“We engage in youth enrichment work across the tri-county area through educational, athletic and holistic approaches.”
Photo courtesy of Joseph Campbell

Wayne State students are getting involved in the nonprofit sector and giving back to the community.

Law student Joseph Campbell, president of Greater Detroit Coalition, said he was inspired to help the youth of Detroit.

“Our mission is to advance regional equity by uniting, empowering, and educating metro Detroit’s youth,” he said. “We engage in youth enrichment work across the tri-county area through educational, athletic and holistic approaches.”

Earlier this year Greater Detroit Coalition’s Leadership Academy teamed up with Horatio Williams Foundation to present students at Edison Public Academy with athletic scholarship opportunities.

Later this summer, on August 17, Greater Detroit Coalition will host its inaugural Stomp the Stigma 5k to increase awareness of youth mental health issues.

Greater Detroit Coalition also partners with Homeless Not Helpless, a student group committed to uplifting the lives of those who attend and live near WSU.

“In February, we successfully ran a Giving Bag Challenge between Wayne Law Students, Long Meadow Elementary Students of Rochester Public Schools, and Medical Students from Michigan State Medical School's Detroit Campus,” Campbell said.

They donated over 17,000 items to the Neighborhood Service Organization homeless shelter.

“The winner of the Homeless Not Helpless Giving Bag Challenge was Long Meadow Elementary School. The winning students received a free movie pass and popcorn at Emagine Cinema,” he said.

Deirdre Laney-King, WSU and Irvin Reid honors college alumna, said her time at WSU prepared her for the nonprofit world. 

“I was uniquely prepared to engage in the city of Detroit as a participant and community member, rather than an outsider, a voyeur, hipster, or someone with a complicated savior complex,” Laney-King said. “WSU taught me to understand the city and the challenges it faces in the context of history, policy, and geography—through the lens of social justice.” 

She has worked with The Student Conservation Association, Greening of Detroit, American Indian Health and Family Services, and is now special projects coordinator for Children’s System of Care at The Guidance Center.

Wayne State has a history of nonprofit partnerships.

Focus: HOPE is a civil and human rights organization that was founded in 1968. One of its first major breakthroughs was a collaborative study with WSU.

“Over the past five years alone, WSU has supported each areas of our focus; food, careers and community,” said Khristi Miller, Focus: HOPE’s manager of volunteer outreach. “From assisting with mock interviews with students, to boarding up homes, to boxing up food for some of our 42,000 seniors we feed every month.”

Campbell thinks the reward from working with nonprofit organizations is worth the challenge, and encouraged more students to get involved with nonprofits. 

“Young entrepreneurs not only offer innovative and creative ideas, but also the energy to make them a reality,” Campbell said. “The value of civic virtue and giving back to one’s community has effectively been eliminated from most Michigan K-12 schools’ curriculum."

"If more youngsters participated in structured after-school programs and believed in giving back to their community, there would be drastically less dropouts and juvenile issues.”

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