DETROIT -

"They're very talented and I want to thank the schools for however they recruited these kids. They have what I call grit," said former General Motors executive Mike DiGiovanni.

He is talking about a group of more than 100 students from 11 schools in the Detroit area. These are kids that come from all walks of life with a drive to make a difference.

These students were hired as full-time employees this summer with one job: to make their community better. They were matched with 60 GM retirees and 11 GM student interns from the University of Detroit Mercy. They not only beautified blighted parks, they bridged generational and socio-economic gaps.

"These kids have done such an amazing job and have taught us just as much. Current employees and retirees -- what it means to be involved, engaged in the community and have the passion to make a change," said Heidi Magyar, of General Motors.

The Veterans Memorial Park in Hamtramck was one of eight projects. Tennis courts were mended, swing sets repaired and graffiti turned into a mural of art. The 10-week program ends Wednesday and the results are major: 425 trees planted, 392 yards of mulch, 223 gallons of paint, and 29 dumpsters of trash.

The takeaway: a more livable community and a GM internship that these students can now add to their resume.