DETROIT (WWJ) – About 2,500 General Motors employees are spending the week helping with a number of improvements in Detroit’s Cody Rouge neighborhood.

WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert says accountants are teamed up with engineers and designers with administrators as they descend on the area around Cody High School for one week each year.

It’s a hands-on campaign, said GM’s Director of Community Outreach at General Motors, Heidi Magyar.

“Not just write a big check, but be present, be engaged and help wherever we can,” she said.

They’re tackling projects to clean up the neighborhood, using chain saws to clear brush and painting and updating homes, while other volunteers host classes for kids focused on science and technology.

Engineer Taijauane Robinson looks forward to the volunteer work and encourages her co-workers to take part.

“I basically tell them that it’ll be the greatest reward; just the feeling you get after you’re volunteering, knowing that you put a smile on a child’s face,” Robinson said.

One of those kids, 9-year-old Von Black, is a big fan of the program, “Because it’s fun and you can play with people and stuff, and do experiments.”

Located on the far west side of Detroit, Cody Rouge is a primarily residential neighborhood of roughly 35,000 people — stretching from Ford Road to I-96 and including Rouge River Park to the west over to Greenfield Road to the east.

Projects include: Painting and refreshing two murals at Dixon Elementary and Mann Elementary schools; building improvements, cleaning and painting at Cody High School, Dixon, Mann and Henderson elementary schools; bike path, trail and bridge clean-up and gardening at Rouge Park; creating a non-invasive walking path through a 40-acre butterfly sanctuary and prairie; and home rehabilitation projects, including board-ups/clean-ups and backyard landscaping, Joy Road clean-up to enhance Cody’s primary business corridor (from Southfield to Evergreen).

There will also be a job fair on Thursday, hosted by staffing supplier Aerotek, offering mock interviews, coaching, resume critiquing and career advice.

GM teamed up with the Cody Rouge community so volunteers can see the progress years after year. The Cody effort is in addition to a GM company-wide volunteer effort every fall.


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