Stories Feed en Detroit Heroes: Shadora L. Ford <span>Detroit Heroes: Shadora L. Ford</span> <span><span>swetlicr</span></span> <span>Mon, 07/06/2020 - 10:00</span> <div> <img src="/sites/the-neighborhoods/files/2020-07/Ford.jpg" width="4000" height="1042" alt="Ford" /> </div> <div>Detroit Heroes: Shadora L. Ford</div> <div>Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit</div> <div>Chris Mosley</div> <span><a href="/taxonomy/term/1081" hreflang="en">Citywide</a></span> <div><div class = ' story-main-content'><p>It was a late afternoon in March 2020; the beginning of the pandemic. Shadora L. Ford answered her phone, hearing a frail voice on the other end: “The meal you dropped off was the only meal I had for the week. I tried to ration it, but I hadn’t eaten anything in 3-4 days.”</p><p>Ford, the founder of Destined for Greatness Mentoring Initiative, gets calls like that all too often. This one happened to be from a senior citizen, but it’s not uncommon to receive similar calls from young mothers in need of resources.</p><p>When she was just 19 years old, Ford started the non-profit organization. The mission is to provide resources and mentoring to at-risk young ladies.</p><p>Ford, who was considered at-risk, knows what it’s like to live in a challenging environment. “I was born into poverty on the east side of Detroit and lived in a single-parent household. I saw coffee pots filled with white substances and I smelled marijuana all the time,” said Ford.</p><p>Destined for Greatness Mentoring Initiative started in 2010. Over the years, its services have expanded to include a food pantry and a clothing closet. &nbsp;</p><p>Today, the organization helps over 10,000 families per year with resources. Those families are serviced out of the Samaritan Center on Detroit’s east side. But just like most of the state, the center was forced to shut its doors once COVID-19 hit.</p><p>Ford, who is also a District 4 liaison for the City of Detroit Department of Neighborhoods, knew the pandemic would be hard on a lot of people–especially those who needed help regularly. But Ford wouldn’t let the coronavirus stop her.</p><p>“Once COVID-19 started, we brought what we did inside to outside, and we call it Curbside Pickup,” said Ford.</p><p>With support from Metropolitan Detroit Diaper Bank, Detroit Police Department, Gardner White and others, Ford and her team distribute diapers, baby food, hygiene products, even breast pumps to those who are nursing. All items are free and can be collected every other Thursday at 5555 Conner St. in Detroit.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>“In order to help heal a girl, you must first help heal her household” is part of the organization’s slogan, said Ford. It simply means it’s important to provide men with resources as well.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>“If a woman goes home after she’s made whole and then connects with that bad parent or young man in the house who needs guidance; like an infection, the problem will spread again.”</p><p>And as COVID-19 has spread through Detroit communities, Ford has gained a personal perspective after losing her grandmother to the virus. She was able to leverage her relationships with local businesses to provide personal protective equipment like masks and gloves to residents. &nbsp;</p><p>Ford says that despite her mother’s shortcomings, she always had her in church. She credits those Sunday mornings for teaching her the significance of assisting others.</p><p>In addition to seeing the joy in the people she helps, she can also see distress in others as the pandemic persists. With that in mind, she has a message for Detroiters. &nbsp;</p><p>“Detroit is a city that is painted in diversity, rooted and grounded in love, and expounding on its greatest future. Detroit, you are destined for greatness.”</p><p><em>Learn more about Destined for Greatness Mentoring Initiative and Curbside Pickup <a href="">here</a>. </em></p></div> </div> Mon, 06 Jul 2020 14:00:46 +0000 swetlicr 6716 at Growing the Black Dollar <span>Growing the Black Dollar </span> <span><span>swetlicr</span></span> <span>Thu, 06/18/2020 - 12:11</span> <div> <img src="/sites/the-neighborhoods/files/2020-06/BlackDollar.jpg" width="4000" height="1042" alt="Black couple with laptop" /> </div> <div>Growing the Black Dollar </div> <div>How to Build Wealth in the Black Community</div> <div>Chris Mosley</div> <span><a href="/taxonomy/term/1081" hreflang="en">Citywide</a></span> <div><div class = ' story-main-content'><p>On May 31, 1921 in Tulsa Oklahoma, a white mob attacked a thriving black community known as Black Wall Street.</p><p>At least a hundred people were killed, businesses were destroyed, and many were left homeless. The tragedy would be known as the <a href="">Tulsa Race Massacre</a>.</p><p>According to Ty Thorpe, financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual, that tragedy has had long-standing effects on many black people.</p><p>“Ultimately those stories are passed down from generation to generation. It caused our community to no longer trust the financial system, causing us to keep our money under the mattress.”</p><p>Thorpe says those trust issues often hinder clients from making financial decisions that might be beneficial for them. &nbsp;</p><p>He adds that many times we as black people are looking for a get rich quick plan, but knowing our objective is perhaps a better place to start.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>“Identify opportunities that align with your beliefs and values. Real estate isn’t for everyone. The stock market isn’t for everyone.”</p><p>Let’s take stocks for an example. Thorpe says it’s smart to know what type of investor you are. Do you have a high-risk tolerance, and possibly obtain higher rewards? Or are you a more conservative risk taker, setting yourself up for marginal returns? &nbsp;</p><p>Thorpe has an idea why there aren’t more African Americans involved in stocks. “A lack of education in that space has definitely had its impact on the black community,” said Thorpe. “If we were more educated in that space the storyline would be different.</p><p>There are plenty of investment opportunities, says Thorpe. Roth IRA and mutual funds are some of the more familiar ones. But there’s one opportunity people aren’t taking full advantage of:</p><p><strong>401(k) plan</strong><br>A <a href="">401(k) plan</a> is a&nbsp; retirement account offered by many employers to their employees. But many people take money out prematurely.&nbsp; “When you do that, you interrupt the growth of that account. In addition, you’re being penalized, and being taxed. That money is for retirement and it takes time for that money to compound,” said Thorpe.</p><p><strong>Real estate</strong><br>We’ve all seen the infomercials that spotlight “regular people” who have made a fortune flipping residential property. Thorpe admits that real estate can be a viable option for investors but cautions that people need to do their homework. “Don’t get caught up in the hype that you see on TV. Educate yourself. Study your market. Become a professional investor.”</p><p><strong>Budgeting and Saving</strong><br>Maintaining a proper budget and savings plan is still a solid way to keep your finances in order. It may not be as flashy as other options, but it works. “The simple concept of budgeting and saving has gotten lost. And this pandemic has put back to the forefront of how critical it is to budget and save. At the end of the day, you just don’t know what can happen in life,” said Thorpe. There’s a saying in sports: The best offense is a good defense.</p><p>Wardell Littles Jr. is a financial advisor and unit director at Northwestern Mutual, and mostly services black clients. And through the years, he’s noticed that many black people lack an estate plan that will protect their finances. &nbsp;</p><p>Even though most of us don’t like to talk about, it’s important that we determine where our assets go and who they go to once we pass away. “We can control that by sitting down with an estate planning attorney or simply going to legal zoom and creating a will,” said Littles.</p><p>Debt has crippled the black community for generations. If not kept in check, automobile debt, credit cards, and personal loans can easily become overwhelming.</p><p>Littles recommends starting an expense plan to offset some of that debt. And according to him, it doesn’t have to be complicated. “Pay yourself first, even if you’re living check-to-check, 25 dollars adds up over time.”</p><p><strong>Another major concern for minorities is unpaid medical expenses.</strong></p><p>According to a CNBC <a href="">article</a>, more than 130 million Americans struggle with medical debt.</p><p>Littles says medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy and recommends having an income protection plan. “If we have an income protection plan, it can help complement what we get at work so we can continue to live our same lifestyle.”</p><p>Much of the financial challenges black people face could be mitigated by simply changing the negative behavior. As a financial advisor, Littles says his job very often is to be an accountability partner. Small adjustments can make all the difference.</p><p>Of Littles’ client list, 80 percent are women. He’s found that women like to plan and be prepared.&nbsp; Conversely, men often let ego and even embarrassment get in the way. Littles advises to not let that stop you from seeking a financial professional. &nbsp;</p><p>“To my black men, I say have an open mind. You want to make sure you’re leaving an inheritance to your children.”</p><p>As the country celebrates Juneteenth, it’s important to recognize the power that we have as black people.&nbsp; Littles advises us to circulate money in our community.&nbsp; That will ensure that wealth gets passed down from generation to generation. “Transferring business, land, and life insurance are things that we can do now,” said Littles.</p><p>Because it is so vital for the black community to ensure generational wealth and financial stability, Littles affirms this one simple act could prove to be extremely valuable.</p><p>“Have a financial family meeting weekly, monthly, or quarterly. That includes aunts, uncles, cousins.&nbsp; That way everybody will have a vested interest in seeing the family thrive.”</p><p>Before making any important financial decisions, Thorpe and Littles encourage everyone to educate themselves and seek professional assistance.&nbsp;</p></div> </div> Thu, 18 Jun 2020 16:11:03 +0000 swetlicr 6711 at Black Mental Health Matters <span>Black Mental Health Matters</span> <span><span>swetlicr</span></span> <span>Tue, 06/16/2020 - 11:31</span> <div> <img src="/sites/the-neighborhoods/files/2020-06/BlackMentalHealth.jpg" width="4000" height="1042" alt="Black Mental Health Matters" /> </div> <div>Black Mental Health Matters</div> <div>Addressing your mental health during a crisis </div> <div>Chris Mosley</div> <span><a href="/taxonomy/term/1081" hreflang="en">Citywide</a></span> <div><div class = ' story-main-content'><p>Wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands. Those precautions seem to be top of mind as we all try to stay healthy during this pandemic.</p><p>However, not much is talked about concerning mental health in this time of crisis.</p><p>And as the black population is being negatively affected by unemployment, reduced wages, and health care disparities at a higher rate than other ethnic groups–perhaps we should pay more attention to our mental well-being.</p><p>“As a black community we’re told to pray, we’re told to keep things in our house and just deal with it,” said Charnell Dortch MA, LPC, a licensed clinical therapist. She admits there is a stark difference in how the black community and the white community address mental illness.</p><p>According the Dortch, often times, white people have more resources and are willing to seek out those resources. She adds that black communities have more mental health challenges simply because we’re not <em>getting the help</em>.</p><p>Dortch believes there is another widespread reason for the disparity.&nbsp;</p><p>“I feel like it’s a negative stigma on mental health and so people don’t want to say anything because they feel embarrassed,” said Dortch.</p><p>It’s safe to say that not only are black people concerned with the coronavirus, but the recent racial discord has no doubt compounded the situation. These events are the perfect cocktail for anxiety. Unfortunately, individuals often don’t know when they’re encountering it.</p><p>Dortch breaks down some of the signs that could be linked to anxiety:&nbsp;</p><ul class = "list"> <li>Over planning</li> <li>Constantly pacing back and forth</li> <li>Bothered by things that didn’t bother you before</li> <li>Increased alcohol intake</li> <li>Changes in personal hygiene</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Although it’s possible to attribute these occurrences to normal stress, Dortch cautions to be aware of the frequency.</p><p>“If you notice that 5-7 days out the week, you’re angry and upset or your heart is racing; those are indicators that something is wrong,” said Dortch.</p><p>Dortch also says that in some cases there can be a domino effect when it comes to mental illness. Disorders like depression and alcoholism can be passed down, particularly in the black community.&nbsp;</p><p>“If Big Mama was always depressed, sad and smoked cigarettes to cope but never got help, now you find that mom does the same thing,” said Dortch. She refers to it as generational curses.</p><p>Quite often, this negative trend continues because of the misconceptions black people have when considering professional help. Dortch claims some believe they will be labeled as a “crazy” person, or they’ll be locked in a psych ward. But Dortch simplifies why these falsehoods shouldn’t discourage a person from seeking help.&nbsp;</p><p>“If you can’t see, you go to the eye doctor. If you feel you’re unable to function in your normality, you should be seeking help through a mental health clinician. It’s part of self-care.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>As mental health becomes a challenge for many during this time, Dortch offers 5 practical tips that can help:&nbsp; </strong></p><ol class = "list"> <li>Read a book; one that won’t cause any distress</li> <li>Journal (write down your feelings)</li> <li>Try a new recipe (or something you’ve been wanting to try)</li> <li>Engage with family or friends (as long as they don’t cause distress)</li> <li>Exercise (keep it simple; something you can do at home)</li> <li><strong>Bonus: </strong>Take a break from social media</li></ol><p>“People are only posting what they want you to see,” said Dortch. She adds that we tend to compare ourselves to others when we only see the highlights of their lives. This can often lead to stress and depression.</p><p>Dortch wants everyone to know that if you’re struggling with mental health; all is not lost.</p><p>“There are resources out here for us. Don’t be afraid to reach out because there are services that can help… in the black community.”</p><p><strong>Mental Health resources</strong></p><ul class = "list"> <li><a href=""></a></li> <li><a href=""></a></li> <li><a href=""></a></li></ul></div> </div> Tue, 16 Jun 2020 15:31:35 +0000 swetlicr 6706 at Detroit Heroes: Louie Wingard Sr. <span>Detroit Heroes: Louie Wingard Sr. </span> <span><span>jacksonjam@det…</span></span> <span>Mon, 06/15/2020 - 10:44</span> <div> <img src="/sites/the-neighborhoods/files/2020-06/DHeroes6.jpg" width="8000" height="2083" alt="Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit" /> </div> <div>Detroit Heroes: Louie Wingard Sr. </div> <div>Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit</div> <div>Jamilah Jackson</div> <span><a href="/taxonomy/term/1081" hreflang="en">Citywide</a></span> <div><div class = ' story-main-content'><p><em>During these uncertain times, we can lean on hope! We are starting a new series entitled "Detroit Heroes" where we will highlight the essential workers at the City of Detroit ensuring we are safe and our city is running!&nbsp;</em></p><p>Two months ago, Louie Wingard Sr. was on his regular route transporting a full bus of Detroiters. Today, the interaction he has with his riders is limited.</p><p>In March, Mayor Mike Duggan, along with leaders from the three unions representing Detroit Department of Transportation employees announced provisions to keep transportation equipment operators (TEOs) like Wingard safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Passengers now enter the bus through the rear doors, and bus fares are waived to prevent the spread of the virus. Passengers also are required to wear masks or face coverings. Seats behind the drivers are to remain vacant unless used by a transit officer. The TEOs are equipped with a minimum of two to five pairs of gloves and disinfectant wipes at the start of each shift. More details on these provisions can be found <a href="">here.</a></p><p>“It's really difficult when you’re driving and operating the coach to try to express 'social distancing' to people coming in through the back door. That's different,” he said. “You don't want them within six feet but you have to take those precautions now so that's the big difference. It's totally different operating your coach and dealing with your passengers.”</p><p>Before working for DDOT, Wingard came from an industrial background. He thought TEOs just drove the buses. He’s since learned the job entails so much more. Wingard has been a TEO with DDOT for nearly four years. Driving the same route for that amount of time, the Detroit father says it has allowed him to foster relationships with his regular riders.</p><p>“This isn't just driving a bus,” Wingard said. “We're out there. We're like counselors; I thought that once I got in that seat, Wow, these people really do need us.”</p><p>DDOT drivers are viewed by the public as essential workers and heroes because they are still helping Detroiters get to where they need to be in a world that has somewhat stopped. Wingard, however, says he’s just doing his job.</p><p>“To be honest with you, that title means nothing to me,” he said. “I dress up in |LS|uniform|RS| and do my job. So, whether it's called 'essential operator' or 'bus driver,' I show up to work and put my |LS|time|RS| in, whether it's an extra name to it or not.”</p><p>During his time as a driver, Wingard has been able to connect with Detroit students that utilize the DDOT system. He says some of the high school seniors are very sad they won’t be able to participate in senior activities. He has encouraged them to keep pushing forward because new opportunities are on the horizon.</p><p>“I tell them, look, that's just a ceremony so everybody can recognize you. You've accomplished your goal, you graduated, you got the right grades, move forward past this. It has nothing to do with you. This is a world thing, "Wingard said. He hopes the students will go on to college and earn degrees or even pick up a skilled trade.</p><p>Being a TEO during a global pandemic is hard work, but Wingard continues to get up, on time for his 3:30 a.m. shift because people depend on him to drive his routes. “I get to touch so many different lives throughout the day, even during this pandemic so that's the good part.”</p><p><em>For COVID-19 resources, call the Detroit Health Department Hotline at (313) 876-4000 or visit the City's COVID-19 response page&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>.</em></p></div> </div> <span><a href="/stories?field_story_first_title_value=&amp;field_story_type_target_id=1166">Health</a></span> Mon, 15 Jun 2020 14:44:46 +0000 6701 at Detroit Heroes: Marcus Poe <span>Detroit Heroes: Marcus Poe</span> <span><span>swetlicr</span></span> <span>Wed, 06/10/2020 - 10:30</span> <div> <img src="/sites/the-neighborhoods/files/2020-06/NBHsHero06.10_2.jpg" width="4000" height="1042" alt="Marcus Poe" /> </div> <div>Detroit Heroes: Marcus Poe</div> <div>Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit</div> <div>Chris Mosley</div> <span><a href="/taxonomy/term/1081" hreflang="en">Citywide</a></span> <div><div class = ' story-main-content'><p>“Someone tested positive on our midnight shift, and we had to shut down for almost a week."</p><p>For Marcus Poe, Senior Supervisor of Mechanical Maintenance at the Russell Ferry garage, a week can feel like an eternity.</p><p>Poe and his team service all City of Detroit vehicles. Falling behind is not an option. And getting vehicles fixed quickly is always the goal. But today, that’s a challenge. &nbsp;</p><p>When the pandemic hit, the entire operation had to be modified. The days when a driver could just waltz into the garage and drop off the keys are long gone.</p><p>“There’s one door in and one door out,” said Poe. “Everyone goes through a screening process; a temperature check and asked COVID-19 related questions. Once the vehicle is assigned, the mechanic uses a sterilization kit and sanitizes every point of contact–door handles, steering wheel.”</p><p>In addition to sanitizing the vehicles, a cleaning crew comes in daily to wipe down all contact points in the garage. And all clients and staff are required to wear a mask. &nbsp;</p><p>Unfortunately, these new procedures add an extra 10 minutes to every job, but Poe understands the precautions are necessary to keep everyone safe. And his employees have been receptive to the new process.</p><p>The team also is tasked with servicing Detroit Police vehicles; something Poe takes very seriously.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>“We understand that when those vehicles go down, it’s up to us to work as fast as possible to get them back up so police can be out to protect the city. Police vehicles are top priority at the garage,” said Poe.</p><p>Poe adds that public safety is key, and it’s important that police have what they need.</p><p>As for morale, Poe is very proud of his team of more than 50 employees. And he’s appreciative of upper management for providing proper supplies and personal protection equipment throughout the pandemic.</p><p>Poe recognizes his staff could have opted to stay home, but they too understand how important the vehicles are to keep the City functioning.</p><p>After 23 years on the job, and despite COVID-19, Poe still loves coming to the garage, ensuring City vehicles are maintained.</p><p>“I live in the city and I want my fellow employees and citizens to be safe.”</p><p><em>For COVID-19 resources, call the Detroit Health Department Hotline at (313) 876-4000 or visit the City's COVID-19 response page <a href="">here</a>.</em></p></div> </div> Wed, 10 Jun 2020 14:30:59 +0000 swetlicr 6696 at Detroit Heroes: Jaye Green <span>Detroit Heroes: Jaye Green</span> <span><span>jacksonjam@det…</span></span> <span>Mon, 06/01/2020 - 10:20</span> <div> <img src="/sites/the-neighborhoods/files/2020-06/NBHsHeroGreen_1.jpg" width="4000" height="1042" alt="Detroit Heroes: Jaye Green" /> </div> <div>Detroit Heroes: Jaye Green</div> <div>Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit</div> <div>Chris Mosley </div> <span><a href="/taxonomy/term/1081" hreflang="en">Citywide</a></span> <div><div class = ' story-main-content'><p><em>During these uncertain times, we can lean on hope! We are starting a new series entitled "Detroit Heroes" where we will highlight the essential workers at the City of Detroit ensuring we are safe and our city is running!&nbsp;</em></p><p>“I'm trying to get things right, build a monopoly, but folks want to freeze me up, they try to fossil me, got this knowledge in my head, street Socrates.”</p><p>Jaye Green, a Detroit emcee&nbsp;and artist, wrote those lyrics while incarcerated.&nbsp; “I drew a lot. I wrote three to four songs every day.&nbsp;For extra money I would even draw on envelopes.”&nbsp;</p><p>After losing his mother when he was just 10 years old, Green also lost his way, getting into trouble.&nbsp; Eventually, he ended up spending a year in jail at the age of 19.</p><p>To this day, Green, who attended College for Creative Studies, credits creativity for turning his life around.</p><p>But can creativity really provide a sense of purpose in our lives?&nbsp;According to an article in <em>Psychologies </em>Magazine, it can.&nbsp;</p><p>“Taking the time to use our hands, minds, and energy doing something we enjoy and that makes us happy, is of highest importance in life,” says psychotherapist, Nicola Vanlint.</p><p>Green couldn’t agree more, as he believes art can change a person’s mindset and even how they view the world.&nbsp;To that end, he started the De’FACTION Project; a program designed to engage youth and spread their art throughout the City of Detroit.&nbsp;The eventual goal is to expand outreach to Detroit Public Schools Community District.</p><p>But as schools are now closed and life, as we know it, has changed, many students and even adults are left uninspired.&nbsp;These circumstances can also cause a higher risk of depression.&nbsp;Green was compelled to step in.</p><p>He recently started the Sunday Swiggle, a series to get people in the creative mode.&nbsp;“It provides some arts, music, laughs to the community, so people can be empowered to continue to create during these troubling times,” Green said.</p><p>Sunday Swiggle consists of video tutorials that can be done at home.&nbsp;Topics include one-point perspective drawing, painting, and more.</p><p>As Detroit creatives struggle during this time, Green offers these tips to help jumpstart creativity:</p><ul class = "list"> <li>Embrace/rediscover what makes you happy</li> <li>Research (something new or intriguing)</li> <li>Change mental diet (is what you're taking in beneficial for you?)</li></ul><p>And as we’re bombarded with news during the COVID-19 crisis, Green’s advice is to stay informed by credible sources but don’t over-consume.</p><p>Not only does Green endorse creativity, he sees it as an important tool in finding one’s identity.&nbsp;He doesn’t want outside influences to send other young people down the wrong road. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>“I really just want them to be their own person, and creativity will allow them to express themselves.&nbsp; Creativity will allow them to just be them,” Green said.</p><p>Green says his mother and grandmother were always helping others, and that’s what motivates him to help young people, especially during this crisis.</p><p>He likes to say, “I didn’t choose the game; the game chose me.”</p><p><em>For COVID-19 resources, call the Detroit Health Department Hotline at (313) 876-4000 or visit the City's COVID-19 response page <a href="">here</a>.</em></p><p><em>Learn more about De’FACTION Project and Sunday Swiggle <a href="">here</a>.</em></p></div> </div> <span><a href="/stories?field_story_first_title_value=&amp;field_story_type_target_id=1151">Culture</a></span> Mon, 01 Jun 2020 14:20:09 +0000 6691 at Detroit Heroes: Annie Mendoza <span>Detroit Heroes: Annie Mendoza</span> <span><span>jacksonjam@det…</span></span> <span>Mon, 05/25/2020 - 10:55</span> <div> <img src="/sites/the-neighborhoods/files/2020-05/DHeroes4.jpg" width="8000" height="2083" alt="Detroit Heroes: Annie Mendoza" /> </div> <div>Detroit Heroes: Annie Mendoza</div> <div>Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit</div> <div>Chris Mosley </div> <span><a href="/taxonomy/term/1081" hreflang="en">Citywide</a></span> <div><div class = ' story-main-content'><p><em>During these uncertain times, we can lean on hope! We are starting a new series entitled "Detroit Heroes" where we will highlight the essential workers at the City of Detroit ensuring we are safe and our city is running!&nbsp;</em></p><p>According to a <em>Timex</em> survey, human beings spend approximately 6 months of their lives waiting in line.</p><p>For you, maybe it was concert tickets, that new roller coaster at Cedar Point, or perhaps one of those Popeyes spicy chicken sandwiches. &nbsp;</p><p>Truth be told; there are some lines we’d rather not be in.</p><p>“Everybody’s a bit anxious here |LS|in this line|RS|,“ said City of Detroit employee Annie Mendoza, pronounced Ahhh-knee.&nbsp;</p><p>Mendoza is a project manager and data analyst for the Property Maintenance Division in Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED). &nbsp;</p><p>Since April 1, she goes by a much shorter title: Checkpoint 2.&nbsp;</p><p>Mendoza volunteered to work at the Michigan State Fairgrounds COVID-19 testing site.&nbsp; She’s responsible for escorting patients to receive the test.</p><p>“As cars line up, we’ll identify the prescription number to the car, then we will walk them with their script to the nurses’ tent,” said Mendoza.</p><p>We all know the importance of testing, and Mendoza is passionate about the mission.&nbsp; &nbsp; “You have to get people tested in order to be proactive to make sure that they’re not making other people sick.”</p><p>Mendoza admits being worried when she first signed up.&nbsp; But her mind was put at ease after seeing the safety precautions in place. &nbsp;</p><p>Volunteers wear masks, gloves, and rely heavily on nonverbal communication (hand gestures), minimizing close contact with patients.&nbsp; And all car windows stay up.</p><p>But unfortunately, a car window can’t protect anyone from the unsettling mood.</p><p>“All of us are very aware that this is scary, it’s not a comfortable test.&nbsp; But I think the drivers are grateful that we’re there and we’re giving them the best customer service possible,” said Mendoza.</p><p>Since the testing site first opened, Mendoza says they’ve changed and adapted, making the process run smoother for residents.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>“I’m young, I don’t have any kids.&nbsp; I just felt like I needed to give back in this way.&nbsp; I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t be here volunteering.”</p><p>Her willingness to help should come as no surprise.&nbsp; Her husband was already on the frontline at Sinai Grace Hospital, and her mother is a nurse.</p><p>Mendoza was just next in line.</p><p><em>For COVID-19 resources, call the Detroit Health Department Hotline at (313) 876-4000 or visit the City's COVID-19 response page <a href="">here</a>.</em></p></div> </div> <span><a href="/stories?field_story_first_title_value=&amp;field_story_type_target_id=1166">Health</a></span> Mon, 25 May 2020 14:55:02 +0000 6686 at Detroit Heroes: Lakeisha Williams <span>Detroit Heroes: Lakeisha Williams</span> <span><span>swetlicr</span></span> <span>Tue, 05/19/2020 - 16:43</span> <div> <img src="/sites/the-neighborhoods/files/2020-05/DHeroes3.jpg" width="4000" height="1042" alt="Lakeisha Williams" /> </div> <div>Detroit Heroes: Lakeisha Williams</div> <div>Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit</div> <div>Chris Mosley</div> <span><a href="/taxonomy/term/1081" hreflang="en">Citywide</a></span> <div><div class = ' story-main-content'><p><em>“The End of the Line…” &nbsp;</em></p><p>Those are words cherished by bus drivers everywhere. Why? Because it’s the only time they get a well-deserved break and some alone time.</p><p>But these days, alone time is a thing of the past.</p><p>“A cleaning crew comes on the bus to sanitize and wipe down surfaces that riders are actively touching.”</p><p>Lakeisha Williams has served as a Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) bus driver for seven years. One can assume she’s seen it all. But COVID-19 is unfamiliar territory, and she had her doubts about staying on the job.</p><p>“I was very nervous because I have a 4-year-old son and an 83-year-old father at home, and I am in close contact with people all day long,” said Williams.</p><p>With ridership down, drivers have had to adjust to a new schedule. That was a concern for Williams, as finding a babysitter could be difficult. Luckily, she was able to make arrangements.</p><p><br><strong>A Different World </strong>&nbsp;</p><p>Williams found her new shift anything but typical. In fact, at the time this story was written, bus fare is waived for all riders. Passengers enter and exit through the rear door, and they’re offered face masks upon boarding.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>Seating has also changed. Several seats are left vacant, providing distance between drivers and riders. &nbsp;</p><p>Having colleagues who have fallen victim to the virus reminds Williams how serious the illness is. In addition to being tested for COVID-19, she takes daily, practical precautions as well. “I wear my face mask and gloves, but I also wipe down my entire area, including my seat.”</p><p>There’s no denying this is a new way of life for DDOT drivers, but riders are also out of their comfort zone. Williams claims they’ve handled it like pros. “Generally, riders have been respectful and are doing what they’re supposed to.”</p><p>For now, Williams can’t greet passengers, answer their questions, and see regulars like before. Yet, she’s still happy to be behind the wheel. &nbsp;</p><p>“It makes me feel good that I’m able to continue to do my part in the city and help people get where they need to go,” said Williams.</p><p>Being on the frontline during this crisis was something Williams refused to walk away from. If you asked her why, she’d simply tell you... “It’s my job.”&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p><br><strong>To Lakeisha Williams and all DDOT bus drivers, we salute you… and thank you.</strong><br><br>Detroit Department of Transportation <a href="">information</a>.</p></div> </div> Tue, 19 May 2020 20:43:33 +0000 swetlicr 6681 at Detroit Heroes: Nya Marshall <span>Detroit Heroes: Nya Marshall</span> <span><span>jacksonjam@det…</span></span> <span>Mon, 05/18/2020 - 11:25</span> <div> <img src="/sites/the-neighborhoods/files/2020-05/DHeros2.jpg" width="8000" height="2083" alt="Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit" /> </div> <div>Detroit Heroes: Nya Marshall</div> <div>Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit</div> <div>Chris Mosley </div> <span><a href="/taxonomy/term/581" hreflang="en">East Village</a></span> <div><div class = ' story-main-content'><p><em>During these uncertain times, we can lean on hope! We are starting a new series entitled "Detroit Heroes" where we will highlight the essential workers at the City of Detroit ensuring we are safe and our city is running!&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Imagine, after years of planning; opening your own restaurant -- only to have it virtually shut down just 75 days later.</p><p>“It was a horrifying experience,” recalls Nya Marshall, the owner of Ivy Kitchen, an American Fusion restaurant on the east side of Detroit.&nbsp;</p><p>When the pandemic hit, business came to a screeching halt for Marshall, forcing her to lay off twenty employees that she had just hired.&nbsp; “Many of these people left jobs to come and support my dream.”</p><p>For Marshall, it was sink or swim.&nbsp; She had to revamp her entire model, adapting her menu to carryout only.&nbsp; Like many other restaurants in the city, customers can place an order by phone or online, and a staff member will bring the food to their vehicle.</p><p>But unlike other established restaurants, Ivy Kitchen doesn’t have the customer base to thrive in an already weakened economy. “We did well the three months we were open… but we were still new,” says Marshall.&nbsp; “Right now business is down almost 90 percent.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Giving Back&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Having grown up on Detroit’s west side <em>and</em> east side, Marshall proudly calls herself a “We-sider.”&nbsp; And despite the circumstances, she maintains her commitment to helping the community that helped her.</p><p>When she was a child, Marshall was a recipient of a free lunch program.&nbsp; The late Delores Bennett, a revered advocate for Detroit’s children, led the program.&nbsp; Following Bennett’s example, Marshall says, “I will not conduct any business without a mission of giving back to the community, specifically the City of Detroit.”&nbsp;</p><p>Today, as part of the Feed The Frontlines - Detroit initiative, Marshall helps distribute food to the City of Detroit frontline workers during the COVID-19 crisis.&nbsp; Ivy Kitchen has provided meals for the Detroit Police and Fire departments, Detroit EMS, and Sinai Grace Hospital. &nbsp;</p><p>Knowing these workers are under tremendous stress, she goes above and beyond by leaving a “thank you” note with each meal.&nbsp; “If it wasn’t for them |LS|frontline workers|RS| God only knows what would have happened to all of us.”</p><p>As part of her service, Marshall delivered meals to the hotel that housed quarantined police and fire personnel.&nbsp; She recounts the overwhelming gratitude she received.&nbsp; “After the meal, several called and thanked me personally. I told them it was a pleasure and an honor.”&nbsp;</p><p>Marshall could have permanently closed the doors to Ivy Kitchen.&nbsp; But understanding the outcry for assistance propelled her to stick it out.&nbsp; She plans on participating in the Feed The Frontlines - Detroit program as long as there’s a need.</p><p>“I love the city, I love the people… I couldn’t imagine not doing it, to be quite honest.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Help frontline workers by going here:</em></p><p><em>For good eats from Ivy Kitchen, visit:</em></p><p><em>For COVID-19 resources, call the Detroit Health Department Hotline at (313) 876-4000 or visit the City's COVID-19 response page</em>&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>.</p></div> </div> <span><a href="/stories?field_story_first_title_value=&amp;field_story_type_target_id=1166">Health</a></span> Mon, 18 May 2020 15:25:16 +0000 6676 at Detroit Heroes: Crystal Hepburn, RN <span>Detroit Heroes: Crystal Hepburn, RN</span> <span><span>jacksonjam@det…</span></span> <span>Mon, 05/04/2020 - 17:13</span> <div> <img src="/sites/the-neighborhoods/files/2020-05/DH1_2.jpg" width="4000" height="1042" alt="Detroit Heroes: Crystal Hepburn, RN" /> </div> <div>Detroit Heroes: Crystal Hepburn, RN</div> <div>Highlighting the Essential Workers of Detroit</div> <div>Chris Mosley</div> <span><a href="/taxonomy/term/1081" hreflang="en">Citywide</a></span> <div><div class = ' story-main-content'><p><em>During these uncertain times, we can lean on hope! We are starting a new series entitled "Detroit Heroes" where we will highlight the essential workers at the City of Detroit ensuring we are safe and our city is running!&nbsp;</em></p><blockquote><p>Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.&nbsp; -Nelson Mandela</p></blockquote><p>…And in the age of COVID-19, education can save lives.</p><p>Crystal Hepburn, RN, is the Team Lead for Children’s Special Health Care Services for the Detroit Health Department.&nbsp; Her primary job is to help special needs children receive in-home services that enhance their quality of life.&nbsp;</p><p>But nowadays, her role has changed considerably. &nbsp;</p><p>Since March 2020, most of her time is filled with Zoom meetings and conference calls.&nbsp; It’s all in an effort to deliver factual information about the Coronavirus.</p><p>“We help anyone that resides in the City of Detroit that’s looking for education and outreach,” Hepburn said.</p><p>Unfortunately, there’s some bad information out there regarding the disease.&nbsp; That’s why Hepburn and her “dream team” address misinformation and myths head on.</p><p>“There are all kinds of approaches to health that individuals are willing to try, however it’s not evidence-based or scientifically researched.&nbsp; We make sure that individuals in our community have the most up-to-date information.”</p><p>For example, some people are wearing the same gloves all day.&nbsp; According to Hepburn this is simply not safe.&nbsp; “You’re just adding more and more germs and the possibility of transmitting this particular virus to yourself.”</p><p>Hepburn has the option to work from home.&nbsp; Yet she chooses to come to her office on Mack Ave. every day to ensure residents have the services they need. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>“I wasn’t nervous coming in |LS|the office|RS| because the Detroit Health Department has been at the forefront in taking precautions… giving everyone masks, hand sanitizer, enough space for social distancing.”</p><p>But Hepburn understands not everyone is as confident.&nbsp; In fact, she often takes calls from people who have tested positive and are afraid of passing it on to family members.&nbsp; That’s when she exercises compassion and focuses on safety guidelines – always remaining helpful yet honest.</p><p>As part of the outreach and education program, Hepburn aids individuals, faith-based organizations, block groups, small businesses and independent senior residences – offering everything from testing requirements to proper mask use.</p><p>“If we can provide education and resources to every individual in the community, then there is a chance they will not need to seek services from the hospital if they know how to protect themselves,” Hepburn said.</p><p>With three children of her own, Hepburn can relate to the uncertainty and fear a lot of people are feeling.&nbsp; But she chooses to stay positive.</p><p>“Have hope, we can overcome this challenge and come out even stronger.” &nbsp;</p><p>Spoken like a real hero… a Detroit Hero.</p><p><em>For COVID-19 resources, call the Detroit Health Department Hotline at (313) 876-4000 or visit the City's COVID-19 response page</em> <a href="">here</a>.</p></div> </div> <span><a href="/stories?field_story_first_title_value=&amp;field_story_type_target_id=1166">Health</a></span> Mon, 04 May 2020 21:13:05 +0000 6671 at