In the spotlight: Billboard campaign highlights some of Detroit's unsung heroes

Posted at 9:18 AM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 09:18:22-04

(WXYZ) — We need each other, that’s the message behind Life Remodeled's "Lean on We" billboard campaign, which highlights some of Detroit’s unsung heroes.

"Life Remodeled is a Detroit-based nonprofit. What we do is we bring together communities and organizations to help revitalize Detroit neighborhoods in an equitable and sustainable way," said Life Remodeled CEO Chris Lambert.

It’s a brief summary from the CEO for a long list of ways the nonprofit gives back to Detroit, and the Durfee Central Community. And it’s largely made possible by people who aren’t usually in the limelight.

"Life Remodeled’s done a great job recognizing donors who have contributed financially and in-kind of donors, to the work we're doing in the Durfee Innovation Society. But there are many community residents who've given just as much, if not more, but in other ways," said Lambert.

Courtesy Life Remodeled

The Durfee Innovation Society is housed in a former school with 39 organizations offering Detroiters jobs, health resources, tutoring, a laundromat, an arcade – and it goes on.

Sara, a student at Renaissance High heads up the Life Remodeled Youth Alliance, she’s one of the 10 people being honored.

Courtesy Life Remodeled

"I would come and help the students. We would do learning, we would do reading. We would do fun times in the arcade as a break, because they'd be there all day. And this tutoring program, we provided a place for students to be while their parents were at work," she said.

Jimmie Macon, Central High School football coach, is another honoree.

"I try to make sure that my guys get over there and help out, whatever they possibly can do," he said. "One thing about the building over there, you look at it, it might look like a big castle, but when you go in there, it's like the wonderful Wizard of Oz. When you go, it's things to do, multiple things where you can pick up activities as far as yoga ... learn how to buy things, to be an entrepreneur, photographing, different things like that."

The billboards were a surprise to the 10 honorees and you’ll see them popping up in various metro Detroit locations over the next several months:

  • I-96 north of Quincy Street
  • I-94 east of Southfield
  • I-75 north of Jarvis Avenue (2 billboards)

"They just popped up with the billboard and I was like, 'oh, my gosh.' And me and my mom are traveling to see all of them and taking pictures in front of them, and we're so excited about it," said Sara.

It’s an effort, Lambert says they plan to continue.

"There are many more beyond the 10 that we've highlighted right now. This is actually something we plan to keep doing throughout the year and multiple years, is really drawing the spotlight where the spotlight is due on incredible leaders," he said.

Life Remodeled will be releasing stories about those honorees as the weeks go on. To read more about the nonprofit’s work and find out ways to help, click here.