers need Millennials as much as Millenials need Baby Boomers:
We are keyed into the Internet in a way Baby Boomers are not. We can make word spread more quickly and more effectively than they can. If we can connect the Baby Boomer experience with Millenial speed, positive change is inevitable. Millenials: it’s your duty to connect, so volunteer.

Posted: July 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

What an informative article! If you are interested in promoting literacy in Detroit, why not volunteer with a literacy organization?

mercyworkskids

ImageWhen I was a toddler, the most exciting part of the day was my grandmother reading my favorite stories to me. I sat in her lap, my head pressed against her chest, listening to the words vibrate in her chest as she recited them. It was a ritual. I would pick up one of my favorites, usually either “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street” or “Are You My Mother?”. I would hold the book up to her and ask her to read it. My grandmother would do a fake eye roll and a sigh to suggest she’s had enough of Marco’s and the hatchling’s adventures. I would return her gesture with a laugh and hop on up into her lap and listen to her animated storytelling. These intimate moments sparked a deep love of reading for me and gave me a head start on developing the skill…

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