Community partnership brings color to a Detroit neighborhood

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DTE Energy’s Substations and Logistics teams found a unique way to give back to their communities this Month of Caring – by bringing art into the up-and-coming Milwaukee Junction neighborhood of Detroit.

The DTE team partnered with Summer in the City – a local non-profit that recruits youth volunteers to help address the needs of Detroit neighborhoods – to cover more than 4,500 sq. feet of brick wall with a large and colorful mural at our substation located at the corners of Milwaukee and Beaubian.

The DTE Care Force volunteers and the Summer in the City youth volunteers recruited from across Metro Detroit, spent multiple days together until the project was complete.

“I really, really enjoyed doing this and I especially loved how dedicated the kids were,” said Tara English, contract administrator, Substations. “They didn’t really sit down or take too many breaks. I was impressed by their dedication and passion for the project.”

Summer in the City and DTE agreed that they wanted the mural to represent the rich history of the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood where the substation is located.

The design captures the area’s automotive roots and historical dependence on the railroad system. It features intersecting train tracks, along with various automotive pieces, silhouettes of neighbors and large, bold letters that let you know exactly what neighborhood you are in.

Matt Balcer, art director at ad agency Leo Burnett, created the design, and the agency donated it to Summer in the City and DTE Energy. Balcer, a Detroit native, said he had always admired the murals across the city and is thrilled to have a design in an up-and-coming part of town.

The Milwaukee Junction mural took several days to complete and tons of volunteers – including DTE’s Care Force, Summer in the City youth volunteers, Leo Burnett Detroit, The Neighborhood Group and Friends of Milwaukee Junction.

“Our team was really excited at the opportunity to participate in the event and work with the various organizations,” said Kevin Tomaszewski, manager of Logistics. “It took the hard work of many different groups both within DTE and outside of DTE. We really appreciate everyone coming together to do something good for the city.”

DTE Energy is proud to have partnered with so many organizations to make a positive impact on a community where we live and serve. We plan to make even more impressions across our service territory this month through our Month of Caring efforts.

Employees from all over the state will be working with organizations, doing anything from building homes, helping at soup kitchens, cleaning up blighted neighborhoods or painting walls to bring art back into the communities.

With more than 100 events planned around Michigan this month, and at least 1,000 volunteers putting on their red shirts – you’re bound to see how DTE gives back and helps to make a lasting difference in your community.

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