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July 15, 2013

Madison Heights Men’s Club aims to serve the community

New volunteer group holding its first fundraiser at Marinelli’s July 24

By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer

MADISON HEIGHTS — There is a new group of do-gooders in town.

Called the Madison Heights Men’s Club, the group is inspired by similar efforts in other communities and forms a sort of male-centric parallel to the long-established and award-winning GFWC Madison Heights Intermediate Women’s Club.

According to Bobby Robinson, president of the Men’s Club, they’re determined to dispel some stereotypes and get work done.

‘“We don’t want this to be a bunch of guys getting together to have a beer, which is sometimes what happens when guys get together,” Robinson said. “We want this to be about men coming together to make a difference in their community.”

The nonprofit group is for men from Madison Heights, ages 21 and older. Meetings are usually held at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of the month. The meeting venue is always changing, typically rotating between member households. 

Membership is $50 a year. The first meeting is free to attend, allowing people to see if they’re interested. Yearly dues are requested at the second meeting.

The member dues help fund the projects they have planned for the community, ranging from clean-up and landscaping efforts to keep Madison Heights looking its best, to scholarship funds for the local school districts and holiday family adoption efforts.

The first official fundraiser will be a pasta-and-bread dinner at Marinelli’s Restaurant, 611 W. 12 Mile, from 5-10 p.m. Wednesday, July 24. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for kids and free for ages 3 and younger. The dinner consists of spaghetti and rolls, and all proceeds will go toward the scholarship and adopt-a-family funds.

The goal with the scholarships is to recognize deserving students from Madison High and Lamphere High by the end of next year, rewarding them for good citizenship.

As for the adopt-a-family effort, the goal is to sponsor a couple families from each school building this Thanksgiving and Christmas.   

“We think it’s a great way to show our kids, as parents, what it’s like to give back to the city,” said Todd Whalen, club member.

The Men’s Club made its debut earlier this year during the annual spring cleanup at the Red Oaks Nature Center. They showed up 20-strong, dressed in red shirts — a bright sight on a rainy morning. They then proceeded to canvass the woods for an invasive weed called garlic mustard, uprooting it wherever it was found.

The guys have a green thumb and are currently eying potential landscaping work that could be done around the entryway to Edison Elementary, where Robinson works as a teacher, and in the garden courtyard at Lessenger Elementary, where Whalen’s wife works as a kindergarten teacher.

Robinson also mentioned cleaning up the area along I-75 so people coming to the city have a more positive first impression.

Whalen said it’s all about community pride.

“It’s relieving to see that so many people want to do the same sort of thing: to volunteer and help people,” Whalen said. “It’s good to see it’s moving forward.”

The spaghetti dinner fundraiser, benefiting the scholarship fund and adopt-a-family fund, will take place at Marinelli’s Restaurant, 611 W. 12 Mile, from 5-10 p.m. Wednesday, July 24. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for kids and free for ages 3 and younger.

For more information about the Madison Heights Men’s Club, including the time, date and place of their next meeting, call (248) 765-9429 or visit them on Facebook.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at akozlowski@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1104.