Wayne State University, AmeriCorps, Detroit Police Dept. partner to secure 10 dangerous structures surrounding Clark academy, ensuring Safe Routes to school

The Wayne State University Alumni Association and Wayne Cares joined the AmeriCorps Urban Safety program (AMUS) in partnership with Detroit Public Schools, the Detroit Police Department and the Morningside Community Organization to secure 10 dangerous, vacant structures surrounding the campus of Clark Preparatory Academy on Friday, Nov. 7.

Nearly 80 volunteers completed two blocks of beautification to ensure safer pathways to and from school as part of the city-wide Safe Routes to School initiative.

Clark students creatively painted boards used to secure abandoned homes, transforming a blight-stricken block to a bright and cheery community art space while directly increasing public safety.

AmeriCorps members, community volunteers and students painted bright yellow footprints near each intersection to signify safer street routes for students walking to and from Clark. Safe Routes signage was also posted on each block.

These enhancements serve as a constant reminder for students and community members to keep an eye out for student safety and will serve as a starting point for organizing community patrols and block club groups in the Morningside Community.

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson and Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin also presented a $1,000 check donation to Clark Teacher Kimberly Morrison, who was selected for the “Adopt-a-Classroom” program to support more art offerings at Clark.

The 3rd grade students of Morrison’s homeroom helped paint the boards that were used to secure abandoned structures surrounding Clark.

Ty Stevenson, Executive Director of Alumni Relations for Wayne State University, also announced the WSU Alumni Association would be donating a new washer and dryer to Clark Prep. Academy.

Following the donation presentation, Wilson and Roberts visited the project sites on Chatsworth St. where vacant homes were boarded.

More about the Safe Routes to School Program

Clark Preparatory Academy has received local, state and national attention for recent visits by the leaders of General Motors, Lear Corp., Gov. Rick Snyder, former Mayor Dave Bing and countless media and civic officials as the focus of several public and private million-dollar neighborhood revitalization investment projects.

In 2013, Governor Snyder and Mayor Bing announced the launch and expansion of an innovative crime reduction model in the city of Detroit: the “AmeriCorps Governor & Mayor Initiative Urban Safety Corps Program.” A unique partnership, the program utilizes 36 AmeriCorps members as catalysts to mobilize and recruit community volunteers to help improve public safety in targeted Detroit neighborhoods.

In October 2014, Detroit Public Schools and a host of agencies unveiled a comprehensive Safe Routes to School strategy focused on keeping all students safe through coordinated Safe Zones, volunteer vehicle patrols, prioritized street light replacement, blight removal around student walking routes, signage, Eyes & Ears Patrols, Student Code of Conduct/Dress Code enforcement and positive behavior intervention. The Safe Routes to School effort targets prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-entry. It directly supports the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

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