With all of the change happening in the Motor City, folks are rolling up their sleeves and pitching in, in their own way. For 106 young people in the General Motors (GM) Student Corps, they are heading back to school, knowing they didn’t just talk about the change. They made it happen in Detroit and Flint.
There has been a lot of attention on General Motors lately, but even with all that is going on, the Student Corp project moved forward for another summer. This year there were more students from more schools and another city was added – Flint.
This group, aided by GM retirees and University of Detroit Mercy interns, eagerly jumped in to volunteer projects in parks, neighborhoods and areas in much need of transformation. Gallons and gallons of paint, plenty of trash bags and elbow grease were standard items in their transformation tool kits.
In its second year, the program is an exposure opportunity to the real world of impact and responsibility, as well as the chance to put some money in the pockets of the participants. They are also exposed to tangible life skills like interviewing, financial planning, career counseling and community involvement.
During the wrap up celebration at University of Detroit Mercy, Executive Vice President, General Motors Global Product Development Mark Reuss accentuated the positive for the automaker, students and community.
“This program has had a powerful and lasting impact on the cities and students,” he said. “The three virtues we wanted to instill were to work hard, communicate well and get along with others.”
One student told Reuss the program has “Done nothing less than changed the trajectory of my life.”
According to organizers, the program has helped provide clean and safe places to play, revitalized schools that inspire pride in learning and created fresh public spaces in the community. Reuss said the company would like to expand the program to other cities, including Pontiac, another community with a GM presence.
The GM Student Corps by the numbers:
- 106 students
- 13 GM college interns from University of Detroit Mercy
- 58 GM retirees
- 12 schools impacted
- 17 parks revitalized
- 400 flowers planted
- 200 yards of mulch used
- 150 gallons of paint used
- More than 1,000 trash bags filled
- 3,100 GM employee volunteers helped during Life Remodeled
This year was the first for UDM grad student Alyssia Recchia to help out with the program. “The most rewarding thing I saw this summer was seeing the transformation of the students. You can never underestimate what someone can do. Some of the smallest students physically, had the biggest hearts and literally tried to move mountains.”