Program helps Detroit teens give back to the community

Lawn Academy started by Eric Miller as nonprofit

By Jermont Terry - Reporter, Sierra Pedraja - Editor

DETROIT - When Eric Miller moved to Detroit, he was disturbed by the lack of opportunities available for young black teenagers.

The concern sparked an idea, and that idea turned into a great opportunity for young men who need a little encouragement in their life.

Lawn Academy was started by Miller as a nonprofit with a goal of helping boys aged 11 to 18 years old who set out to take care of the lawns of veterans, seniors and the disabled for no cost.

Miller teaches the teens the basics of lawn care and community involvement, with the end goal of having all the teens in college.

Wayne County Community College and Lawn Academy are working together to get the hard-working teens into classrooms where they can get college credit for completing courses even though they haven’t graduated high school yet.

Miller isn't only a guide to these teens, but a role model.

"Mr. Miller is like a father figure to me," said 14-year-old Omar Horsley, who is spending his summer on 8 Mile and Wyoming roads cutting weeds for those in need.

Miller's 18-year-old son is also a part of the program and said he appreciates the bonding time with his father, but more so the great opportunity his father has created for many teens like him.

"It's just a great way to spend your time helping others while also receiving a little bit of income," said Eric Miller Jr. "This proves that young black men actually do have hearts and actually do work and are motivated to do things."

But his father isn't looking for praise.

"We all have a responsibility. We have a responsibility and the responsibility goes well beyond 89 youths," said Miller.

Miller said he hopes to eventually expand the program to have more than 150 young men, but said he doesn't have enough equipment for that many participants.

Lawn Academy is funded solely through donations, and if you would like to help Miller and other teens taking part in the program visit their website here.

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