We have been hard at work. Over the past two months, Black Young Professionals (BYP) of Metro Detroit has been working to fundraise for and execute our first Give Back activity in Detroit.
This is the result of that work.
To begin, we laid out the rough plan and subsequent funding and manpower requirements. The driving scope was throwing a seasonal party for the residents of the Neighborhood Service Organization’s (NSO) Bell Building. Residents of this building are persons whom had previously all been homeless, living on the streets of Detroit for two years are more. NSO has a housing-first approach to helping the homeless get their lives back together and attain self-sufficiency. The building’s apartments come fully furnished but only provide the basics. The passion we had to engage and provide something to the residents of the building drove us to raise funds to provide high quality, delicious and nutritious food, ambiance, and gifts for an expected attendance of 50-80. Our Fundraising Mixxer was a great success, bringing in the needed funds.
Learn more about the fundraiser here.
March 31st, 2016;
At Traffic Jam and Snug, Darvell Powell and Jonathan Tyler from the event’s planning committee, held a volunteer briefing meeting. Main topics of discussion were role preferences, agenda, and remembering the spirit of the event, and the level of customer service we want to bring to each resident. First and second role preferences were formally taken that night from each volunteer.
April 1st, 2016;
- At 11:00am, Latecia Jones, Professional Development Coordinator, sends final communications out to volunteers to confirm staggered arrival times and final role assignments.
- At 4:00pm, Chanelle Williams, Social Event Coordinator, and two general body members arrived at the Bell Building gym to begin decorations and layout.
- At 5:00pm, a 20-person crew of BYP members began arriving at the Bell Building to staff the event. BYP members volunteered their evening to manage game tables, music, prize drawings, greet and mingle with residents, and serve food, among many other tasks for the night.
- At 5:30pm, residents began queuing up and waiting outside the doors of the gym. Members put final touches on decorations. Our excellent caterer, Adrian’s Sweet Sensations, had completed the food delivery, and setup for music was just beginning.
- At 5:50pm, Darvell and Latecia call an all hands meeting prior to doors opening. They review roles, responsibilities, and the agenda for the night.
- At 6:00pm, doors to the gym are officially opened.
Throughout the night residents enjoyed their favorite 80s, 90s, and 2000s music hits, including many Motown songs and several line dances. Across the gym every resident was welcomed, engaged, and cared for like family, as each volunteer worked to teach games, bring food to tables, and have discussion.
Food served included:
- Baked chicken
- Candied yams
- Green beans with smoked turkey
- Macaroni and cheese
- Choice of cake: German Chocolate/Red Velvet/Carmel
After having a great meal, many took to a game table or to the dance floor.
What really took us by surprise is the amount of excitement and engagement the residents had around the Tumbling Tower (adult Jenga!). Every 20 minutes or so you’d hear one of the towers tumble and people go running in laughter.
We had an entire table of gifts donated by members that were given away that night as participation prizes. Each resident recieved one raffle ticket upon entry into the gym, and additional tickets for playing games. Every half an hour a random ticket drawing was conducted and the winner could come pick one prize on the table. Prizes ranged from can openers and Selfie Sticks, to George Foreman grills, and even a Lava Lamp! Something for everyone. All brand new items to help build their personal life collection for the brighter road ahead, or home wares to enable more cooking flexibility and healthier eating.
Grand prizes were awarded at the end of the night. These included two new luggages, a 5 quart slow cooker (Crock Pot), and two $20 gift cards to CVS. All prizes were won and handed out to residents by 8:15pm before we started cleanup.
Residents were encouraged to take food to their disabled neighbors whom were unable to make it down to the gym, and to also take back an additional plate of food for themselves. 100% of all food was given to residents. Volunteers later convened at the Granite City Brewery in the the Renaissance Center for a late dinner for themselves.
Black Young Professionals of Metro Detroit sends its sincere Thank You to the following who helped enable this wonderful event:
- Adrian’s Sweet Sensations
- Neighborhood Service Organization
- Denise Figurski
- Party Planning Committee
- Jonathan Tyler
- Shannon Woods
- Chanelle Williams
- William Grandberry
- Iyantta Howell
- Latecia Jones
Official photos are below. Look forward to our next Give Back!