City Year can make all the difference




The nonprofit organization City Year is a constant presence at Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern. They service many different schools around the country and act as mentors and tutors to many students.

Hannah Heebner is a City Year member serving the Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern family. She is from Farmington Hills, and she attended the University of Michigan.

Another member of the City Year team is Annabelle Wilkinson, she is from Troy/Bloomfield Hills, and she graduated from Michigan State University in 2011.

“Go Green!” Wilkinson said.

Last but not least, we have Lenora Lucaj. She is from Highland, and she graduated from the University of Michigan this past May.

“City Year is at this school because we care about the drop-out crisis,” Heebner said. “And strive to give students who walk in the doors a chance to graduate.”

City Year mainly serves freshman students.

“Studies have shown that when students can pass ninth-grade math and English, their chance of graduating increases significantly,” Heebner said. “Education is important. We’re here to help you succeed.”

Right now, the City Year helps control the class environment so that students can learn as best as possible, and to help both teachers and students in the classroom. The City Year common room is located on the fifth floor in room 514C.

“Students can use City Year in many ways,’ Wilkinson said. “Come to us if you need help in the classroom. If you need someone to talk to we can be there for you as well. We’ll encourage you at every turn, we want you to reach your goals and dreams.”

Students can use City Year as mentors, tutors, and people they can trust.

“We love making relationships with students, so don’t be shy,” Heebner said. Come talk to us about anything.”

To participate in their tutoring program, a permission slip must be signed by a parent or guardian and returned to them. Tutoring sessions are offered from Monday through Thursday from 3:30-4:45 p.m.


6 Current CM’s have a chance to Challenge Detroit!

City Year Detroit needs your help! We have 6 current corps members who have made it to the next round of the Challenge Detroit competition, you can vote for more than one person, they can’t make it to the interview with our extra push, Voting is now open until April 7 and must be done on a computer (NOT a mobile device).  Each Facebook user can only vote once per semi-finalist and all votes must be cast through the voting platform; wall posts will not count.

Charles P. Ashley –

Kate Mulhern –

Paul Sandy –

April Newberry –

Ben Newton –

Melissa Ponce –

A City Year

A City Year

AS 1

Hi! My name is Amira Soliman and I am a first-year AmeriCorps member serving with City Year Detroit. City Year is an education focused non-profit organization that hires 17-24 year olds as AmeriCorps members to be tutors, mentors, and role models in high-need schools. We are striving to end the dropout crisis in 24 cities across the United States, as well as 2 international sites in England and South Africa.
Since I am originally from New York, my placement in Detroit has been very exciting. Detroit has a lot of potential to become a great comeback city- there are a lot of influential organizations and people in the city creating change. In addition, Detroit is implementing new systems to level the educational system and support struggling students, and I am excited that City Year is a part of the change.

As a Corps member, I travel with my team each day to the high school I serve at, Central Collegiate Academy, and collaborate with our math teachers to support student success.  We are there to provide individualized attention to the students who need it the most.  While bringing my students up to grade level is important, I think the most exciting part of my service has been giving the students opportunities outside of the classroom. These activities, such as the after-school programming and school events that we provide for our students, support them holisticallyin addition to educationally.

This past week, my team put on our first large event, the 1stannual College and Career Night at Central. We reached out to nearly 50 college and career representatives to come to the event and represent their institutions to our students. After several months of planning, the night came and we had 15 students volunteer to stay after school to help us set up. It was very exciting to see some of the students volunteer to escort the admissions representatives to their table.

We had an amazing turn out; students and their families came to our event, networked with college and career representatives, and most importantly they learned about the standards they will be held to throughout the rest of their high school career in order to be admitted into a college. Luckily, we received many donations to support our event and were able to raffle off prizes for students as a motivation for them to engage with all of the representatives who were present. The school administration is excited to continue College and Career Night in the future with the foundations our City Year team built for this year.

Another exciting project I’ve been a part of was not one of my own host school’s, but rather a national event. Each year on Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day, AmeriCorps programs across the country plan large service projects and invite community members to become involved in revitalizing their local areas. This year, City Year Detroit partnered with Detroit Public Schools to plan service projects at four schools and also provided support for several local non-profits.

My service site was Osborn High School, a school known to be a staple of Detroit’s east side neighborhood. Osborn is an educational complex that has been highly involved in education reform in recent years and now includes academies within the school to meet their student’s diverse interests. This includes a college prep academy and an academy for design and alternative energy. We had projects across the Osborn complex, including painting inspirational quotes in the restrooms, redecorating the college prep office suite, and remodeling a room into a student lounge similar to a college student union.

A great thing about Osborne High School is that the engagement level among students is very high. During our planning days, we had students ask about volunteering and many came out on MLK Day to support the projects at their school. I was a project coordinator for the bathroom painting projects and had a City Year alum and three Osborn students volunteering alongside me. Throughout all of the day’s service projects, we had many other student volunteers, City Year alumni, and corporate volunteers who participated in the MLK Day service.

In addition to our service, we held a rally at Osborn on MLK Day to engage staff and community stakeholders and to prepare them for a day of powerful service. After several speeches, I took the stage as a member of the City Year Step Team and performed a routine that excited the crowd. I never stepped before City Year but have greatly enjoyed it as part of the City Year culture. City Year encourages us to “get squishy” by taking ourselves out of our comfort zones and step has been a great way for me to do that.
MLK Day was a pivotal mark for City Year members as it is the half-way point of our service. Though this means we still have a while to go, I’m already glad to have taken so many opportunities this year to get squishy. That’s what a year of service should be and I’m excited to experience other ways to get squishy in the year ahead.

First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All. – Being Great on #MLKDay

This guest post is written by Tiran Burrell, an Eastern Michigan University alum and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. serving as a Team Leader with City Year Detroit on the United Way Team at Osborn High School.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is among one of the greatest people who has ever lived.  His undying optimism in troubling times as well as his drive to ensure civil rights for all Americans has truly become an inspiration that has been felt throughout the world. He has imprinted in the minds of many that indeed, dreams do come true. Most importantly, he has done a tremendous amount of service to humanity.

He is truly a member of Alpha Phi Alpha that lived up to our motto:

First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All.

As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., like Dr. Kingservice is a large factor in my life. Dr. King said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” This quote is something that I truly believe and connects to the altruism associated with “Servants of All.” As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., I have served in various places such as: shelters, urban gardens, youth aid programs, fundraisers and even city clean-up initiatives.

Serving others, especially in the city where I was raised, is extremely important to me because I want to see my city grow. I joined City Year Detroit in hopes to see this happen – starting with education, because it is the foundation from where it all happens. I see students much like myself not granted the opportunities I was and it inspires me to change it.  At some point, it stops being about yourself and it starts being about how to “make better happen” for everybody. I am glad I joined City Year to be a part of that change in Detroit, something that another member of Alpha Phi Alpha and former mayor of Detroit, Dennis Archer, sought after when he assisted in starting the City Year site here.

On June 23, 1963, months before the March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King first gave his unforgettable “I Have a Dream” speech here on the streets of Detroit. I am delighted to serve in Detroit on MLK Day because there are so many ties that bind us together.

As a fraternity brother who came from the place where Dr. King first shared his dream, it is a great honor to be a part of this day. I love the fact that Detroit Public Schools alumni like myself have volunteered to serve on this day at various schools around the city, including Osborn, which is the school I serve at. This is proof that others have started living, according to King, as they work on the concerns of all humanity. This day is greater than me and why I serve. It is improving the conditions that we live in to make them better so next generations can “Transcend All” that we have done.

It is with the utmost pride that I partake in this service day for Detroit, Dr. King, Alpha Phi Alpha, and City Year.

Dr. King said, “Everybody can be great, because anyone can serve.” Greatness does not always lie in your accomplishments, but how you can make the world a better place. As servants, it is our duty to do great things.


Team Noble service @ Arts & Scraps

On Tuesday November 4, voters took to the polls, on what proved to be a historical day. Noble Elementary Middle School, where my team and I serve, was a voting site and was closed for the day, but that didn’t stop us from serving.

Our day started at 8:00am, instead of the usual 7:15am. Our Team Leader scheduled us to volunteer for the day at Arts & Scraps, a non-profit organization that uses recycled industrial materials to create kits for people of all ages use their minds to think, learn and create. The service began in the Arts & Scraps warehouse, where my team and I formed two mini assembly lines to prepare kits to be used in classrooms.

The assembly line I was part was responsible for preparing kits so that students could create their own cars as part of an activity in the classroom. The kit included items that many people use on a daily basis like straws, for the axles and used tickets to represent seats.  Each kit came with instructions and information on how the materials included were recycled.

At Noble, the students have been learning about the benefits of the 3 r’s, reduce, reuse and recycle. Arts & Scraps makes use of all three and our students could learn a great deal from the organization. Perhaps as the year continues we can order kits and make use of them sometime during the school day.

At the end of our how time in the warehouse, we were each given a goodie bag so that we could be just as creative as the students who would soon use the kits we created. Seeing what many would consider trash, put to use in such an innovative way at Arts & Scraps was really impressive. If you’d like to find out more about the organization, visit their website:


Written by Crystal LeeNoble1 Noble2