Student helps needy get Clean Start

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published November 7, 2012

ROCHESTER HILLS — For her outstanding work founding a community service project, high school senior Danielle Ziaja has been honored by the city.

Ziaja, who attends Detroit Country Day School, developed Clean Start Project to collect personal-use items and school supplies for donation to shelters and food banks in Southeast Michigan. During the past summer, she collected more than 50,000 items.

Her donations benefited the Lighthouse and the Rochester Neighborhood House, where Neighborhood House officials said the donation was the largest ever ­­made by an individual.

Clean Start Project personal items have also been donated to the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team and the Salvation Army. Clean Start donated uniforms to Brookfield Academy in Rochester Hills, where Ziaja attended elementary school.

“We have a great philanthropic spirit here,” said Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett on Oct. 22, when the Rochester Hills City Council presented a proclamation to Ziaja. “It is nice to recognize that in the next generation,” Barnett said. “She has done some outstanding and incredible things in the community. Thank you from a grateful community for giving back and doing something outstanding for our residents.”

Ziaja will continue Clean Start Project.

“I am collecting hotel toiletries, school supplies — anything your are not using,” she said. “If you have anything around, I will gladly pick it up for you. Anything you can give would be great.”

Those interested in donating to Clean Start Project can contact Ziaja at The project’s Facebook page lists donors and future plans.