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December 04, 2007 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-12-04

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10 - Tuesday, December 4, 2007

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

URBAN RENEWAL

How a Law student brought together a
community to benefit Detroit

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By Shay Spaniola
Daily Staff Photographer

Raisen in the nuburbs, Ben
Falik, a third-year Law
student, has always been
interested in Detroit.
After doing community
service with friends in the city, he
decided to start Summer in the City
as an undergraduate (at Columbia)
with another friend to serve as a flex-
ible and fulfilling way for students
and residents to help the broader
community in rewarding ways.
He began recruiting volunteers at
local high schools in Oakland Coun-
ty, coordinating projects for Detroit
that involve construction, demoli-
tion, painting and working with
inner-city children.
For nine weeks each summer,
you can find the Summer in the
City's orange bus at six parking
lots throughout Oakland County
communities. The bus transported
volunteers from mid-June until mid-
August last summer.

Each day has a unique project to
offer the volunteers, varying from
painting murals downtown to gar-
dening around Belle Isle. Anyone
can participate in Summer in the
City - high school students, college
students and residents. Volunteers
can simply come when they have
a free day to give. Last summer, an
average of 90 people volunteered
each day, including many students
from the University. They contrib-
uted more than 11,000 hours of com-
munity service to Detroit.
The final day of Summer in the
City, held in August, brought all of
the volunteers together for one last
day. Families and local residents
attended, and there was free food,
live music, awards. A completed
mural was also unveiled.
Summer in the City remains an
active program. To get involved, go
to its website at www.summerinthe-
citydetroit.org.

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(TOP LEFT) Summer in the City volunteers
get messy while working on a mural in
Detroit. (TOP RIGHT) Volunteers at Summer
in the City blow bubbles at the after party
on the last day celebration. (ABOVE) Ben
Falik takes a break from planting in Detroit.
(RIGHT) Volunteers at Summer in the City
create benches out of brick, cement and
painted bottle caps. (FAR RIGHT) A volun-
teer paints a mural on a wall in Detroit.

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