It’s been about three years since Tanisha Manningham first encountered Life Remodeled. The Cody High project was being planned for 2014, yet students at Denby, where she was an assistant principal at the time, were already planting seeds for what is happening in their neighborhood this summer.
Now the principal at Denby, Tanisha is preparing her students for the coming changes. Many of them will spend the last week of the school year – Denby is on a year-round academic calendar – working alongside Life Remodeled volunteers tackling blight on 300 blocks and remodeling more than 50 homes.
“The staff and students are extremely excited about the project,” she said. “We’ve held a student assembly to roll out the project, as well as a staff kick-off.”
Denby High itself did not need the improvements that Life Remodeled led in Cody and Osborn. Rather, the major project is the transformation of Skinner Playfield next to the high school. Mostly through donated materials and labor, it is being transformed into Skinner Park, a vision of Denby students who sketched and defended their dream as a capstone project toward graduation in 2013.
“I think the community will ensure that Skinner Park remains a place of peace, fun, and a place to feel safe,” Tanisha said. ”All stakeholders have to be committed to keeping the upgrades and changes up to par. We are all accountable.”
The greatest surprise in working with Life Remodeled is not really a surprise at all, she said.
“I am happy and amazed at how many people in the city of Detroit and metro Detroit area are invested in the process and the work. The population of citizens that want to help make the Denby community a better place is a blessing. The people in the community genuinely do care about their city and their neighborhood.”