Honors students volunteer despite pandemic


While this semester has surely been a different one, especially for volunteer opportunities, students in the Detroit Mercy Honors Program have still been finding ways to help the community.

A group of students volunteered recently at Auntie Na’s Village, which offers collectively owned homes and land, as well as community programs that provide support for individuals and families in Detroit.

The outreach program’s stated mission is "striving to put the ‘unity’ back in ‘community.’ "

The homes are being built and improved to better serve the community. These houses include the Tutor House, Medical House and Village Home, with more planned.

In 2019, Auntie Na’s Village was a winner of the Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit, receiving a $150,000 grant.

With this money, the program is building a Nutrition House. The Village is also planning on building a playground area for children and obtaining a delivery truck.

Nursing student Anja Peters, co-vice president of the honors executive board, introduced this opportunity to the program.

“I thought it would be beneficial for the honors students and for the mission work of Auntie Na’s, if we as a group would go to Auntie Na’s and help volunteer,” she said.

While volunteering, honors students worked with other volunteers doing a multitude of tasks including sorting and organizing donations, packaging hygiene bags and going through food donations.

Students who came and volunteered their time included Peters, Fadi Koria, Gina Peruzzi, Kate McFarland, Mateo Candela and Erin Letourneau. Professor Nick Rombes, co-director of the Honors Program, also volunteered his time.

“We get our volunteer hours while helping out a cause that is super needed,” Peters said.

In the past not much group service work has been done, so Peters and the other members of the honors board are striving to create such opportunities.

They plan to make volunteering at Auntie Na’s Village a monthly opportunity for the program.