While the hot summer days of late June meant hours of video games or watching TV for many youth, Dearborn teen Husain Bazzi spent his time enlisting the generosity of the community and the help of his friends to make Dearborn’s Hemlock Park a better place for kids to play.
"I used to play at Hemlock's courts, and I realized that the condition was deteriorating," explained Bazzi.
Looking to earn his Eagle Scout badge through the Boy Scouts of America, the 17-year-old Fordson High School senior decided that he would make fixing up the courts his community service project. But it involved much more than just fundraising.
In addition to raising $800 to buy supplies to resurface and repaint the court, plus add new nets to the baskets, Bazzi and his friends did all the work themselves. They also cleared everything with the city of Dearborn, which entailed learning about the legal processes involved with such a project.
Bazzi said the city was “very helpful.”
"I can't thank them enough," he added.
The city was impressed with Bazzi, too.
“He pretty much did it all – from gathering supplies, purchasing the tar, purchasing stencils to paint the court,” said Michael Timiney, a supervisor with the Recreation and Parks Department who helped coordinate the project. “He had friends help him and they got the work done, and they stayed there afterward and monitored the courts to make sure kids weren’t getting on them.”
Timiney, who has worked with the City of Dearborn since the late ‘90s, said Bazzi’s was the first such project he has ever seen undertaken by a local youth.
“This is the first time a teen has stepped forward to make a difference to his park,” he said. “I was a little skeptical, but he was persistent and after everything I asked him to obtain, he did it.”
The city helped out by making sure Bazzi and his friends had access to water during the project, facilitating the project, and coordinating assistance to make sure that the courts were monitored as much as possible while the tar was still drying.
Timiney gives Bazzi credit for seeing the project through.
“He’s determined, that’s for sure,” Timiney said.
Bazzi said it was rewarding enough to know that local kids would have a safer, nicer court to play on.
“Kids stopped by and wanted to help out,” he said while midway through the project. “I’m glad it’s going to be benefitting them and that they’ll appreciate it.
“A lot of these kids–this is all they have.”