DETROIT (WWJ) – Some Detroit teens are getting an up close look at the blight in one section of the city.
WWJ’s Vickie Thomas spoke with 15-year-old Sasha Bowen who is a member of the “Mapping Squad.” Armed with clip boards and ink pens, she and her group have been surveying property in Southwest Detroit.
“Seeing what condition they’re in and if they’re vacant, burnt,” said Bowen. She said these fire-damaged buildings are dangerous and need to be torn down.
Bowen said she and her friends have a message for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing: Give teens something to do. “There’s really not much for youth in our community,” she said.
“We need to get these houses down and find something that we need to do. Because there’s a lot we can do to get our youth off the street,” said 15-year-old Tanja Bovie.
Fifteen-year-old Darrel Greer said he’d like to work in a community garden, and there would be plenty of room for a new rec center if the blight was cleared.
Data Driven Detroit(D3) has partnered with Southwest Counseling Solutions to educate Southwest Detroit youth about the geography of their neighborhood as part of the Community Youth Mapping Program. The program that gives local teens the chance to make real change in their neighborhoods, while also gaining job skills through interaction with local professionals. (Read more about the program).
Mayor Bing announced two weeks ago that Southwest Detroit is part of his Detroit Works project and is in line for some additional resources. Bing said the chosen neighborhoods have been assessed, and work will begin soon. (More on this, here).