Foundation repurposes OCC Orchard Ridge desks in Detroit

A collection of desks headed for the trash have made their way from Farmington Hills to Detroit, with help from some local volunteers.

Marilyn Violet Foundation founder Melissa Jackson, a native Michigander now living in New York, enlisted help last month from the Lakes Area Rotary Club to move the desks from Oakland Community College (OCC) Orchard Ridge campus. They replaced dilapidated furniture at Marion Law Academy.

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Jackson has a personal connection with OCC; her mother, Pam, served on the college faculty and is a current trustee.

Oakland Community College Orchard Ridge Marilyn Violet Foundation
Lakes Area Rotary Club volunteers met at Oakland Community College Orchard Ridge in Farmington Hills last month to load up desks. (contributed)

“(OCC Chancellor) Peter (Provenzano) knows my organization, and he thought it would be a good partnership,” Jackson said.

The first delivery of 350 desks happened early last year at Burns Elementary School. The post-COVID 2021 event, Jackson said, seemed very different.

“It’s a lot more fun when the kids are around,” she added.

Oakland Community College Orchard Ridge Marilyn Violet Foundation
(contributed)

Jackson named the foundation after her quietly generous grandmother, who operated a business in Union Lake. The first Marilyn Violet project involved school supplies and packs of organic wellness items. A more recent effort, Story Lab, encourages kids to write and share their own stories.

Oakland Community College Orchard Ridge Marilyn Violet Foundation
(contributed)

“Every year, we add another project dealing with the most at risk population,” Jackson said. “I feel very privileged to be able to connect the dots. It’s a blessing. It’s a real blessing.”

Learn more about the foundation and how you can help at marilynvioletfoundation.org.

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