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What happens when 1,000 people work together to improve the community? Catholic Central shows us

School's day of service impacted many in region.
Posted at 8:08 PM, Nov 29, 2021

NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ) — What happens when you get 1,000 people working together to make a difference? Catholic Central students and staff went to work to show you.

All students and staff at Catholic High School in Novi dedicated the day before Thanksgiving to giving back during the school’s Goodness, Discipline, Knowledge Program Day of Service.

About 700 of them took buses to projects in the community. Another 300 of them participated in projects in and at school.

“We chose to stay close to school today. We had students in one of our groups create care packages for the homeless,” Mitch Hancock, dean of students, said as he stood with students holding care packages.

Other students at the school made blankets and toys for shelter animals or did clean up projects on properties near the campus.

Taking a look at some of the field projects, students cleaned up at St. Paul of the Cross Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit.

“We’ve been picking up trash, picking up sticks along the path over here, making it clean for everyone,” Catholic Central senior Jack Kirkwood said.

In Waterford, students organized a food pantry and clothing donations at Open Doors, which serves hundreds of families.

“It is nice seeing all the things we can do. All the impact it is making,” Catholic Central junior Steven Wood said.

At the Alpha House family homeless shelter in Ann Arbor, students organized and decorated for the holidays.

“Going to places like this, I think it really makes us grateful for what we have,” Thomas Ongena, a Catholic Central sophomore, said.

At Clark Park in Southwest Detroit, they raked leaves and cleaned up the park.

“I think it is important we get off campus and clean up communities like this,” Aaron Babicz, athletic director at Catholic Central, said.

“We show up. We want to make sure we are men of action,” Catholic Central senior Chad Harpster said.

“We wanted to impact the entire community. From Hartland and Howell, to Waterford to St. Clair Shores, Detroit, to Southfield to Ann Arbor,” Jake Marmul, director of admissions, said. “It was a powerful day of service.”

All who took part say they are thankful for the chance to give back right before Thanksgiving.

“We are just thankful we can come out here to help other people,” Lennon Hale, a Catholic Central senior, said.

“Being able to give back to the community is a great feeling,” Drew Heethuis, Catholic Central junior, said.

“I think that is one of the reasons everyone was put on this earth is to help,” said Kevin Glen, the director of Community Engagement and Diversity.