By Paige Pfleger, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 11, 2015
A crowd of 60 students slurped soup and raised money for Detroit-based charities Wednesday evening as part of The Soup, the second event of the University’s first-ever Detroit Week.
Organized by the Detroit Partnership, the Black Student Union, the Black Volunteer Network, Semester in Detroit and the LSA Student Government, Detroit Week is hosting three events to examine problems facing the city as well as promote community outreach. The week kicked off Monday with a panel on race and food in the city and will conclude Saturday with a volunteer project at the Franklin Wright Settlement in Detroit.
Inspired by Detroit SOUP, a monthly dinner that funds micro-grants for Detroit-based projects, The Soup raised $325 for charity by providing students with a $5 soup dinner and an opportunity to vote for the charity who would receive the proceeds from the event.
All the participating organizations, including Detroit Urban Debate Education, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Loud Voice Movement, are campus groups with the mission of empowering youth in the Detroit community.
“I love this event because it continues the engagement with Detroit, and allows the Detroit Partnership to collaborate with other groups,” said Public Policy junior Blair Sucher, education director for the Detroit Partnership. “To me, that’s so important, because it’s awesome to see people from all areas of study come out and support Detroit.”
Each organization presented their mission and service goals while students ate their soup.
Detroit Urban Debate Education is a student organization that sends students to schools throughout the Detroit area to teach debating techniques, form debate teams and send debaters to national tournaments. Since its establishment in 2009, the group has grown to include more than 250 students from 18 high schools, and boasts a 100-percent graduation rate for its participants.
The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers created a program called SHPE Jr., an outreach campaign at Western International High School in Detroit. SHPE aims to inspire Hispanic youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Attendees ultimately voted for the donation to go toward the Loud Voice Movement, an organization seeking to empower individuals in the foster care system in Detroit. The money will go toward recruitment and bringing in speakers for workshops, as well as help fund the group’s overall functions.
As a Detroit native who spent time in the foster care system, LSA senior Kamille Tynes, the Loud Voice Movement founder, emphasized the importance of providing advocacy, leadership and professional development training for foster youth during her presentation.
“Right now, only 2 percent of the national population of foster youth make it to college,” Tynes said. “One of the issues that is so near and dear to my heart is education, because I know like you guys know, that’s the way to succeed in life. But if you don’t have the support system, or the skills or the resources to do it, you won’t be able to achieve it. No matter how smart you are.”
Tynes created the Loud Voice Movement three years ago when she was struggling academically in her first year at the University. She said she knew that if she was struggling, other foster kids were probably struggling, too. She took a class about community organizing to research the best ways to get the group on its feet, and last year she formally launched the program.
“I am so grateful that people could hear the passion, and that they want to support what we’re doing in Detroit,” Tynes said.