CEHHS faculty and students help improve life for children in Southwest Detroit

6/14/2017

UM-Dearborn Associate Professor Dr. Christopher Burke and students from his EXPS 220 and EDD 485 classes collaborated with students from Neinas Elementary School to design and begin the installation of the Alayna Brighter Neinas Community Park

DETROIT, MI. - On Saturday May 13th, 2017 UM-Dearborn's Associate Professor Dr. Christopher Burke and students from his EXPS 220 and EDD 485 classes participated in the Building a Brighter Neinas community park project sponsored by ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services), as part of the Arab American Day of Service and hosted by Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy in Detroit.

The event brought together over 450 volunteers who helped to clean up the school grounds, sort donations for the schools clothing closet, plant flowers, spread mulch and begin the installation of the Alayna Elabed Brighter Neinas Community Park designed by the students at Neinas Elementary School in collaboration with pre-service teachers from the UM-Dearborn's College of Education, Health, and Human Services (CEHHS).

Neinas' students and UM-Dearborn's teachers designed and tested scale models of the picnic tables and recycling bins for the park out of craft sticks and glue.

The installation of the Alayna Elabed Brighter Neinas Park is one success in a five year collaboration between students and teachers at this Detroit Public School and pre-service teachers at UM-Dearborn. For the past 18 months, Dr. Burke's students have been collaborating with students from Mrs. Amy Lazarowicz’s 4th and 5th grade science classes to study, design and plan the park based on data collected from a community survey to identify goals for the park. When the classes came to a consensus about their final design they built full scale tables and recycling containers which were installed in the park during this event.

On May 16, Dr. Burke shared this experience with the Michigan Department of Education "Top 10 in 10 Innovation Roadshow" as an example of an innovative promising practice, and on May 18th CEHHS' students Jenine Conners and Rachel Marple joined Dr. Burke, Mrs. Lazarowicz and three students from Neinas to talk about the place based collaboration at the South East Michigan Stewardship Coalition's Community Forum at Eastern Michigan University.

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