As the GM Student Corps' 2015 campaign draws to a close, students can reflect on a summer spent making tangible improvements to Detroit. The program links 130 area high school students (and students from Flint) to paying internships that allow them to plan and execute community projects, including cleanups of heavily blighted areas in Detroit. According to GM executive VP Mark Reuss, the program benefits Detroit not only by physically improving parts of the city, but by preparing students for the adult workforce. "For many students, this internship is their first job, addressing an immediate financial need while putting them on a path to success," Reuss said.
In addition to their internship and project duties, the students participate in college preparedness and job training modules and are mentored by GM retirees and college interns with the program. Much of the classroom work focuses on project management skills, helping the student corps members learn to plan, budget and execute the community projects they've developed over the course of the nine week program. In in mid-August, students will wrap the season with presentations to Reuss and other GM staffers.
Some of the projects this year's corps members developed included cleanups of city parks and athletic fields. The students are also working to get hundreds of One World Futbols, described by GM as "ultra-durable soccer balls that never need a pump or go flat, even when punctured," to children citywide. The soccer balls, created by One World Play Project, are a special project sponsored by Chevrolet.
While figures aren't in for the 2015 corps, last year, the students performed renovations at 15 area schools and 17 parks, removing 1,844 bags of trash. Their work incorporated 208 yards of mulch and 157 gallons of paint. One student corps project this year is a collaborative effort with community group Life Remodeled aimed at rehabbing the east side's Osborn High School. Corps members have worked alongside other volunteers to remodel the aging high school structure, renovating the building's the roof, cafeteria, library and gym. Starting Monday and continuing through August 9th, Life Remodeled and GM student corps members will extend efforts beyond the school in a weeklong effort they hope will include 12,000 volunteers working to clean up and beautify hundreds of blocks on the east side.