to host interfaith
on Belle Isle.
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16 April 26 • 2012
PE RSPE CTIVES
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Detroit's Belle Isle will be spruced
up by community volunteers and
participants of the Jewish Council
for Public Affairs Plenum.
undreds of Jews and non-
Jews from around North
Law Olmsted, the genius behind New
America and Metro Detroit
York City's Central Park, Belle Isle's
will gather on Belle Isle May 8 for an
beauty and accessibility make it one
interfaith community service project.
of those unique settings enjoyed by all
This morning of volunteer work
Detroiters and is central to a vibrant
will be the culmination of the Jewish
Council for Public Affairs (JCPA)
Of course, not all Plenum attendees
annual policy symposium, "the
will find the outdoor work especially
Plenum:' held this year for the first
appealing. For them, there will be
time in Detroit.
an alternative indoor experience: a
The service project will be another
Poverty Simulation in which par-
first for the Plenum, when most of
ticipants assume the roles of people
the delegates are expected to leave
who live in poverty and try facing the
the Downtown conference site, the
challenges of looking for a job, help-
Marriott Renaissance Center, and
ing kids succeed in school, getting to
assemble on Belle Isle to work together medical appointments, applying for
to beautify the park and conserve its
social service benefits, etc.
200-acre old-growth forest.
Facilitating the exercise will be
Leaders and members of various
clients of Starfish Family Services of
Jewish and non-Jewish communities
Inkster. The experience will be a real
and organizations have agreed to take
eye-opener, and it is hoped that those
part in the effort. Their work will not
who go through it will return to their
only attract more birds and flora, but
home communities and organize simi-
also will preserve this common space
lar programs there.
so vital to the Detroit community.
All community members are wel-
JCPA is the national public affairs
come to take part in the outdoor proj-
umbrella organization for 125 Jewish
ect from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesday,
Community Relations Councils in
May 8. Volunteers should meet in front
North America and 14 national Jewish of the Belle Isle Zoo. Work gloves will
organizations and religious denomina- be provided, but everyone should
tions. It chose to hold its conference
wear long pants and sturdy shoes.
here because Detroit exemplifies the
Volunteers must register in advance at
challenges facing economically dis-
tressed cities and is a pacesetter for
For more information about the
innovative ways of overcoming those
Plenum, visit detroitjcrc.org and click
on the "JCPA Plenum Detroit 2012"
The interfaith community ser-
link. Contact JCRC at (248) 642-5393
vice project will be an opportunity
with any questions. ❑
to show Plenum participants one
of Detroit's crown jewels. Belle Isle
Sarah Crane is a community relations
is the country's largest island park
associate at the Jewish Community
within a city. Designed by Frederick