A Warm Fuzzy Still Feels Good on a Hot Day.

May 31, 2007 | 826 Blog Post

As the school year winds to a close, we can’t help but take a look back at what an incredible, busy year it’s been here at 826michigan. Tutoring expanded in ways we couldn’t have imagined (and today was the last day of tutoring for the school year!); the workshops were bigger and better than ever (the Summer Schedule is up here!); we put out another amazing publication (order it here!); and our volunteer base (at least) quadrupled (download an application here and join in!). And then there were the many in-schools projects, in which we got to visit dozens of schools, meet scores of teachers, and work with hundreds of students in their classrooms.

All of these experiences are noteworthy, but today we want to talk about one in particular: an in-school project that just wrapped up. It’s not the first time we’ve gone into the Willow Run School District, but it is the most recent, and one that sticks out in part because of the absolutely inspirational teacher we were able to assist.

Terry Carpenter is a huge advocate for his students at Willow Run Alternative High School. He believes in them and wants nothing more than to see the community support them too. For example, Terry and his students worked toward building a greenhouse in the back of their school for two years before the administration got behind them. Now, the students spend time after school planting, gardening, weeding, and just hanging out at the greenhouse. It was a not-too-small accomplishment for the teens and their great teacher.

Now, Terry wants the community to support another idea: a teen center. Last fall the only teen hangout in Ypsilanti, a skating rink, burned to the ground, and the teens were left with nowhere to go. They desperately want somewhere to call their own, to get them out of their parents’ basements, out of parking lots, and off the streets.

Terry invited 826michigan to his classroom to work with the teens on creating a ’zine to use as a marketing tool for their teen center. We spent four days helping the students begin the process of seeking resources to support their lofty goal. The students not only found a reason to voice their opinions, but 826michigan helped them create a vehicle through which to publish and share their views.

There is a great deal of work to be done in order for this dream to become a reality, and 826michigan will continue to support Terry and his students. If you would like to help Willow Run Alternative High School accomplish their goal, please email erin@826michigan.org. We’d love your help!

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