Native News Network Staff in Native Currents. Discussion »
DETROIT It took 75 volunteers and 55 gallons of paint make a difference at the Southeastern Michigan Indians, known as SEMII, center just outside of Detroit. As part of a company-wide initiative, Mopar employees continued their recent work with Southeastern Michigan Indians Inc. by repainting the organization's cultural center.
Volunteers Repainted the SEMII Cultural Center in Beige with a Burgundy Stripe
The organization, located two blocks from Mopar's main parts distribution facility in Center Line, Michigan provides social services to American Indians and Macomb County, Michigan residents.
Volunteers from Mopar repainted the group's cultural center, replacing the faded pink and blue exterior coat with a beige base and burgundy stripe.
“The burgundy band represents medicine and healing,”
said Sue Franklin, Executive Director of SEMII.
“The beige color connects the building to the earth.”
Mopar volunteers gathered with the organization's staff and board members to celebrate the transformation of the building. The celebration included a flag ceremony by the Native American Veterans Association of Southeast Michigan and speeches by city officials, the group's board members and Mopar leadership.
Center Line Mayor Dave Hanselman thanked volunteers for their hard work.
“The building looks wonderful,”
“The people from Mopar have enhanced the city through their work with SEMII.”
Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group's service, parts and customer-care brand, spoke about the relationship between the Mopar Center Line facility and the surrounding community.
“With the same passion that Mopar uses to add value to our brands, we also want to add value in our community,”
“Sometimes it is easy to leave the office without taking the time to get to know your neighbors. Our projects with SEMII have allowed us to build a friendship that will continue long into the future.”
Planning for the volunteer project began earlier this year with a meeting with Tom Lindquist, Director and Tiffany from MOPAR and began discussion of a volunteer project.
Franklin thought it was important to familiarize MOPAR employees with American Indian culture and history.
“Our first meeting was an orientation, where we showed the documentary, 'Indian School, the Survivor's Story.' We felt it was important that MOPAR have an understanding of the community they were being introduced to. We mutually decided this was to be an opportunity for both communities to learn from one another and to form a partnership, neighbors,”
MOPAR assigned Mike Ostrowski their Facilities Manager as the lead. Bill Miskokomon from the SEMII board of directors became the lead for the organization and Chris Franklin the lead from staff. Very quickly, other companies came aboard to help with activities and supplies.
Ostrowski spoke with the owner of Fairmont Sign Company, who created a brand new sign, which illuminates at night with the logo, which was entirely donated to SEMII. Brian P. Moore, executive director of the North American Indian Association of Detroit, Inc., performed a flag song.
posted June 22, 2012 9:40 am edt