Maine students visit to bust blight in Detroit

- Close to 100 high school juniors gave their time and effort this week to bust blight in Detroit.

These students aren't from anywhere around here -- they took a bus from their hometown in Maine to spend the week volunteering.

"It's very difficult to capture what's going on in Detroit and other parts of the country just in the classroom," said student Martha Thompson. "I think it really matters to go out into the actual community."

It was a valuable experience for juniors from Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine who spent five days volunteering in Detroit.

On Tuesday, they worked to clear a vacant field on the city's east side, hoping to leave a small imprint on a big city 800 miles from home.

"Getting out of Maine, and just going to a whole different place and seeing what's really happening in the world and actually experience it is just a whole different story," said student Abdullah Kallayaf.

This journey is part of an annual project for Casco Bay juniors.

Previous classes helped clean up after Hurricane Sandy, and they've also been to West Virginia.

This is their second year in Detroit.

"The whole key is that we're helping but in fact it's much more about us as volunteers and students," said academic advisor Kevin Murray.

The school is working with the local non-profit Recovery Park, which focuses on clearing vacant property in Detroit and revitalizing neighborhoods.

"We're really lucky to have them here. They've done a good job so far. I think that's kind of the beginning of seeing the city turn around and seeing people come in who care about it," said Alex Mayl, a community engagement specialist with Recovery Park.

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