Organization asks groups to adopt DPS schools for Neighborhoods Day

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published July 13, 2015

DETROIT — ARISE Detroit! is once again bringing people together to tackle community improvement projects throughout Detroit for its ninth annual Neighborhoods Day on Aug. 1.

ARISE Detroit! is a nonprofit organization that serves as a community mobilization effort funded by the Kresge Foundation and others.

“Neighborhoods Day is our biggest signature event,” ARISE Detroit! Executive Director Luther Keith said.

It’s an event that demonstrates pride in the city and neighborhoods, and the perseverance of the residents to show that they have not and will not give up on Detroit, Keith said in a news release.

“It’s really expanded and grown,” he said. “We like to call it Detroit’s greatest tradition.”

One of the many opportunities for individuals and groups to give back is to adopt one of 22 schools in the Detroit Public Schools for cleanup, painting, landscaping and more.

The projects vary based on the needs of the specific school.

“We can make a difference,” Keith said. “We like to call Neighborhoods Day ‘a day that changes Detroit.’”

It’s about people getting involved “to create a better city.”

While it’s the ninth year of Neighborhoods Day, it’s the fourth year that the organization has been teaming up with DPS to include the adoption of schools.

While there are many opportunities to clean up and beautify the neighborhoods, the day includes many more events and opportunities.

For example, the Community United for Progress organization partners with the Belmont Shopping Center and Imperial Market at Eight Mile and Dequindre to host a huge event on Neighborhoods Day. The event is a culmination of the work they do all year, including work to improve the Dad Butler Playfield in the Eight Mile and Dequindre area.

“All year, we’re involved with improving the city of Detroit,” Community United for Progress representative Shirley Burch said.

“They get hundreds of people to come out,” Keith said of the Neighborhoods Day event.

This year’s event will include a wide range of family-oriented activities, including a supply-filled backpack giveaway to the first 500 children who attend with their parents.

The event will also have rides, vendors, a gospel singer, kids’ sports, a health fair, a pig roast, a clown, face painting and more.

“We’re excited,” Burch said.

Community United for Progress partnered with businesses and organizations that include Rizzo Environmental Services, the Detroit Police Department, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and others.

“We bring all cultures into the area, and they’re able to express love, respect and community,” Burch said.

Burch wanted to let people know that Community United for Progress is working toward raising enough money to install a running/walking path in Dad Butler Playfield. If anyone is interested in donating or a major corporation wants to invest in the community, organizers are hoping to get that path up and running as soon as possible.

Burch wants to see groups and companies invest in the neighborhoods of Detroit and not just downtown.

Burch’s contact information is available on the Neighborhoods Day project list. To find a project to participate in or to sponsor a school, visit to see the project list or call (313) 921-1955.