Showcasing Service and Success: Alumni Week of Service 2021

Alumni around the world joined forces for the second annual Wayne State University Alumni Week of Service from Oct. 16 through Oct. 23, 2021. Our generous Warrior community dedicated more than 600 hours to projects that supported more than 50 organizations. Wayne State made a global impact with participants hailing from Detroit to Chicago, Los Angeles, Canada, and even Spain.

The program saw about 275 volunteers – more than three times as many participants than the inaugural Week of Service in 2020. This year’s efforts brought in approximately 250 lbs. of food and 1,050 clothing donations.

Alumni who graduated in every decade since the 1950s joined their family and friends in making a difference. In Detroit, a group organized a cleanup and gardening effort on Wayne State University’s campus. Others donated food and clothing to the W Food Pantry and Warrior Wardrobe. Some alumni and friends beautified Palmer Park near campus by picking up trash.

Wayne State Regional Alumni Networks undertook special service projects in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Chicago where they donated to local food banks. Several other individuals volunteered virtually from home or selected independent projects that supported their local communities. Project offerings included making handmade cards for hospitalized children, donating blood, transcribing historical collections for the Smithsonian, donating to local food pantries and writing letters for the elderly.

Margie Gerena Lewis, ’88, ’98 M.D. volunteered for Hope4Kids through Catholic Charities. She led efforts to construct and collect school supply bundles for children expected to arrive in Cleveland, Ohio, after being relocated from Afghanistan. Additionally, she collected Coquí cards – homemade cards made by kids for kids – that she plans to deliver to survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Wayne State University’s Organization of Black Alumni organized a "Letters to Our Elders" project where volunteers produced handmade cards. Some alumni gathered virtually, while others came together in small groups.

Tara Tomcsik-Husak, President and CEO of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, supported the Feline Fund by coordinating medical appointments for cats. 

"My love for cats led me to Feline Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to helping local cat rescue organizations fund the business and medical needs to keep foster cats healthy, ready to be adopted, and help them find their forever homes," said Tomcsik-Husak. "I spent my time reaching out to local cat rescue organizations to help schedule spay and neuters for some of their rescued cats. I even spent time with Jazz, the Chief MEOWketing Officer and Hour Detroit Magazine’s cutest pet in Metro Detroit, for some quality kitty collaborating."

Brandon Shamoun, ’14 and Bobby Wilson Jr. ’15 participated in Alumni Week of Service across the Atlantic Ocean by picking up garbage in the streets of Madrid, Spain.

“Giving back to the community goes beyond just our backyard in Detroit. During this year’s Week of Service, my friend from undergrad and I were able to give back by picking up trash in streets of Madrid, Spain,” Shamoun said. “I first visited this beautiful city while studying abroad in 2012 with WSU. Ever since then, I try to come back yearly.”

On Saturday, Oct. 23, volunteers cleaned up the Parkland neighborhood in the East Canfield Village area. Their efforts were part of a greater planned initiative to create a pedestrian greenway from Brewer Playfield to Pingree Park. Week of Service participants cleared the first two vacant lots of many that will be replaced by the new development.

"We are so excited that the Ford Fund chose the Canfield Connect project, and we look forward to engaging the community and working with Wayne State University to activate vacant lots in a unique way," said Kim Theus, Canfield Consortium co-founder. 

Heather Eady '16, volunteered for Sound Generations in Seattle, Washington. "I am a volunteer driver who takes older adults to medical appointments in my vehicle. This has become even more important during the pandemic since public transportation increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19."

Whether it was donating food, making a card, or diving in and getting their hands dirty, Warriors truly made a difference during Alumni Week of Service. Please stay connected with the Wayne State University Alumni Association to learn about additional volunteer opportunities and next year’s Alumni Week of Service.

WSU students working at an urban garden.

WSU students working at an urban garden.

WSU students working at an urban garden.

WSU students working at an urban garden.

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