The Mack Alive GreenCorps program was a 10-week youth employment program designed to provide disadvantaged youth defined as individuals that qualify for the school’s free lunch program (ages 16 – 19) throughout the City of Detroit with a natural resource-based experience that provided work related skills such as resume-building, interviewing, networking and workplace culture experiences, future employment opportunities and exposure to nature. The GreenCorps syllabus included the fundamentals of business principles and entrepreneurship, neighborhood beautification, natural resource management, horticulture and community gardening and employment components with a stipend attached similar to a work-study program at college.
There were class discussions, lectures and written activities related to nature, environmental issues, sustainable living, earth preservation as well as weekly outdoor activities around the adoption of Maheras Gentry Park, Smallville Farms, the Art Alive project and the Ossian Sweet home which were targeted for clean-up, painting and the tending of the community gardens. The youth kept a journal of their summer employment activities which documented their learning and work experience.
The youth worked in teams and learned how to create a community garden. Representatives from Michigan state parks, local gardening centers, florists, master gardeners, parks and recreation departments, bee keepers and nature preserves spoke to the students about green issues and shared their personal experiences on what it takes to start your own “green” business. Green industry personnel and community leaders visited the work site to discuss natural resource based career opportunities.
The youth employees visited two state parks: the Island Lake Recreation area in Brighton, Michigan and the Milliken State Park in downtown Detroit. These experiences educated city kids about nature-based employment opportunities as well as exposure to the beauty, relaxation and peacefulness to be found in nature and the woods.
The Mack Alive GreenCorps participants gained job experience, developed a work ethic and on the job training in gardening and horticulture. They were exposed to the outdoors and nature activities in and around metropolitan Detroit where the sessions were held. We want to expand the program next summer to give more youth employment opportunities while they learned to appreciate nature, the great outdoors and beautified and revitalized their communities. We believe that this training will be enriching and transformational for the participants and that it will make a positive difference in their lives and their community.

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From neighbohood beautification to youth mentorship, at Mack Alive we depend on the hardwork and dedication of our volunteers to advance our cause. No matter your skill set, Mack Alive can put your talents to use as we help to re-build our community.  

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