Service event brings more than 600 volunteers to sites around metropolitan Detroit.

January 18, 2012

Volunteers at Ann Visger Elementary School


DEARBORN / Jan. 17, 2012 – UM-Dearborn senior Gabrielle Boyer painted the walls at Ann Visger Elementary School in River Rouge because she believes volunteerism is essential to community growth.

Celeste Alexander, a freshman, splattered white paint on the walls alongside Boyer because she believes giving back is essential to personal growth.

Freshman Fatimah Charles planted seeds around Walter White Community Center in River Rouge because she wanted to spread hope. And Shani Allison (’10 M.S.) scrubbed desks at a nearby school simply because she likes to volunteer.

These are just a few of the reasons why hundreds of UM-Dearborn students, faculty, staff and alumni woke up early Monday to volunteer at various sites throughout metropolitan Detroit. The campuswide volunteer effort stems from the University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service that honors the civil rights leader.

Hundreds gathered at the University Center’s Kochoff Hall Monday morning for breakfast and to meet up with their volunteer teams. UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little addressed the volunteers and thanked them for their service to the community.

“The work that you’re doing today, giving of your own time, your own energy, your own hearts, to serve our community … you are honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and you are building a better community,” Little said.

Rula Aoun (’11 B.A.) played her part in building a better community as she cleaned out lockers at Ann Visger. “I live a very privileged life and I’m very content and happy, and there are other people who don’t get to live such an advantaged life and don’t get to have clean schools … so I just felt like it was very important to play my part and help out in the community and do what I could,” Aoun said.

Ashanda Horton, a sophomore, joined Aoun and scrubbed lockers at the school. “MLK Day is important to me because he helped get a lot of people freedom and I believe we need to keep that in mind as the years progress, and it’s important to give back to the community,” Horton said.

After scrubbing floors and painting walls, members of the campus community returned to Kochoff Hall for lunch and musical performances.

To view a photo album from with pictures from sites across southeast Michigan visit Flickr  or Facebook.

Click here to see why some students and alumni decided to volunteer.

Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan-Dearborn is a metropolitan university serving southeastern Michigan, committed to excellence rooted in strong academics, innovative research and programming and civic engagement. The University has nearly 8,900 students pursuing more than 100 bachelor's, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business and education. A top-ranked university with a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of partnering with local leaders and communities, and is committed to finding solutions for the challenges that face the region.