Mariah has been with UNI since 2011 when she started volunteering with us as a high school student to complete her community service hours. She joined the Youth Apprenticeship Program in 2013 and worked with the Southwest Urban Arts Mural Project (SUAMP) contributing to a number of artworks in the neighborhood.
Currently, Mariah is a junior pursuing a degree in Social Work at Wayne State University. She spends most of her volunteer time with UNI at the front desk of the All Saints Neighborhood Center. Mariah’s always willing to help out with other special projects at UNI, and her positive attitude and flexibility make her a valuable part of our team!
When asked what her favorite part of UNI is, Mariah says, “Everyone is so awesome.” She truly enjoys the people here and thinks that UNI is making a great difference in Southwest Detroit. We’re so happy to know Mariah and are grateful she is sharing her time and talent with us!
Alejandro is a volunteer in our All Saints Neighborhood Center After-school Program and is a member of UNI’s Youth Advisory Board. He’s been volunteering since October 2015 and got introduced to UNI through his sister.
Alejandro is currently a student at Cass Tech High School. In his free time, he enjoys playing both electric and acoustic guitar. After graduating from high school and college, he is interested in pursuing a career in either medicine or engineering.
Alejandro likes working with kids on their school work and “helping the kids understand”. He says that kids often underestimate themselves and that he enjoys helping them know that they can do it, instilling confidence in them.
We’re grateful to have Alejandro as a volunteer in our ASNC After-school program and as a leader on our Youth Advisory Board!
Linda Cortez is a community volunteer who spends countless hours working to make the neighborhood safer. She is the president of the West Vernor Civilian Patrol and has been involved with the patrol since its creation two years ago.
The patrol’s purpose is to be the eyes and ears of the City of Detroit. Citizens volunteer to observe activity in the neighborhood and communicate that activity to the police department. Linda says that if she can help someone get out of a dangerous situation by alerting local police of a situation, she’s willing to do it. Linda was approached by Congress of Communities to help start the patrol and talks about how it’s grow since its inception. The patrol began with just two cars, and now there are five active cars with 30 resident volunteers.
Linda was motivated to improve the community after losing her son four years ago due to senseless violence. She wants other parents to know what’s going on in their neighborhood. “I just want others to open their eyes,” Linda says. She talks about the importance of increasing awareness of community activity, parents must know what their kids are doing.
Linda is a lifetime resident of Southwest Detroit, and currently lives in the house where she grew up. One of her favorite destinations in the neighborhood is Patton Park. She remembers swimming and playing volleyball there as a child. Linda is grateful for that she had such a positive place to spend time at during her youth, and that the park and recreation center are continually active today.