EMEAC volunteers and staff enjoy special volunteer night at CCCC

October 22, 2011

EMEAC Volunteer of the quarter Roger Boyd, left,
speaks at Volunteer Appreciation Night as EMEAC
Youth Leader Siwatu Salama-Ra listens on
DETROIT – In the course of doing environmental justice work in a city like Detroit, it is unfortunately a rare occasion when the staff of community organizations like EMEAC find casual time to share with the selfless people who dedicate their own free time to lend a hand in helping to improve the quality of life for their fellow citizens. Volunteers give freely of their free time to help community groups further their mission but it happens to be in the course of helping others. 

In recognition of that service and in honor of the volunteers themselves, approximately 60 volunteers and staff members came out on September 30 for EMEAC’s first Volunteer Appreciation Night gathering in McCollester Hall of the Cass Corridor Community Commons Space inside the First Universalist Unitarian Church. The event not only was a forum for staff members to express their appreciation for the efforts of volunteers, but it was also that special occasion when staff and volunteers could enjoy time in community with each other. 

“Volunteer night went very good,” said EMEAC Volunteer Coordinator Kim Sherobi. “People had a good time although it was a cold rainy night. I think that kept some people out and we didn’t get as many people as we expected, but overall I think it was good. Still the food was great and the company was great.”

Several volunteers were recognized for their exceptional work in helping the various EMEAC programs through out the year. Nineteen-year-old Roger Boyd was recognized as EMEAC’s volunteer of the quarter for his work over the summer with the Stand Up Speak Out Young Educators Alliance team, the Gardening Activism Media and Environmentalism (GAME) summer camp and the Youth Food Justice Taskforce.

“Roger came in and really stepped up for us this summer,” said EMEAC Communications Coordinator Patrick Geans-Ali. “He’s been the kind of young person that leads by example. He’s been one of the best youth leaders on our YEA team. He was a consistent presence through both phases of GAME Camp and he is taking a leading role in the development of the youth food justice taskforce.

“It’s a real credit to the city and the community in general to have young men like Roger representing Detroit. He not only has the kind of natural ability we see in so many of our young people but he’s also a very hard worker who is trying to put those gifts to use benefiting his community.”

EMEAC's Sanaa Nia Joy raffles off prizes
Other volunteers receiving special recognition were Talib Bexler of the Youth Build Program, DeRaina Stinson with ReMedia, Ms. Gligor of Detroit Institute of Technology, EMEAC’s Americorps Interns: Ashley Foresyk, Sharmin Salaam, Maria Rien and Madeline Smith and many others.

“It’s not that any one person does everything because we need the help of so many, but I want to give a shout out to Deraina,” Sherobi said. “She helped us put the video together. DeRaina spent a lot of time getting the piece together so we want to thank her, but everybody stepped up.

“I want to thank the volunteers themselves for coming out and helping to put the event together. I always think about for instance Ms. Gligor. She always steps up. As a teacher from DIT/Cody she brought at least one or two students who showed up. She’s very committed.”

Other activities at volunteer night included the raffling of over a dozen prizes, a slide show in honor of the volunteers and their work, a special presentation by M'lis Bartlette, a landscape architect student from the University of Michigan, who helped design and supervise the school landscaping under EMEAC’s Greener Schools Program and a special meal provided by CCCC partner People’s Kitchen Detroit.

“Talib volunteered several times at P3A and DIT and Nsoroma,” Sherobi added, “They’ve helped us get the gardens together, so I was glad he came out. He also won one of the prizes in the raffle. He really appreciated that and I had another volunteer tell me how much that was appreciated and of course, they are always appreciated in return.”

More than anything, EMEAC staff said it was good to be able to interact with their volunteers and get to know them on a personal level.

MSU's M'Lis Barlette gives a presentation on the
landscaping projects at DIT and P3A
“M’Lis has done a lot with the landscape design. She’s very committed. Her father helped in the landscape design. Her partner, who is a local farmer, he helped. He’s a really nice guy and of course M'Lis shows up and she just absolutely loves what she does,” Sherobi said. “Without her help, it couldn’t have happened and the wonderful thing about it was that I got a chance to even get to know her more personally. She got a chance to meet my partner, who also does urban gardening. We all got a chance to sit down at the table and talk farm talk. That was fun. It gave us all a chance to interact on a personal level.”