Voices for Earth Justice staff Rich Samartino, Patty Gillis, and Naim Edwards, and summer intern Theresa Beckley-Amaya participated in the St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat Center’s young adult service retreat. The first day started with a service project at our neighbor Bianca Danzy's property across the street from Hope House, where volunteers gutted the burned out house, so it can be restored as a garden center. Other volunteers cleared the back yard of brush, and painted at Hope House.
Back at the retreat center, we reflected on the call to a life of service, and discussed social justice issues in Detroit and beyond.
Thanks to Bianca, our interns, and volunteers this summer, our garden has been thriving and yielding much produce. With such an abundance, we can both provide it at the farmers' market and give it away to neighbors, visitors, and volunteers.
With support from the Father Clement H. Kern Foundation, we re-launched our youth internship program this August, and welcomed five teenagers from the community to manage the garden and assist us at the Northwest Detroit Farmer's Market. Lamar (17), Lauren (13), Jonathan (18), Damone (13), Michelle (14), and Ricky (12) learned gardening skills, as well as how to cook healthy meals and sell at the market. Bianca led them in a cooking demonstration in the Education Center, using a meal prepared with almost 100% of the herbs and vegetables sourced from our garden.
In late August, we enjoyed a laid back lunch, orientation, and work day with this fall’s PeerCorps group and the family of L'Oreal Hawkes-Williams, our summer intern in 2015. L’Oreal and her husband Dennis are gifting us with professional video and photography to help us promote Voices for Earth Justice’s mission.
Peer Corps will be back! We will be blessed with two mentors from this group of Jewish teens who will help Hope House by caring for the garden and creating educational materials.
In August, Voices for Earth Justice bid farewell to Theresa Beckley-Amaya, our intern in University of Michigan’s Detroit Community Based Research Program (DCBRP). Theresa was an absolute joy to work with; and her research allowed us to network with other private, non-profit, and community organizations that have missions and community engagement similar to ours. We also gained ideas for how to better engage youth as well as how to organize our garden. Pictured above is Naim Edwards, Voices for Earth Justice’s Program Director, with Theresa (center) and our DCBRP intern from last summer L’Oreal Hawkes-Williams at the August 5th DCBRP Exhibition. At the exhibition, Theresa presented a spoken word piece with Naim recounting her experiences in Detroit this summer.