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Thankful for U-M’s Pay-It-Forward Community

The U-M students giving back this holiday season show how each of us has the power to inspire.
By Corie Pauling, ’93

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Read time: 2 minutes

As many of us prepare to gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, my hope is that the spirit of this season offers time and space to embrace those we love. At the same time, my heart is saddened by the countless acts of violence and loss of life confronted again in recent days and weeks, yet also encouraged by the generous pay-it-forward community of U-M alums and students.

Some examples include U-M running back Blake Corum using money earned through name, image, and likeness deals to donate 300 turkeys, green beans, apple sauce, milk, winter hats, and hand sanitizer to families in Superior Township and Ypsilanti, Michigan. Elsewhere, hundreds of U-M students stood in long lines in the freezing cold to make sure their voices were heard on Election Day. Among those was LEAD Scholar Yasine Baccouche, who volunteered and passed out pizza and warm beverages to those waiting in line. As news of the long waits spread, others in the Ann Arbor community donated hats, gloves, and blankets to keep the students warm. Yasine made sure the leftover clothes and water were donated to the Jimmy Hill “Purple” House, which provides food, clothing, showers, friendship, and guidance to the homeless community.

Blake and Yasine’s stories are just a small example of our Leaders and Best spirit. By giving back during this season of gratitude, they are showing that each of us has the power to inspire.

To all those who celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s use this time to reflect, connect, and lift each other up. I’m sharing this photo of my beloved family at my grandparents’ Thanksgiving gathering in 1978, thankful for this and so many family memories. What special ways are you giving thanks and making memories this week?

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