An estimated 10,000 volunteers will hit the street this week looking to rebuild Detroit as part of Life Remodeled’s annual service project.
Between Monday and Saturday, hundreds of city blocks will get special attention for blight removal, while other locations get additions ranging from new community gardens to new trees/perennials and more. This year’s plan also includes the creation of a safe school walking route, free community libraries, two bus shelters and a barbecue area complete with benches and tables.
What makes this year different is that volunteers for Life Remodeled will return to the same location as last year — the first time the group has elected to return to a neighborhood. It will allow the group to pay special attention to creating a lasting impact on the Durfee neighborhood.
“We really want to focus on the alleyways,” explained Dwan Dandridge, the vice president of Life Remodeled. “Us being here for the first time for more than one year, we tackled a lot of blight in the front of vacant houses; now the alleys are overwhelmed.”
The entire project has been broken down into a heat map with leaders taking workers ranging from experienced construction workers to everyday Joes looking to roll up their sleeves and help out, tackling the hardest hit areas in a more than 300 block area.
Last week, workers gathered at the Life Remodeled headquarters, the old Durfee elementary and middle school, to prep brand-new equipment ranging from lawn mowers to weed whippers to prepare for the event. Monday marks a kickoff with roughly 1,000 volunteers which is, believe it or not, a light day for the service project.
While the numbers of volunteers already lined up to help out are staggering, the folks behind the work say they’re hoping more show up. You can pre-register online, but organizers admit they’re more than happy to take people who simply show up.
“If you’re not someone who likes to use a lawnmower or weed whipper, you can serve lunch, you can help with registration — you can pass out water bottles,” said Chris Lambert, the CEO and founder, stressing there is work for everyone.
“I think people love to come to this because we know our country is divided but what we are going to see this week is that isn’t the case in Detroit,” he said. “We will be united. We will be together and we’re also at a time in Detroit’s history where people believe their work will lead to tangible impact.”
Students from a variety of schools throughout metro Detroit are planning to take part in this year’s event. That includes students from Royal Oak, Berkley, Livonia Public Schools, Cody, Osborn, Denby and Central High Schools.
If you’d like to learn more about this year’s project, or past year’s projects, you can learn more at the Life Remodeled website.