Week Four: Tire Sweep – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week Four: Tire Sweep

Culture left alone hardly ever sees significant change, many of the essential traits that are encompassed within the environment are often passed along from one generation to the next at routine family diners and weekend getaways. In most cases little to nothing will change within a system unless its members choose to interacts with others and share new adventures and experiences. More or so this was the case of a group of teenagers that hail from southern Chicago. These teens many of which had never visited Detroit decided to that they not only wanted to experience something new and exciting, but they also wanted to do it in a way that helped a community at the same time. This is where SDEV’s annual Tire Sweep came into play. With the help of these amazing teens and other awesome volunteers we as a whole group were able to pick up a total of 3,000 tires through the community of Southwest Detroit. The areas we picked up tires from ranged from five different zip codes, one of them was even the area code 48217, known to be the most polluted area in all of Michigan. Something that is rather unfortunate for many of its inhabitants. All of this is due to the industry that closely occupies much of the residential space alongside them.  Although, as a team we all hoped that throughout the course of this last week we could make a difference.

Detroit, as many of us may know, often is the subject of negative ridicule and attention due to the events that often happen in the city. Despite all of this the city still aims to make a comeback all throughout its borders. Like I mentioned beforehand many of these kids had never taken a single step within the city that we often call home. To them Detroit was just another news headline. Although despite all that, they took the week to not only work in Detroit but truly come to know it for what it truly was and is. In their own words, that all had the opportunity to get to know what Detroit and its residents were all about and how one small event could help out the community as a whole. Despite the fact that they had never been here, they all embraced and became one with it while at the same time experience all of its hardships and work it took to revitalize it. In the words of one of the chaperons in their group, ” I often say that whenever we go around in trips we will always apply the Vegas rule that what happens here, stays here, but in this case I hope we can apply the Vegas rule a bit differently, what happened here, will go with you everywhere. In an effort to not forget that you can make a change no matter where you are no matter how big or small it may be.”  Alongside theses group of kids and volunteer I once again was reminded of the working spirit humans can have no matter what background or walk path they have. When united for a common cause anything is truly possible.

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