What's Blight Busting, you say? This vigorous, uplifting activity can take on many forms: from adorning a drab urban building with a colorful mural, to boarding and securing a dangerous property, to rehabilitating a neglected house with paint, nails, sweat, and care.
It can even mean dismantling a damaged home with sledgehammers and axes – an activity that especially delighted the rambunctious Quicken Loans volunteer group who participated in a volunteer Saturday as part of Motor City Blight Busters' ongoing community revitalization mission.
MCBB, founded by Detroit native John J. George, has been helping communities and neighborhoods in Detroit for over 20 years. In that time, they've helped paint over 700 houses, board up and secure over 400 abandoned buildings, demolish more than 100 destroyed properties, and renovate or build over 300 homes. MCBB is also a major force behind the now famous Angel's Night Patrols, protecting the city against arson every Halloween.
Our group from Quicken Loans was proud to contribute to the noble purpose of MCBB this past weekend. Together with a group of dedicated volunteer groups from Compuware, Motor City Connect, and other community businesses and organizations, over 50 conscientious citizens helped demolish and clear a fire-destroyed property in North West Detroit, as well as paint a mural on a nearby building.
It was a sweaty and dirty business, but that was part of the fun! Undoubtedly, it was an honest, hard day's work. And the pride in helping the community was unmistakable. One young teenager – who'd earlier playfully complained about being up early on a Saturday to rake muck – turned to me and said, "You know, this is a pretty good way to spend a Saturday." While filthy and worn out, I had to heartily agree.
Yes MCBB – and the volunteers who are the heart, soul and brawn of the organization – truly is "The Diff." The difference between caring about a city you love, and giving up on it.
Later I surveyed all the work we'd accomplished, and thought: what if, one Saturday a month, instead of going to the gym, all the able-bodied people in metro Detroit gave two hours to MCBB? Then the renaissance we've been hoping for would actually materialize, through the caring actions of an entire city.