Community outreach and diversity and inclusion are key components of DTE Energy’s core values. They were intertwined this August as part of the company’s Human Resources’ Month of Caring festivities as their employees volunteered at several events this month including:

  • Shop-with a Cause At Capuchin Soup Kitchen – helping the underserved select healthy food options and better understand basic nutrition
  • Back to School Sale at Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit – serving as retail clerks and personal shoppers for those with disabilities and limited mobility as well as interacting with those of Hispanic and Arabic heritage
  • Keep Growing Detroit at Plum Market Garden – harvesting and planting crops in an urban community garden
  • Vacant lot transformation at Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI) – cleaning an urban lot that was overgrown and littered to prepare it to become a community space with a soccer field and playscape. This was done in collaboration with Michigan CAT, which supplied a backhoe to make the removal of heavy debris possible
  • Landscaping at Leader Dogs for the Blind – pulling weeds, removing fallen apples and other grounds improvements at the nonprofit’s Rochester Hills campus
Amal Berry, manager, Diversity & Inclusion, and lead for Human Resources’ Month of Caring efforts, seized an opportunity to enhance the traditional rewarding experience of a volunteer effort when the company allowed employees to choose their own activities.

“In developing this year’s program, I wanted to maximize the impact on our employees by giving them a chance to learn more about the diverse populations our company serves,” Berry said. “I believed our team members would have a more enriching experience by personally engaging with people.”

As August comes to a close, Berry believes these events accomplished her team’s objective of fostering inclusivity within our company while improving the lives of those we serve.

“Our employees were moved by the experiences they shared and it made our company highly visible,” she said. “To better understand the diverse communities in our neighborhoods, and to create an inclusive culture, our outreach to these populations is imperative. The more direct interaction we have with diverse communities, the more we are able to appreciate and understand their needs in order to better serve them.”

Christine Bell, executive director of UNI was touched by the support and care our employees demonstrated at the urban lot cleanup event. She said the preparation of the new neighborhood gathering space that the community hopes will soon provide a clean and safe recreational area for the 6,000 or so area children who live near the lot was a “labor-intensive task.”

“Transforming the lot was a significant undertaking because it was overgrown with trees, weeds, tall grass and debris from years of neglect,” Bell said. “The entire community was moved by the DTE volunteers’ efforts and we cannot thank them enough for their generosity and hard work.”

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