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We say it all the time, Detroit Inspires Us. While so much good is happening in the city, there are still many desolate areas that are craving attention. Downtown is booming but we can’t forget about those neighborhoods that need a little TLC.

Enter: Life Remodeled. An organization that bridges people across divides of race, religion and educational backgrounds to help transform each other’s lives – investing approximately $5 million in donations, labor and materials into one Detroit neighborhood each year. This year, over a six-day period, 316 city blocks of Detroit were beautified. Trash was cleaned up, trees were trimmed, blight was removed and flowers were planted by more than 10,397 volunteers.

Franco rounded up the troops and joined in for the second year. Everyone rolled up their sleeves and wasn’t afraid to get a little (or a lot) dirty and get the job done. We were armed with plenty of yard tools – wheelbarrows, weed wackers, lawn mowers and more. When everyone comes together for a common goal, a lot can be accomplished. In just a few short hours the Franco team, along with other volunteers, cleaned up multiple alleyways. Check out this before and after!

The day of hard work had quite an impact on the Franco team, here’s what they had to say:

“My volunteer experience with Life Remodeled has been so much more than giving back to the community. Each time I volunteer during project week, I gain a deeper understanding of the communities we serve. When you start in the morning – streets covered with brush and blight – and literally work to uncover the neighborhoods, it gives you an entirely different perspective of the community and the neighbors themselves. Working alongside other volunteers and neighbors creates a strong bond and a mutual appreciation for our shared space on Earth. This experience reinforces our shared humanity. It’s a connection much deeper than anything I’ve gained in other volunteer experiences, and its impact goes much beyond the project itself.” – Tina Kozak, president

“Seeing the before and after photos of the site was incredible – I loved meeting new people and getting active with the Franco team. Using a saw to slowly clear trees away was a great metaphor for the morning!” – Geoff Geist, digital account executive

“Knowing that I’m creating an impact (no matter how big or small), inspires me to give back to the community. I knew volunteering with Life Remodeled would be hard work. Flexing my muscles to clear out overgrown brush and remove years of trash was no easy task, but the synergy of my team helped me see the end goal: to provide a beautiful, clean space for Detroit residents to live and play. It was a very rewarding experience that I will not forget.” – Andrea Kenski, account supervisor

“Volunteering with Life Remodeled was a fun, hands-on way to bring together teams from all around our area in support of a great initiative in Detroit. My favorite part was seeing what a huge difference a team can make in a neighborhood after just a single day of work.” – Dan Horn, account supervisor

“This was my first time volunteering with Life Remodeled and I must say it was a great experience. It is heartening to see that so many residents care about Detroit and are willing to spend time beautifying it. This was a great team exercise where we could do our bit while having fun.” – Neekita Singla, digital account executive

Detroit continues to inspire all of us – one cleaned up city block at a time. We are already looking forward to getting involved next year!

Have you volunteered with Life Remodeled yet? Share your experience in the comments below.

Rachel Burnard is an account executive at Franco. Contact Rachel at [email protected].