Alternative Spring Break
By: Katelin Maylum
Hello, my name is Katelin and I serve with the Flint Urban Safety Corps in Flint, Michigan. The most impactful moment of my term so far has been when hosted University of Michigan-Flint students for Alternative Spring Break. In particular, when we went door-to-door on behalf of the Red Cross and installed smoke detectors in resident’s homes and additionally we secured a set of vacant and open town homes on Frost Street in the Stevenson neighborhood. In regards to smoke detectors, we installed 38 that day and we could see how much residents truly appreciated our service. They were welcoming and genuinely grateful for our service! We ended up installing several smoke detectors there in a local complex. In fact, the resident we first visited in the complex sent us all over the apartment building and knocked on his neighbor’s doors with us so he could make sure that they were all taken care of. Even though the community we serve has challenges, I could see that good people do inhabit it. It was also trans-formative for some residents, because many people didn’t have smoke detectors to begin with or they were so old that they no longer worked, but we took care of those people with brand new detector’s that are good for up to 10 years. It was nice to go into resident’s homes and see their kids and their families and know that we as a group were helping to keep that family safe just by doing a three minute install.
We also secured a set of blighted town homes that had been sitting there for about a year or longer. We had residents come up to us while we were working just to stop by and say “thanks” and people informed us that they cut through the town home’s parking lot all the time on their way to work and that their kids cut through there as well on their way to school. They truly appreciated that we are making it safer for them to do so. We also had people approach us to join us in our work. We had two members from the Blight Elimination Department at the City of Flint stop by with their experience and equipment to help us out without even being asked to. We also had other AmeriCorps members come out and talk to us, offer support, and help with what they could. We finished boarding the town homes in two days and it was like a great weight being taken off of that neighborhood’s shoulders. We plan on going back to clean up the property as well as add some lighting so the space is less inviting for crime and so we can make an even larger impact on that space.
Alternative Spring Break took us to a lot of different places – Durant-Tuuri Mott to make space for a mindfulness room and to clean up litter, canvassing for smoke detectors on behalf of the Red Cross, securing abandoned town homes, and ending the week with service at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. As a team we made a positive impact through Alternative Spring Break for residents and the community by providing services that would otherwise be unavailable and promoting a safer place to live.