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September 05, 2003 - Image 53

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-05

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of how people live in the city. Summer
in the City's ::?..freshing and invigorating,
that's why I go and bust up concrete
with them."
Also an educator at Temple Shir
Shalom, Nathan of West Bloomfield
discovered that she wasn't the only one
wowed by this group. Of all the places
her b'nai mitzvah students volunteered,
the teens said that Summer in the City
had the greatest impact on them.

Times A'Changing

As teenagers, Falik and Greenberg first
cycled, then drove from the suburbs
into Detroit to explore the city.
"The suburbs were not a place to be
gathering," says Falik, who is an urban
studies and creative writing major at
Columbia University in New York City.
"It's a great place to be from age 0-10
and 40-90. But it's stultifying in
between. I wanted a place with a pulse."
Born after the 1967 Detroit riots,
Falik and others his age seem more
open to explore a city that sent their
parents' generation seeking safety in the
Falik says he and his friends sense

Detroit's problems, but found the city
had a great potential the suburbs didn't.
Greenberg says the suburbs are unstim-
ulating. Both believe the city's cultural
and socio-economic diversity as well as
its rich history have much to offer.
They are aware of the city's problems
and know Detroit is losing young sin-
gles like them every year, says
"Look at cities like Chicago,
Cincinnati and Toronto that have
young people. The cities are planned
around young people who can meet on
the streets, in parks," he says.
"People don't get to see people in
Detroit; they're isolated in cars or fear
people because of their color," says
Greenberg, a junior at the University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor.
He dreams of working on a Detroit-
area regional transportation system.
"There's the potential, but little in the
way of public spheres in Detroit," Falik
Yet he and Greenberg persist, feeling
both a connection and a responsibility.
to Detroit.
"I was probably most captivated by
building community in the city, an

important part of my Jewish back-
ground," Falik says. "And I'm interested
in social action and tikkun olam (repair
of the world). There's not much of a
market for that in affluent areas. You
have to expand your concept of com-
munity in the suburbs to include
Detroit and Pontiac."
And by expanding their sense of corn-
Tunity, the SITC volunteers gain a
deeper understanding of their surround-
"If you help out in the city and take
the time to see what it's like, all you've
heard about Detroit is a little off," says
SITC volunteer Samantha Solomon,
15, of West Bloomfield. "The people
are just like us, but not as fortunate.
When we meet, it's really great and
they're so appreciative and nice."
Gail LePage, a social worker at
Andover High School, brought her
daughter Mallory, 16, and several of her
friends to a SITC site and got hooked.
She wasn't always a Detroit fan.
LePage says she was nervous at first
about going into the city. When she
got her master's degree in 1981 at

313 CALLING on page 54

Detroit urban artist
Tyree Guyton,
and Ben Falik discuss
Guyton's contribution
to the Summer in the
City mural.


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