Heart of Detroit: Girl Scouts of Northville

By Mitch Albom, (@MitchAlbom)
Published On: Oct 24 2013 05:40:00 PM EDT
Updated On: Oct 24 2013 06:45:49 PM EDT

When you say "Girl Scouts," most people think cookies. They don't think of fixing up homes for the poor in the inner city.

DETROIT -

When you say "Girl Scouts," most people think cookies. They don't think of fixing up homes for the poor in the inner city.

But that's what four Girl Scouts from Northville have done: An extreme makeover for the extremely needy.

"I thought it was a nice way to give back for the ladies since they are trying to get their lives back on track," said Shannon.

Shannon, Olivia, Abigail and Claire came from the comforts of Northville to the stark reality of the Detroit Rescue Mission's Genesis House 2, a transitional housing project for women with children getting their lives back together.

"This isn't something that I had been exposed to," said Abby.

"It really opened my eyes to see that there was three people in the size of my bedroom space," Shannon said.

"It was humbling to see how they had to carry all of their belongings with them," said Olivia.

Working under the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Program, the four teens had to draw up room designs, raise the money, recruit volunteers and do all the work in making over the living space.

The physical changes are obvious. The emotional ones may count for more.

"What did you think when you saw mom and her two year old twins living in a shelter?" asked Mitch Albom.

"I was very grateful coming from where I come from that I was able to help them out," said Claire.

These teenaged scouts truly changed the shelter's spaces into homey environments.

The girls said they never have worked that hard on their own rooms at home.

"No, and did your parents say to you, 'Oh fine, you can go build an entire room down at a shelter but I can't get your to make your own beds.'" Albom said as they laughed.

Today's young people are often perceived as self-absorbed, but Northville leads the nation in Gold Award Winners for service and nearly 40 percent of girls in Northville get involved in scouting.

"Yeah, I don't think you can ever outgrow Girl Scouts," said Shannon.

"You will be wearing this vest when you are 50 then?" asked Albom.

Shannon laughed, "Forever."

A lot more than cookies, these Northville Girl Scouts proved their Heart of Michigan Program well serves the Heart of Detroit.

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