How does a retired school teacher who lives in Dexter end up regularly volunteering in Detroit with Life Remodeled? For Kris Kreiner, it’s education in another form.
“My mother grew up in Detroit. I have a heart for Detroit because it is part of my past,” Kris said. “Even before Life Remodeled started, I felt like I was an ambassador for Detroit, getting people to understand that the city is much more than burned-out buildings.
Beginning in 2013 with the first Life Remodeled Detroit project in the North End, Kris helped out with hospitality. The next year in Cody Rouge, she worked at the command center at Pulaski Elementary School, where one memory from three years ago remains fresh.
“I remember these people from Quicken Loans with this army of lawnmowers. Some were trimming trees and some were digging up concrete hazards… just seeing the passion these people had,” her voice trailed off as a smile remained on her face.
“These neighborhoods are more sustainable because people can keep them up” once the heaviest remediation work is done. And giving the equipment used during the Cody project to the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance is “part of a whole combination of things I see as sustainable.”
Kris helps Life Remodeled remain sustainable, too. Though still substitute teaching, her retirement freed up time to help enter last year’s volunteers in Denby into the database and assemble a list of area high schools where volunteers could be recruited for this summer’s Six-Day Project in Central.
Married for 33 years to her architect husband – also named Kris – a heart for service led her to participate in short-term mission trips to Russia and China from Calvary Baptist, her home church in Canton. She first met Chris Lambert there when Calvary and his Westland congregation would get together for Good Friday services – before he founded Life Remodeled.
“What I love about Life Remodeled is that it is working in Detroit,” Kris said. “I wanted to put my passion for the city into something more useful than just talk.”