DETROIT (WXYZ) — Six thousand volunteers are rolling up their sleeves this week to make a difference in the city of Detroit by erasing blight and helping those who need it most.
With saw in hand, Alonzo Marable cuts away at trees and creeping vines coming into the backyard from the vacant house next door.
7 Action News' Dave LewAllen asked, “Why do this? Why do this work?”
“Because I love Detroit and I love that people come back and support Detroit,” Alonzo Marable said. “I’ve been in Detroit all my life, born and raised, here to stay, and I’m here to help us win."
As a long-time volunteer for the revitalization projects led by Life Remodeled, Alonzo knows firsthand the difference it’s making in and around Detroit neighborhoods and schools.
“The lady right here, the house we’re working on today, she said a guy was hiding in the bushes in front. Well, he can’t hide anymore,” Marable said.
“We took care of all that. Me and my crew took it all down,” Marable continued. “It’s my fourth project working with the group and I love it, and I’m here as long as they need my support.”
Shirley Jones has lived across from Cooley High School for decades. She supports the effort to turn the school building, which closed in 2010, into a community resource hub.
“Why let the property and all that go to waste, right, so it can help the neighborhood, which is a pretty good neighborhood, it really is. I’ve never had a problem — I’ve been here over 45 years. I’ve been here a long time,” Jones said.
It’s a huge logistical effort to get to this point in the process. Mowers and trimmers were all delivered on site and thousands of volunteers gathering at Cooley High School. Chris Lambert is the founder and CEO of Life Remodeled.
“Not only are we making the community safer, but we’re bringing people together from all different walks of life, right, different races, different religions, different socio-economic backgrounds, and we’re all united for a purpose and what I find is when you do that, something happens and people’s respect for one another, and we start to overcome a lot of these chasms that we’re experiencing in our country,” Lambert said.
Corporate and philanthropic support are key to the project’s success. In celebrating 100 years in business, Schostak Brothers & Company contributed $100,000 to this effort. It's part of their $1 million commitment to community-oriented projects for good.
“We wanted to be able to, not to just give money, but to participate, to volunteer,” David Schostak said. “All of our associates and partners in the office, they all embraced it, there’s 60 or 70 of them here with us working.”