Despite the cold rainy weather on May 14, hundreds of volunteers and students from eight Detroit and Dearborn high schools came to the Detroit Institute of Technology to support the 12th National Network for Arab American Communities Service Day.

Volunteers planted trees, boarded up abandoned houses, picked up trash on the streets, painted recycling bins and tire gardens, built a butterfly garden, and added plants to the community garden. A lot of work was already done at DIT’s annual Spring Thing on April 16, and service day volunteers were able to bring new and exciting exterior features to help students build a sense of pride.

Freshmen Kariel Thomas called the experience “electrifying”.

Thomas was among many DIT staff and students who were on site to help those who sponsored the cleanup: ACCESS, Greening of Detroit, Second Attention Strategies, and DTE Energy. Home Depot and Lowe's donated the materials needed to make the day a success.

DIT freshman Khiya Ashe was disappointed that more DIT students and staff weren’t there, but other events scheduled for the same day kept many from coming.

“All our students should be here. It's our school and our opinion should matter with the changes that are happening,” Ashe said.

According to the Arab American News, the goal of National Network for Arab American Service Day is to foster a culture of leadership and community engagement through service and volunteerism.

DIT STEaM coordinator Chad Segrist supports the program's goals.

“It's always nice for communities to gather and work towards common goals and objectives to help beautify environments,” Segrist said.