Labor and Economic Opportunity
Hundreds of Michigan’s AmeriCorps members, program staff, and volunteers came together for the annual Regional Russ Mawby Signature Service Projects recently.
The Michigan Community Service Commission supported five regional projects in Flint, Lansing, Muskegon Heights, Gaylord and Detroit.
The projects tackled a variety of community needs from park clean-ups to neighborhood beautification projects to trail maintenance. These projects visibly demonstrate the power of Michigan’s AmeriCorps members in action, but also provide an opportunity for AmeriCorps members from all different programs to serve alongside one another to achieve a common goal.
This annual event is named for Dr. Russell “Russ” Mawby, who spent most of his career leading the Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek and was a tremendous advocate for youth and volunteer service.
In Northern Michigan, approximately 125 participants focused on improving three miles of the Iron Belle Trail in Gaylord. Project activities included mulching, planting new greenery, painting, and trash and debris removal, as well as other projects at local community organizations.
In Mid-Michigan, approximately 60 participants provided service to Camp Pa-Wa-Pi in Williamston. The outdoor adventure camp that allows children of all backgrounds to benefit from the power of a positive mentor and long-lasting friendships. Project activities included camp preparation and beautification projects, including painting, cleaning, and trail clearing.
“It’s great to see all the AmeriCorps programs and members from the area come together and make an impact,” said Rachel Puckett, program director of 4-H STEAM Corps AmeriCorps program, which is administered by Michigan State University Extension. “I love that we are cleaning up a camp for kids who can come in and have fun all summer.”
In West Michigan, approximately 145 participants focused on blight elimination in the Muskegon Heights community urban core neighborhoods.
“The AmeriCorps members have made a huge impact in Muskegon Heights by removing debris and helping reduce the blight in the community,” said Tom Bobo, program director for the Michigan Education Corps AmeriCorps program. “Their efforts will help keep the community moving forward.”
In Flint/Tri-Cities, more than 100 participants focused on rehabilitating the areas in and around the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village and Dewey Park in Flint. Service activities included trash and debris removal, landscaping and beautification projects, and boarding up vacant homes.
In Southeast Michigan, nearly 200 AmeriCorps members joined forces with hundreds of volunteers to participate in the annual Rouge Park Appreciation Day. Their service included clearing invasive species, a park clean-up, and trail maintenance.
“I was thrilled to assist Sharon Boyd of the Motor City Mountain Biking Association with grooming the bike trails for the summer season,” stated AmeriCorps member Vaughn Springer. “The service typically takes Sharon days to groom by herself. With the help of AmeriCorps members, we were able to prepare the trails for the community in just a few hours.”