Friday, April 27, 2012
Laura Collier founded Oakland University's first international community service organization. On eve of graduation, she says college students' passion for helping others is 'incalculable.'
When Laura Collier graduates from Oakland University on Saturday, she will be one in a crowd of thousands. But what the 21-year-old Rochester resident has accomplished during her college career makes her stand out as an individual. Two years ago, Collier started the university's first international community service organization. Called Global Medical Brigades, the group aims to deliver basic health care to rural, impoverished areas of the world. She's had the vision since she was a little girl and with the help of the OU community, that dream became an altruistic reality. In December, Collier and 33 other OU students traveled to rural Honduras on their first official medical mission. Global Medical Brigades at OU is a chapter of Global …
Friday, February 24, 2012
Adams High School sophomore Nathan Hamood runs the downtown coffee shop and knows
all about quality java.
While the Friends' Central Perk had the white-haired, Rachel-swooning Gunther as its resident coffee expert, downtown Rochester has something better. Meet Nathan Hamood. He's the head roaster and "Director of Quality Control" at The Dessert Oasis. He's also 16 years old. Every day after school, and all day when school's not in session, you'll find Hamood at The Dessert Oasis, doing what he loves best, which he says is "basically anything to do with coffee." When Hamood's parents first opened The Dessert Oasis nearly three years ago Hamood thought it was "a cool thing," and although he drank coffee — usually from Caribou — he didn't know much about it. "I started researching coffee when we opened," Hamood said. "It was a surprise even to …
Sunday, February 12, 2012
The Rochester grandma is working, one semester at a time, toward a master's degree in social work to be a voice for victims of verbal abuse.
Alice Carleton is a dancer, a singer and a poet. She is a 65-year-old mom and a grandma who is known for her smile, creativity and courage. She is also a college freshman. Carleton, who has lived in downtown Rochester for 35 years, is working slowly but certainly toward a master's degree in social work from Oakland University. She is enrolled in her seventh class — she takes one each semester — and is on pace to earn her bachelor's degree and apply for the master's program at age 70. There are 3,144 freshman enrolled at OU; Carleton is the only one older than 55. But the statistics don't phase her. "Most people guess I'm at least 15 years younger than I am," she said. "It's all about the attitude. I have always been told I was born …
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Michael Balian will start his trek up Mount Kilimanjaro on Feb. 20 and hopes to raise $5,000 for Lighthouse of Oakland County.
With skydiving, traveling Europe, getting his pilot’s license and scuba diving already under his belt, Lake Orion resident Michael Balian is well on his way to accomplishing yet another goal: to climb to the top of a mountain. Balian hasn’t set his sights on just any mountain. He is set to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the largest mountain in Africa, near the end of February. While working at achieving his own goal, he will be helping others as well by raising for money for Lighthouse of Oakland County. Lighthouse is a nonprofit organization based in Pontiac that helps raise funds for resources to help those in need of food, utility assistance, housing and more. “I’m looking forward to giving back to the community,” said Balian, a …
Monday, January 30, 2012
Oakland University's Amy Johnson runs Teacher's Pet, an animal-assisted therapy program.
Amy Johnson believes in the healing power of animals. She is also allergic to dogs. This paradox explains almost everything about Johnson, an Oakland University teacher who runs Teacher's Pet, a nonprofit program that pairs at-risk youth with hard-to adopt shelter dogs. The animal therapy programs are her life. Not only has she developed an Animal Assisted Therapy Certificate program at OU, but she also teaches an Honors College class at the university called The Human Animal Bond, in which students earn their science credit and learn about why humans and animals connect and how that connection is built upon in animal-assisted therapy. Johnson is the administration project manager for OU’s School of Nursing; most of her animal therapy …
Friday, January 27, 2012
Mezza Grille wants to pass it forward to residents in need with Mezza-Ami program.
"It has to start somewhere, right?" Louann Saleh, owner of Mezza Grille in Rochester Hills, connects with her customers. She listens to their stories; she knows what's going on in their lives. And when she hears about the rough times, she realizes that some people might need help — help that she can give. "I understand," Saleh said. "I've been through milestones, good and bad. One person can't do it all, but someone can start it." And so Saleh, along with her her husband, Sam, started Mezza-Ami. "Ami means 'friend' and we consider ourselves everyone's friends. We're here for them and we want to give back to the community," Saleh said. After a tragic loss in her family, Saleh realized the importance of giving to those struggling, grieving…
Friday, December 9, 2011
Have you seen 'Our Dancing Lights?' This year, you can show your love for the show by supporting The Rainbow Connection of Rochester.
A front yard holiday lights display that includes 43,772 lights is impressive in itself. But when those lights are choreographed to music? Well, that's worth planning your date night around. Brent Waldrep, who lives just over the border of Rochester Hills on Paramount Lane in Auburn Hills, guesses that between 100 and 200 cars full of spectators have viewed his holiday lights display so far this season. As Christmas nears, that number will be closer to 400-500 cars a night, he estimates. It's become a local destination to see the display he calls "Our Dancing Lights." "Saturday night we had a couple limosines come by," Waldrep said. "I have a friend who included it in her date night. "Just like people go to downtown Rochester to look at …
Monday, November 14, 2011
Empty Bowls event at downtown's Firebrick Gallery will help put food on the table for those who are struggling in southeastern Michigan.
- VOLUNTEERS IN THE NEWS
- Laura Cassar
Monday, November 14, 2011
There are empty bowls and empty stomachs all over southeastern Michigan this holiday season. But there is also one local business owner intent on using her artistic talents and studio to fill both. Christine Laikind, owner of Firebrick Gallery and Pottery Studio is hosting the Second Annual Empty Bowl Fundraiser from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday. Proceeds will benefit God's Helping Hands of Michigan. For Laikind, it's a way to give back. And it's personal. "They helped me when my daughter was 15 months old," Laikind said. "I wasn't working, my husband was, but it wasn't enough. God's Helping Hands helped feed us, so I understand what people go through." Empty Bowls is an international grassroots movement designed to stop hunger. For the Firebrick …
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
They are our mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmas, husbands, uncles, friends and neighbors — and they all fought breast cancer. These brave Michigan men and women shared their stories with Patch.
We went looking for faces of survival. We found inspiration. Patch asked Michigan women and men who have fought breast cancer to share their struggles, tears and triumphs with us during October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer survivor Cynde Lebert, 59, of Canton, tells newly diagnosed women: “You'll be fine. You're alive and that's the most important thing.” Farmington Hills resident Dick Jaeger, 70, is one of the approximately 2,140 men diagnosed each year with breast cancer. "The answer is know your body and don't take anything for granted," Jaeger said. "Every day, I'm a cancer survivor," said Jean Bean, a 58-year-old mom, wife and interior designer from Rochester. "I don't obsess about it, but it's always there." Nancy …
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Former Rochester teacher and grandpa is one of four runners to have finished every Detroit marathon — and he's not stopping any time soon.
Garry Watson was 35 years old and had never run more than 12 miles in his life when he and two teacher friends signed up to run the Detroit marathon. It was 1978, the marathon's first year. He admits he had no idea what he had gotten himself into. "A couple teachers I worked with said, 'We should sign up and do this,'" Watson recalled. "One of the other two guys never ran another marathon after that. The other guy ran only one more. "And, well, I just kept going." Watson, a longtime Rochester middle school teacher, is 68 years old and is one of four runners who have participated in all 34 Detroit marathons. He walked part of Sunday's marathon and finished in just more than six hours. Since that first long run in the late '70s, he has run a…