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Getting Detroit kids to care about historic preservation in their neighborhood

The Vanity Ballroom in Jefferson-Chalmers


In an effort to foster a stronger sense of place in young people, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network is hosting the second phase of its Preservation Demonstration Project this Saturday, September 13 at 11 a.m. (rain date: Saturday, September 27). The event, 'My Neighborhood, My Heritage,' will teach the importance of the historic Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood's built and natural environments.

The interactive event is for 12- to 18-year-olds. Young people will be provided disposable cameras and will be encouraged to take photos of the neighborhood while being led on a walking tour. It's an opportunity for the preservation group to teach people the history of their neighborhood and demonstrate how that history affects the community today. It's an opportunity, too, for the group to learn from young people and hear how that built environment affects their lives on a day-to-day basis.

A third event, to be held in late October, will feature the photos taken and will be followed by an awards ceremony. Pop-ups, lectures, and presentations are also planned.

While preservation groups are often associated with opposing the demolition of historic buildings, events like 'My Neighborhood, My Heritage are ways for these groups to reach people before a building, block, or neighborhood is even at risk. It's a long-term plan that can change how people view preservation, demolition, and development in general.

"We hope that this exploration and discussion of shared heritage through the eyes of young people will help inform and influence contemporary community decision-making," MHPN Executive Director Nancy Finegood says in a statement.

The event is free but preregistration is required. Morning refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Register at Hope Community Outreach and Development or email info@mhpn.org.

Update: The 'My Neighborhood, My Heritage' event will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 13, an hour later than originally scheduled.

Source: Michigan Historic Preservation Network press release
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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