Detroiters Embrace Visiting Lutheran Teens for 'Your Good Work for Our Area'

July 18, 2015, 8:27 PM by  Alan Stamm

Neighborhood youngsters join Gulf Coast region teens tidying their block. (Photo by Bishop Michael Rinehart)

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Thousands of Detroit visitors put sweat and strength behind their commitment to social justice.

Each afternoon since Thursday, buses have taken teens from California, Washington, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, both Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin and other states to Brightmoor, Southwest Detroit, Arden Park, Belvidere (Gratiot Woods), Woodbridge and elsewhere for community service.

They've done trash removal, yard work, landscaping, painting a homeless shelter, boarding-up and other chores as part of "Proclaim Justice" commitments during a Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Youth Gathering that ends Sunday.

A homeowner identified only as Howard poses with new friends from Abiding Grace Lutheran Church of Southlake, Texas.

"Great group of kids helped us clean two blocks on Michigan Ave. between 31st and 30th Streets and painted the Yellow Tigers Karate School on Michigan," Randy Hargraves of Detroit posts on our Facebook page, where we display 11 photos of the teens in action.

The pair of posts Friday draw more than 1,000 "likes," nearly 80 comments and are shared about 140 times. "Thanks for your job well-done," Dorothy J. Parnell says at mid-afternoon Saturday. "They were on my block today. Wonderful job."

"Someone should send them a thank you note. Would be nice if the Mayor sent it," Martin Vanwell of Detroit says in another reply.

At his Facebook page, Northwest Brightmoor Renaissance group member Jonathan Pommerville shows 44 teens and adults in front of a newly boarded-up home with freshly mowed front, side and back yards that were cleared of debris. "These people worked sooo hard," he says. "I thank god for these kind Christians!!!" More than 400 volunteers came over three days, according to Pommerville, 38.

Students spiff up Mighty Voices of Hope, a west-side homeless shelter, in 90-degree heat Saturday. "This was a huge job that would have taken weeks to complete without their help," says Cindy Gonzalez. (Photo by Chris Ocken)

The roughly 100 groups getting help -- even in Saturday's brutal heat, which hit 90 degrees -- include Cass Community Social Services NorthEnd Neighborhood Patrol, Sharon Missionary Baptist Church, urban farms, community gardens, block clubs, community development corporations and Gleaners Community Food Bank.

These are among responses from Deadline readers   

"I am disabled:" Thank you for all of those who were kind, sweet and worked really hard. I am disabled and live in a neighborhood you helped. I even got joy at waving good-bye to buses pulling away. -- Nancy Teatro, Linwood and Oakman area 

"Warmed my heart:" I saw them around our neighborhood. It warmed my heart to see clean-up happening somewhere other than downtown. . . Hallelujah. -- Debra King

"Good work:" They worked like troopers. We thank you for your good work for our area. -- Anne McGraw-Mueller, retired

"Bringing smiles:" Awesome improvements. Keep it up. You're bringing smiles to communities. -- Joe Murray

"Faith, hope and belief:" Thank you for planting faith, hope and belief into communities that have had such little hope and expectations that they would ever bear witnesses to this in their community!! -- James Dodsworth

► Role models: Great example to other youth! -- Nancy Johnson, nurse

Students from the Genesee-Finger Lakes region of upstate New York on Saturday did mulching, composting and lawn-edging at the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm and Market, between Arden Park and Holbrook. (Photo by Kristin Werner Romell)

"A better future:" Kids like you give people hope for a better future. -- Pam Conrad

"So proud:" God's hands and feet at work! So proud of every one that is taking part in this Gathering. -- Gayle Schmidt, Rossford, Ohio

"Wonderful:" Met a lot of these kids -- wonderful feeling. Really good kids and adults! -- Lillian B. Rowe

"Renew my faith:" These kids renew my faith in this generation of kids by getting out from behind video games, etc. Proud of you. -- Kitt Alexander, Troy

 "Worthwhile act:" What good kids, doing a worthwhile act of service. -- Barbara Bearley, Saint Marys, Ohio 

Related coverage:

A city-supplied Dumpter and dedicated young convention-goers combat the blight of illegal dumping in a sparsely populated Detroit neighborhood. (Photo by Scott Metzger)

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