Durant-Tuuri Mott Blueberry Ambassadors turn people’s faces “into bright sunshine”

BLUEBERRY AMBASSADOR MOMENTS
Durant-Tuuri-Mott, coordinator Felicia Naimark

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On Monday, April 8, students at Durant-Tuuri-Mott with funding through a grant from United Way, began a service project for Global Youth Service Day of making tie blankets to give to the homeless to be distributed through Family Catholic Charities and Flint’s North End Soup Kitchen. During their 80 minute combined lunch and activity time, the students were able to complete five tie blankets (had more materials been in the room with them, they would have completed at least one more if not three more). After school Youth Quest students and Friday Club students also made blankets, with some of the Blueberry Ambassadors also in those groups. When students were asked to write about the projects, some of the comments were as follows. One student wrote, “I felt good making the blankets.” Third grader Sanaa Richardson wrote, “It made me feel good.” 

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On Thursday, April 11, the same group of students from above went on a field trip to Flint’s North End Soup Kitchen (NESK). When we arrived, we were divided into two groups. A few of the students stayed downstairs with the project coordinator and grant writer for this project Olivia Rutherford. This group worked on making the soup that we would later serve to the homeless. The students learned a lot from the project and were excited to participate and make the food. While nobody wrote specific comments about this part of the project, the students who prepared the food were extremely excited about doing it. They also used the dishwashing system to clean the dishes they had used for preparing the food. While the small group was working on this important step, the remainder of the group went upstairs with DTM’s Blueberry Ambassador advisor/faculty sponsor Felicia Naimark and Youth Quest/Vista worker Miss Rachel to help with tagging donated items for people to come in and purchase and sorting items into bins, as well as sorting clothes. The students divided into two groups, half with Miss Rachel and half with Ms Naimark, and began pulling or covering price tags from the donated items and retagging them with the orange NESK tags. I believe that the volunteers and people who work at the NESK were surprised at how quickly and willingly the students worked. They had to keep finding more items for the students to tag. Fifth grade student Tommy Hayward wrote, “I was upstairs putting tags on everything so homeless people can have it for free. It felt good. Then after I sorted clothes and searched for holes, stains, or anything that was damaging to the clothing.” While the students didn’t necessarily know why they were retagging the items, they sorted and marked at least ten tubs on the one half of the room, so overall, they probably did double that. Among the items sorted were school supplies, decorating items, jewelry, letters, birthday candles, toys, clothing, automotive items, cell phone batteries and many miscellaneous items. Following the tagging upstairs and the cooking downstairs, we all reconvened downstairs to enjoy a meal prior to serving those in need. A meal of soup made by the students with the supervision and assistance of the staff at NESK, salad, applesauce, donuts, and juice or water was enjoyed by the group. We then cleaned up and prepared for project number three.

To read more about this Blueberry Moment, check out:

https://wsmh.com/news/local/local-students-volunteer-at-north-end-soup-kitchen

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Following their meal, the students cleaned up and some of the students set up to serve the homeless, while in another part of the room others prepared the 20 blankets that had been made to those who came on the chilly day we were there. In the kitchen, three students were on the dishwasher, one on trays, another on bowls and soup, one on coffee, a student on salad, one on applesauce, one on dessert/sweets, a student with rolls, and a ticket taker. Three students served as greeters, welcoming those who came in to eat. Jobs were rotated since there were more students than jobs. Nobody was heard to complain about the hairnets they had to wear nor the aprons. Those who came to eat seemed very appreciative, with many thanking the students for what they did, blessing them, and being supportive. Sa’Corria Gossett wrote, “I felt good when we served the homeless (at) the Soup Kitchen.” Kenneth Edson, a third grader, said, “My favorite part of being at the North End Soup Kitchen was helping take tickets.” Fifth grader Egypt Cleveland summed it up for all of the students very well. “My favorite part of the field trip is that giving out food for the homeless. It made me feel good about seeing the homeless (people’s) faces turn into bright sunshine. I like helping homeless people, but this is the beginning of a new career to help the homeless.”

Kenneth Jordan Edson
I decided to help the firefighters. I was with my mom and brother Miles. I made a picture for the firefighters and my mom, brother and I made brownies. I wanted to make the firefighters happy. One of the firefighters used to go to DTM. He said he is going to come to my soccer practice. It made me feel excited! On Tuesday, April 2, 2019, I picked up trash and litter and I did it on the way to Freeman Elementary School. My mom and brother helped me pick up trash. I cleaned up trash because it helps the earth! I used a trash bag for holding the trash. And I wore gardening gloves to pick up the trash and put it in the bag. I felt helpful to the earth!

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