Read with and tutor elementary students.
Play in a father-son basketball game.
Reorganize a school media center in tribute to Coretta Scott King.
Help students with science projects.
March on Washington... well, actually, March on Mullane St. in southwest Detroit.
Help out with a musical tribute.
Help with diversity mentoring.
Build a student café' out of an unused Home Ec room.
Volunteer service projects are often of the paint/fix/clean-up type (and we have plenty of those in much deserved locations as well!). But this year's new listings of school projects across DPS on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Monday January 21, 2013, have a lot of good options for the breed of volunteer (of which I am one) who has to know that when they serve, they're doing something to change the world. Or, at least make a significant difference in their corner of it!
For example, the diversity mentoring takes place at Gardner School, one of DPS' most multicultural, where students' families originate from many countries including Nigeria, Yemen, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Mexico. The student café will be housed at the innovative campus that houses three self-governing Osborn High Schools overseen by a governing council and principals that serve as CEOs who have a 90 percent college-going goal for entering 9th graders. The father-son basketball game is at a northeast side school whose Census tract shows 30 percent of households led by females with no husband present.
Detroit Public Schools teamed up with City Year Detroit, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the Detroit Public Schools Foundation to expand upon some longstanding Day of Service volunteer activities and to provide our alumni a unique way to get a peek back inside their former schools while giving some service to the current student body there. It also gives DPS a jumpstart on enhancing its database of alums so that we can connect former students with communication and outreach about today's schools, issues, programs and initiatives.
A full list of volunteer project sites is here.
But given HuffPost Detroit's varied and active readership, let me offer a broader challenge, and issue a set of more specific invitations, for signing up at ComeBacktoDPS.com :
-If you'd like to view a historic Presidential Inauguration Day with others in your community and perhaps even start a little civic dialogue while cleaning up a school hallway, gymnasium, library or playground, we'll have the TV's on, so sign up.
-If your job's in the city but you stay in the suburbs and drive past a DPS school each workday and, perhaps, wonder what's it really like within a "Detroit Public School," sign up.
-If you live in a Detroit neighborhood with a DPS school down the street that you've never been inside, now's the time to see for yourself... sign up.
-If your experience in urban exploring has been limited to roaming closed or abandoned structures with a screwdriver and a camera in hand, put the tool to good use for a change and bring the camera along to show your web followers or other cohorts another side of Detroit, its current active education enterprise, and sign up.
-If you're an educator, a parent, a student from a surrounding community whose schools have cancelled classes on the Dr. King holiday, here's a challenge to avoid the malls and skip the theaters, give some service here at DPS instead. Sign up.
Sign up at ComeBacktoDPS.com or 313-240-4DPS.
And if this wasn't convincing enough, listen to the children.