Detroit — At first it looked like it was going to rain.
But then things took a turn for the better, and by the end, the 2008 National Arab American Service Day was deemed a huge success.
“Today was a beautiful day, we lucked out,” said Sue Makki, Project Director of the national AmeriCorps program that helped organize the event.
“We’ve had good cooperation from a lot of different groups and that’s what’s made today so great.”
About 250 volunteers from organizations like the Young Builders of Detroit and the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) came together at three different sites on May 17 to help clean up and beautify local parks. The day drew about 200 people last year and workers were encouraged by the generous turnout for the 2008 event.
Work began at 10 a.m. at Lapeer Park in Dearborn, and from there volunteers had a choice of going to the Warrendale Motor City Makeover or the Roosevelt Park site in Corktown.
Lapeer Park also hosted a family fun day with events for kids.
At Roosevelt Park, volunteers painted benches and signs, planted flowerbeds and trees, and cleaned up debris. Many of the building materials were donated by Lowe’s hardware, who Makki specifically thanked for their help.
Volunteers at the Warrendale site helped beautify abandoned homes to make them look presentable.
Fellow AmeriCorps worker Aaron Barndollar was impressed by the turnout for the events and was proud of the work turned in by the volunteers.
Barndollar was one of the first volunteers to arrive on-site at 9:30 a.m., setting up all the equipment and mapping out a plan for beautifying Roosevelt Park.
“Our goal here is to help promote a healthy environment,” he said.
In addition to the Detroit-area projects, volunteers from places like New York, California, Illinois, and Texas also took part in similar projects to help beautify inner-city areas.