Detroit women’s shelter receives major makeover from Arab American Service Day volunteers
14th Annual Service Day included dozens of Arab American-led projects across the country
The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), an ACCESS institution, hosted their 14th Annual National Arab American Service Day on May 5, 2018 at the Genesis House III – Women and Children’s Shelter. The shelter is one of the many houses and programs of the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries that offers substance abuse treatment, transitional and permanent housing, job preparation and educational courses.
National Arab American Service Day is an annual event hosted by NNAAC, along with their member organizations, that brings the Arab American community together in a national effort of community volunteering and engagement. This year, NNAAC participated in several projects for the shelter, including beautifying the outdoor surrounding, building and organizing clothing closets, building and organizing book shelves, donating 50 hygiene kits to women and 50 backpacks with supplies to children and repairing and cleaning the rest of the shelter. The Home Depot sponsored the event and donated thousands of dollars-worth of equipment and tools to assist the volunteers with their projects.
A total of 19 NNAAC member organizations across the country—with over a thousand volunteers—participated in their own volunteering initiatives, such as community gardening, river and park clean-ups, food drives and food distributions, indoor and outdoor construction and beautification efforts, youth educational and art workshops and much more.
“While we know that Arab Americans are giving back to their communities every day in various ways, Arab American Service Day is when we get to do it together as a greater community. As we conduct our service project here in Detroit, I am inspired by the thought that at that same moment, thousands of other Arab Americans are doing the same all across the US,” said Ahmad Abuznaid, Director of NNAAC.
A kickoff rally was held before the event, highlighting several speakers, such as ACCESS CEO Hassan Jaber, ACCESS Business Operations Manager Rachid Elabed, NNAAC Director Ahmad Abuznaid, Detroit Councilman Andre Spivey, Home Depot – Allen Park store manager and Community Outreach Captain Amon Quickley and Volunteer Coordinator of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries Jamie McMillen.
“It is such a pleasure to see all of these young people out on a Saturday morning, giving their time and service to help our community. Events like this help build bridges between different communities while also fostering an understanding of the many different cultures that are right in our backyard. The east side of Detroit and the Genesis House III will be much more enriched once these volunteers leave,” said Detroit Councilman Andre Spivey.
National Arab American Service Day is about fostering a culture of leadership and community engagement through service and volunteerism. Service Day brings together diverse groups and individuals for one shared goal: responding to their community’s needs. As a project of NNAAC, Service Day has engaged more than 14,000 volunteers for hundreds of service projects since 2005.
The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), a program of ACCESS, is a national consortium of independent Arab American community-based organizations. Its missionis the development of Arab American community-based nonprofit organizations that understand, meet the needs and represent the concerns of Arab Americans at a local level while collectively addressing those issues at a national level.
Grounded in a grassroots commitment to empowerment, ACCESS is the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the U.S., with a 47-year history of nonprofit of excellence. Guided by our vision of a just and equitable society for all, with the full participation of Arab Americans, we empower communities in Southeast Michigan to improve their economic, social and cultural well-being through an extensive network of health, education, employment and social services programming. Our mission extends nationally through our highly esteemed institutions—The National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), the Arab American National Museum (AANM) and the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP)—which are focused on making an impact through advocacy, the arts and philanthropy.
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