Detroit's Team 36 Proves "Everybody Can Be Great" Through Service

Nov 19, 2019
By Kelli Moore Owen, Court Administrator, 36th District Court

The 36th District Court established a Public Service Committee (PSC) in 2018 to make a positive impact in the community we serve, and to cultivate relationships among coworkers and members of the public while increasing social awareness and responsibility.  The PSC is comprised of court employees who are responsible for evaluating, recommending, scheduling, organizing, planning, and promoting public service and community outreach opportunities for the court to perform as a group within the city of Detroit.  
Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”  The motto of the PSC is “Proudly Serving Others.”  All volunteers receive a 36th District Court PSC t-shirt to display our unity and presence as “Team 36” in our community at all activities.     

We wanted to develop a program that showcased other positive aspects of our court and something that would also provide an opportunity for us to interact with the public in a more non-formal, non-traditional setting.  Creating a committee focused on community service and public outreach activities seemed like the right choice. 

Chief Judge Nancy M. Blount said, “We have received so much positive feedback from the community, especially at the events.  It is very rewarding to give back to those less fortunate and make a positive impact in our city and those we serve.” 

Committee Chair Wright Wade added, “The Committee has so many great ideas and there is such a significant need in our community.  It can be difficult to choose how and where we can make the biggest difference.  However, most importantly, we are confident that no matter the cause we choose, we are making a difference . . . one good deed and one helping hand at a time.”

Employee involvement is key to PSC’s success.  The PSC members, volunteers, judges and magistrates give up their valuable free time for the events, which are usually held on the weekends.   However, we have learned through the success of the PSC that Team 36 is always ready, willing and able to serve others. 

Encouraging our volunteers to invite their friends and family members has added to PSC’s success.  It allows those participating to spend quality time together while serving others.  Many of our volunteers bring their children to expose them to the gratification of public service.

The only cost to our court was providing PSC t-shirts to volunteers.  Other courts that want to implement this or a similar program but may not have the funds to provide shirts could request reduced bulk pricing from local vendors within their community for direct purchase by the volunteers. 

Since the creation of PSC, we have sponsored or co-sponsored more than ten events, including: two Motor City Makeovers, Sista Strut, Focus Hope, several services at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Hug Detroit Day, and the upcoming Out of the Darkness Metro Detroit Walk in September and second Sista Strut in October.
Team 36 volunteering at Motor City Makeover

Team 36 volunteering at Capuchin Soup Kitchen

Most recently, the court collected, donated, and delivered 180 backpacks filled with school supplies to local community outreach facilities that regularly provide shelter and assistance to mothers with school-aged children.
2018 Hug Detroit Day - 36th District Court staff collected and distributed more than 180 backpacks filled with
school supplies. The court received "Spirit" awards for its overall improvements in efficiency and accessibility,
and providing better overall service to the public, as well as for the Drug and Veterans Treatment Courts, Street Outreach Court, Eviction Diversion Program, and for raising awareness of the needs of the community through
the Public Service Committee.
Wright Wade, Committee Chair, coordinated the event and received the following thank-you letter:

“I would like to thank you, the judges at 36th District Court and the staff that helped make the donation of back packs and school supplies possible.  On behalf of the children and families at our shelter and substance abuse treatment program we sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness and wanting to make sure the children have the needed school supplies to start the school year off successfully.  As you know, the population we serve are transient and low to no income and struggle with basic needs.  Your donation has given the parents of school age children one less thing to worry about.

When our clients sometimes struggle to see kindness and love in the midst of their crisis, it's partnerships like yours that makes them know that they are thought about in the hearts and minds of others. Thank you again.”

Kyra Fisher, MSW
Site Administrator
The Salvation Army - Eastern Michigan Harbor Light System
3737 Lawton Street, Detroit, MI  48208

Receiving the heartfelt thanks from our neighborhood partners and those we serve validates the importance of the PSC and our local outreach efforts.  We are very proud of Team 36 and the tangible benefits our activities have made in our community.

Kelli Moore Owen is the Court Administrator of the 36th District Court in Detroit, the largest urban district court in the state of Michigan.  She is a graduate of University of Detroit Mercy and has worked in the Michigan court systems for more than 30 years.  Her career began at Recorder’s Court and then the Wayne County Circuit Court as the deputy court administrator.  While remaining in her role at Wayne County Circuit Court, she was recruited by the special judicial administrator to assist in the restructuring of the 36th District Court and was ultimately appointed as its court administrator by the chief judge.