New community programs headed to Eastpointe parks

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 13, 2019

 Yoga instructor Akilah Muhammad will lead a new Yoga in the Park program at 10 a.m. Aug. 17 at Rein Park in Eastpointe. It is part of a new initiative in  the city to utilize more of its parks  for public events and programs.

Yoga instructor Akilah Muhammad will lead a new Yoga in the Park program at 10 a.m. Aug. 17 at Rein Park in Eastpointe. It is part of a new initiative in the city to utilize more of its parks for public events and programs.

Photo provided by Akilah Muhammad

Photo provided by Akilah Muhammad

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EASTPOINTE — Eastpointe residents may see several new programs popping up in their local parks thanks to a new push for community-led events.

The new push is the work of Eastpointe City Councilwoman Monique Owens. She sees the small neighborhood parks located around the homes of Eastpointe residents as an untapped resource in the community that can be put to good use.

“Many of our parks are not used or at least not used often,” Owens explained. “Three or four of those parks are rarely used, so I want to use those resources by hosting events there. People want to do something for the community and see the city excel. I am inviting people to contact me so we can encourage those programs so people can feel like they live in a community. Blight isn’t just abandoned houses; it’s people feeling like they are in an abandoned community.”

The first of these events will be Yoga in the Park, which will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at Rein Park, located at 15898 N. Park Ave. It will be led by instructor Akilah Muhammad.

“It would be a gentle yoga flow open to people at any level,” Muhammad explained. “People can come even if they’ve never done it before. I teach at a level that everyone is comfortable, and those who are a bit more advanced can do some more advanced poses. It’s open to both children and adults. We’ll work on deep breathing and getting centered, we’ll do some poses and then cool down.”

Muhammad teaches yoga professionally and thought it would be a great opportunity for Eastpointe area residents.

“My sister, Kylah Washington, referred Councilwoman Owens to me,” she said. “I had just finished a yoga training program in Thailand, and my sister was telling Councilwoman Owens about that, and we just started talking,” she said. “If you could benefit from stress relief, this is something you could try that could improve your life. If you’ve never tried yoga, it’s something you may be surprised you’d love.”

Besides the yoga event, a second program has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 31.

“We’ll also be doing a back-to-school event,” said Owens. “We’ll have a bounce house, a back-to-school fashion show, haircuts, health checks for students, lessons on how to talk to teachers, and conflict resolution instruction. That will be from 12 to 5 p.m. at Fairlane Park.”

Fairlane Park is located at the corner of Toepfer Drive and Beaconsfield Avenue. The program is being led by Kylah Washington, of the Joy of Life Foundation, and Mary Jane Campbell, of the School of Hard Knocks youth group.

“We want to promote safety, education and health in the community. Eastpointe children are one of our main concerns, and Councilwoman Owens is pushing for unity in the community and giving back,” Washington said. “Sometimes children can feel lost when it comes to adult concerns, so we wanted to put their concerns first.”

Washington had been working with Owens on other community projects through Joy of Life when they began discussing the possibility of creating a back-to-school event. Momentum for the project took off from there.

“It’s a family-friendly event. We want the Eastpointe community to know we, as a community, are working to bridge the gap between them and children,” said Washington. “We want people to know that the city cares about their issues and their safety. This event will promote that and push for a more family-friendly area. We’ll have free haircuts, free food, hygiene kits and so much more.”

Additional events are being planned in the parks, although details for the others are still being determined.

“We’ll also have a program at Goetz Park in September, which will be Jazz on the Grass, which will be a nice local jazz concert,” Owens said. “We’re still working on the details.”

Goetz Park is located between Lincoln Avenue and Veronica Avenue.

All the events are free to attend, although people have to register for the back-to-school event. They can do so by calling Owens at (586) 277-1021 or emailing her at councilwomanmoniqueowens@gmail.com.

Owens also is inviting residents interested in leading or organizing similar programs to contact her to discuss hosting an event. Those wishing to organize events would be required to submit a $75 registration fee for the park and provide proof of insurance for the event.

“I’m trying to come up with interesting ideas, and I heard several residents saying we should be using the parks more, so this seemed like a good way to accomplish that and improve the community,” remarked Owens.

Owens said she hopes these programs will help invigorate culture and community in Eastpointe and encourage more residents to meet their neighbors and get involved.

“If people see this, they will be more likely to get a program going of their own,” she said. “We’ve never had programs like this at these parks, but you have to start somewhere. You build a community by looking at the things not being used or the people who aren’t involved and using them and engaging them.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.

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