A-OK Detroit Concept Paper

The names of all organizations who will be involved in the service activity:

This year’s A-OK partners will include ACCESS, Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit (WISDOM), InterFaith Leadership Council, Focus: HOPE, the United Way of Southeast Michigan, J-Serve, Volunteer Centers of Michigan, City Year Detroit, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, Arts & Scraps, and Detroit’s Cities of Service “Believe In Detroit” Campaign.

How the service activity will address a community need or challenge:

Our mission remains to transform 9/11 from a day of mourning into an opportunity for people to come together and work side by side to make their community a better place to live.  Volunteers will have the opportunity to lend their service to multiple projects in different areas of the city of Detroit.  Activities will include park beautification, general landscape and maintenance, and trash removal.  Volunteers will also package food to be given to homebound seniors, sort and package arts & crafts supplies to be donated to local schools and organizations serving low income children, as well as design “Thank You” cards supporting our troops.

In addition to these direct-service opportunities, volunteers will also have the chance to break out into smaller groups to participate in a structured dialogue immediately following their service activities.  With the purpose of encouraging sincere, meaningful discussion as it relates to our commonalities across faiths, this structured dialogue will be facilitated by our interfaith partners consisting of topics and questions geared toward guiding a civil discourse on the merits of coming together in unity to solve our community’s greatest challenges.

With this new approach, 9/11 becomes a day to learn about each other's interests, families, and faith traditions.  Our focus is on our common missions of unity, peace, community-building and mutual understanding.

How the service activity will commemorate the losses on September 11, 2001 and honor the service and sacrifices of those who have responded since that day:

Community service and volunteerism is a way for us to emerge from a decade of division and destruction to become a society that pulls together to care for one another.  In this way, we turn an anniversary shadowed by negativity into something hopeful and positive. 

Projects will have an immediate impact at the local level, reducing blight in some of Detroit’s most troubled neighborhoods.  The experience will serve as a somber lesson to volunteers, particularly youth, in giving back to those less fortunate.  Furthermore, one service project volunteers will engage in is creating “thank you cards” to our troops, to honor their service.  Structured dialogue designed to increase tolerance among individuals from different backgrounds will have an effect on participants that lasts long beyond the day of service.

This project not only embodies the spirit of unity across faiths, ethnicities, and generations through service and discourse, but it will also result in a tangible product that will honor the victims and heroes directly impacted by the 9-11 attacks.

Number of volunteers expected:

Volunteer Engagement


TOTAL number of volunteers that will be engaged (unduplicated count of volunteers, not including volunteer leaders)


TOTAL number of volunteer leaders that will be engaged


Of the total, how many volunteers and volunteer leaders will be ADULTS?


Of the total, how many volunteers and volunteer leaders will be YOUTH (under age 18)?


 What volunteers are expected to accomplish through their service:

It is expected that this event will engage 800 volunteers, including 400 youth, will deliver over 2,400 hours of service to the city of Detroit, worth $47,496 according to independentsector.org.  Volunteers will be dispersed at over 20 different service sites within the 48238 zip code, serving a population of more than 3,600 residents. Of these residents, 38.2% live below the poverty level.

In addition, 4,000 homebound seniors, who are unable to obtain food goods otherwise, are estimated to be the recipients of 4,000 food packages assembled and delivered by volunteers.  Volunteers are also expected to create over 300 cards of support to be sent to our troops overseas and to local veterans here at home.

This year’s event, while shorter in time duration, will engage more volunteers as last year’s event, and will encompass twice as many service sites comprising an area of the city which is more densely inhabited, resulting in a greater number of residents served, increasing the event’s impact over last year.

Information about how you will promote the Day of Service and Remembrance: How else is this being promoted, our website, e-news, mail, etc?

Representatives from each organization on the committee are actively seeking out individuals from amongst their respective congregations and organizations to participate.  Organizations are utilizing their websites and social media accounts, email listservs, solicitation letters, and in-person presentations to promote the event and recruit volunteers.  To date, the following partners have committed to providing the project with the following estimated number of volunteers:

Jewish Teens Serving the World (J – Serve) – 100 youth volunteers

ACCESS – 250 community volunteers

Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan – 200 community volunteers

WISDOM – 100 metro Detroit community volunteers

University of Michigan-Dearborn – 150 volunteers

Volunteers will be mobilized utilizing an online volunteer management system housed within the United Way of Southeast Michigan George W. Romney Volunteer Center.  Through this system, volunteers will have the opportunity to view project descriptions, register for the event ahead of time, indicate their age, indicate the organization from which they were recruited, and complete the necessary liability waiver forms.  Potential volunteers will be driven to the site through the promotional efforts of the committee’s lead recruiters.