It Takes a Village of Volunteers

Published on May 15, 2024 in

The best part about volunteering is choosing a cause that speaks to your heart and the hearts of other like-minded individuals. The colloquial phrase, “it takes a village” couldn’t be truer during April’s Global Volunteer Month as we focus on the power of motivated individuals to make a difference across Southeast Michigan.

Members of our Volunteer Honor Roll are using their time and talent to better their communities and build a brighter future. Three standout volunteers, Heather Storey, Chinmay Sujith Nair and Faye Taylor are supporting and empowering youth in remarkable ways.

Women United committee member, Heather, aligns heavily with the affinity group’s dedication to childcare and education.

“Childcare is a big deal— my husband and I are both engineers. When our children were young and were sick, it was always a battle of who’s going to work today and who’s staying home,” said Heather. “If we hadn’t had a quality childcare which provided preschool, we would not have been able to further our careers and give our children a quality head start.”

“As a working mother, I feel all parents should have access to quality childcare and early education for their children.”

Through literacy tutoring, mentoring, handing out food, and conducting book and backpack drives, Heather has been instrumental in helping the next generation. While mentoring at Center for Success Network, Heather found out that the 8-year-old child that she was mentoring didn’t have books of their own and immediately worked with a coordinator to make sure the child had books.

“Their mom picked up the books and honestly, once the child had their own books that they wanted to read, it was a total turnaround,” said Heather. “At the end of the year, the child was asked , ‘What was the biggest thing that helped?’ And the game changer for them was getting their own books.”

“Over the years, I have realized that mentoring even a small amount of time can make a big impact on the mentee.”

Some rockstar volunteers are helping youth while still being part of the youth demographic. Chinmay is a high school sophomore who has brought robotics and reading motivation to elementary school students and his peers. He has also worked with the Michigan Youth Volunteering Alliance (MYVA) to help those in need and clean up the community.

“My favorite group to volunteer with is children, definitely children,” said Chinmay. “Whenever I’m at the robotics events, they are always so excited, and it just puts a smile on my face.”

Chinmay’s work with First Robotics has helped introduce students to STEM in a captivating way. He is also involved in a program called Be the Star You Are, which encourages reading through book reviews.

“Ultimately what we are trying to do is encourage more and more children to pick up reading,” said Chinmay. “It’s about fostering the next generation because eventually they will be the world’s leaders and we have to make sure that they are well prepared.”

Both the future and the past drive Chinmay to devote his time and energy to community work.

“For me, it’s also about how my family moved from India to here,” said Chinmay. “We’ve had many amenities that came from living in the United States, so I want to give back to my community.”

It’s about fostering the next generation because eventually they will be the world’s leaders and we have to make sure that they are well prepared.” – Chinmay Sujith Nair

Faye is another volunteer who has been an invaluable addition to the Konnection Kloset at Central High School. From Monday through Friday, 10am – 4pm, Faye ensures that every student who enters the Kloset has everything they need.

“I just love this work, we got all kind of things at school from clothes to supplies– a lot of times you get so close to kids, they just come and say hi and give you a hug,” said Faye. “Sometimes the kids want to talk about something going on with them at home and we’re like their grandmothers and mothers.”

“And they are just wonderful kids, I just love them— unfortunately, I never was ever blessed to have any children so I really enjoy this work.”

Since The Konnection established the Kloset in October 2022, Faye has consistently served, positively impacting the lives of over 300 Detroit youth and their families. Faye also initiated a crochet club every Thursday at Central High School, offering students an opportunity to learn the craft.

“This one student here at Central is a sweetheart, and he came in and saw me crocheting a blanket and said, ‘I want one!’” said Faye. “And I didn’t say anything to him, but sure enough, I started making him one with the school colors and his name on it.”

“He went nuts when I gave him that blanket, he went all over school showing everybody that blanket,” Faye continued. “And he was like, ‘She spelled my name right, too!’”

By providing their support and a listening ear, Faye, Chinmay and Heather are showcasing the difference-making power that lies in each of us.

Inspired to get involved? Visit to find the opportunity that’s right for you!