Restaurant Week funds scholarship for teen volunteers

Try new food and reward students who serve the community

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 14, 2012

MADISON HEIGHTS — Piggybacking off a taste festival and cultural show in Madison Heights during the same week, the Madison Heights/Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce is arranging a “Restaurant Week” to give people great deals while exploring the city’s culinary attractions — and helping deserving teens go to college.

The event runs from Friday, Nov. 16, through Wednesday, Nov. 21. The idea is for participating restaurants to attract new guests at “Around the Globe in Madison Heights” at Wilkinson Middle School Nov. 15. Then, they offer discounts on up to three three-course menus during Restaurant Week. The dishes are offered at a discounted rate of $15, $25 and/or $35. Beverages, gratuity and tax are not included in the rate.

“The reason for the different prices is so a variety of restaurants can participate,” said Alan Horn, executive director of the MH/HP Chamber of Commerce. “We have some where $20 is their normal ticket and we’d ask them to discount to $15, whereas at a higher-end restaurant like Boodles, $20 wouldn’t be realistic to them.”

At press time, the list of participating venues was still being finalized. More vendors can still contact the chamber to join.

Horn said they’re reaching out to everyone they can. There are more than 100 food establishments in Madison Heights, of which about half have the ability to dine in or carryout; of these, Horn expects to get 10-15 on board with Restaurant Week.  

One business that will participate in both “Around the Globe in Madison Heights” and Restaurant Week is LC’s Asian Kitchen, 29070 N. Campbell in Madison Heights.

Owner Larry Leto said he’s thinking about discounting a beef dish and a chicken dish, like their signature General Chicken, a nugget of white meat battered, deep-fried and served with spicy mandarin sauce. They may also discount an appetizer, he said.

“Restaurant Week is another way to get exposure in the community while, at the same time, offering a good value to our customers,” Leto said. “It’s a win-win situation.”

There is a $100 registration fee for a restaurant to participate, which will help fund the 2012/13 Madison Heights Youth Assistance scholarships for high school seniors.

Thus, by supporting the businesses that support Restaurant Week, people are supporting hardworking students from Madison High, Lamphere High, Community High and Bishop Foley Catholic High, all of which are eligible for the scholarships. 

What’s unique about the MHYA scholarship is that it’s based on community service, not grade-point average. Someone could be merely decent in school but contribute many hours volunteering around the neighborhood or on mission trips, or perhaps they committed an act of heroism. The idea is to cultivate a lifetime of volunteerism.

When the nomination forms come out in January, school personnel, churches and even parents can nominate a student they believe has contributed to the community. Winners are then announced at the MHYA’s Youth Recognition event in May.

This will be the 11th year of the event. Last year was the first time the MHYA was able to give five $500 scholarships.

“It’s something good the kids are doing for their community, so we’re giving back in the way of scholarships,” said Verna Warren, MHYA office manager.

Established in 1958, MHYA has been around nearly as long as the city itself and is but one of 26 Youth Assistance offices throughout Oakland County. Counseling services are available through the various offices, with case workers to handle troubled youth, diverting them out of the court system so they can correct their course constructively, rather than having their self-esteem destroyed by their brush with the law.

“(Youth Assistance) was started in Hazel Park by a judge who saw the need for kids to have an intermediary program so that they had a second chance,” Warren said. “It applies to truancy issues they may have at school, as well, seeing what the underlying issue is and helping them with that. Hopefully that second chance will be something that they remember.”

The other major component of MHYA is the volunteer work, which involves planning programs and events for youth and families in Madison Heights. Working with groups such as the MH/HP Chamber of Commerce to fund this year’s round of scholarships is an example of a way they give back to those who serve others.

“The committee will go through the nominees and they will decide,” Warren said. “We encourage the nominators to indicate how many hours the student volunteered, which is huge; if a kid raked a neighbor’s leaves, or someone went to another country and helped build a school, the time investment can impact the decision. It shows how driven and committed they were during the year. The goal is to recognize them with this event.”

For an up-to-date list of venues participating in Restaurant Week Nov. 16-21, or to register your own restaurant, call the Madison Heights/Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce at (248) 542-5010.

For more information about Madison Heights Youth Assistance, call their general number at (248) 583-0851 or email madisonheight