Events, Giving Back

Yelp! is barking up the right tree to better Detroit

When Annette Janik took the Detroit community manager job with the social networking site Yelp!, she had a personal goal to do something to contribute to bettering the region. She saw a few examples of how Yelp Helps! events worked in other cities and knew it was a great fit.

On June 15, she will be introducing Yelpers! to 16 non-profit organizations who are eager to lend a hand.

“Yelpers! really want to give back but they’re not always sure where to help,” she says.

Before we go any further … a quick primer on Yelp! terminology. Members of the website are called Yelpers!. Members who are the most engaged in writing a lot of reviews and participating in a lot of off-line Yelp! events are a part of the Elite Squad. A good way to meet a bunch of Yelpers! is usually at a CMYE, otherwise known as a Community Manager Yelp! Event.

So when she sent messages to members of the Elite Squad about what organizations they are involved with she found quite a diversity in the groups. Slow Food Detroit, Friends of the Dearborn Animal Shelter, Gleaners Community Food Bank and Vista Maria are among the organizations the Elite Squad wanted to get involved.

For Vista Maria, the opportunity could not come at a better time. They have been working hard to change the perception about the agency to reflect the work they do to help young women re-acclimate in society.

As Rebecca Hermann, the events and marketing coordinator for Vista Maria points out, “We help heal girls, get them back out and functioning in society.”

At the event, she is excited to be able to talk with dozens of people who are motivated to give back to their community. According to Janik, the other 15 organizations who will be involved were just as enthusiastic.

The event gives also gives Yelpers! the chance to be entered into a prize drawing just for talking with 10 organizations. Businesses from Pontiac to Detroit to Ann Arbor have contributed prizes. The self described deep funk/soul band Third Coast Kings will be performing during the event while Yelpers! partake in free food and beverages.

As the calendar counts down to the start of Yelp Helps!, Janik knows her Yelpers! are excited to meet new organizations, the organizations are excited to meet new potential volunteers and everyone is happy to see that Yelp! can be used for something other than reviewing restaurants.

To RSVP for Yelp Helps! or to get more information, please visit


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