Mill Creek Middle Schoolers Sprout Seeds of Change at Camp Restore


Students completed yard work for a family in need. Photo: Sara Clemm von Hohenberg.

Mill Creek Middle School eighth graders from the Summit Team embarked on a heartwarming adventure when they visited Camp Restore in Detroit to lend a helping hand in cleaning up the city.

The eager students, split into small groups, rolled up their sleeves to clear trash, mow lawns, pull weeds, plant flowers, and prepare community garden beds for planting.

The event was a collaboration between Camp Restore, Concordia University, and Mill Creek Middle School. Concordia University students served as mentors and cheerleaders to the middle schoolers, working alongside them to complete the community service projects.

Sandra, a local community member, spoke with the students about the importance of serving and why this particular community means so much to her. Photo: Sara Clemm von Hohenberg.

Dr. Sara Clemm von Hohenberg, Associate Professor of Education at Concordia, who helped organize the event, remarked, "We love the partnership we have with Camp Restore, and it was so rewarding to see college students, middle schoolers, and teachers all working side-by-side to make the area a better place."

Katey Robinson, an 8th-grade English teacher, proudly shared her thoughts on the students' accomplishments: "I am so proud of what these kids were able to accomplish in service to a community in need. Watching these students take initiative and not be afraid to get their hands dirty was a gratifying experience. It is one thing to talk about the importance of volunteering, but the hands-on experience was where the real connections were made. The students left with a feeling of pride in their work and a new passion for helping others. We hope to continue our work with Camp Restore in the future."

The event resonated with the middle school students, who found the experience both valuable and inspirational. 8th grader Tyler Fabian expressed, "Volunteering helped give me very valuable knowledge about how helping our communities can really change the world for the better, on top of gaining helpful life skills."

Photo: Concordia University students serve alongside Mill Creek 8th graders to clear trash and beautify the neighborhood. Photo: Sara Clemm von Hohenberg.

Mathew St. Romain, another 8th-grade participant, added, "I now understand the appeal of community service. You get to help the community and get exercise. I thought at first it wouldn't be worthwhile, but service learning is just one of those experiences that, once you do it, you are more willing to do it again."

Mae Barbaro, an 8th grader, concluded, "The service project was a very educational and rewarding experience. It inspired me to continue to participate in community service."

Juliana Helisek, a Concordia University student, also found the collaboration inspiring: "Camp Restore provided an amazing opportunity to serve the local neighborhood. It was a great opportunity to work alongside other volunteers, especially middle school students. I was able to mentor 8th grade students who had an amazing heart to give back to the community. This was an eye-opening experience to help impoverished areas near me."

Camp Restore welcomes volunteers of all ages and serves as an excellent opportunity for families to work together in service. If you are interested in learning more, please contact

Hard at work. Photos by Katey Robinson
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