In only the few short days that we were there, the weekend service trip to Detroit with the Leader Advancement Scholar Cohort was one of the most unforgettable trips of my life. I have never experienced so many eye opening, aha moments that are hard to describe through these words. These two days of the trip were jam packed with learning, service, and experiences that helped us grow as leaders.
On Friday February 10th, 2017 our cohort packed our bags and headed on a bus from Mt. Pleasant to Detroit. Our first stop was heading to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. I did not know what to expect at first but we had facilitator training the week of to prepare us on what to do and expect. We were all anxious but excited at the same to pile out of the bus and head into the school filled with excitement. Once we arrived, we headed into their gymnasium all fired up and then were broken into groups that we were assigned to. We were all so excited and you could feel the energy in the room from all our us since we were so ready to welcome the students for the day. After they came in, it was so eye opening to see how polite and friendly each student was to us.
We started off with ice breakers that we were familiar with since we have done them plenty of times to get the energy up in the room. It was so fascinating seeing these activities as a viewpoint of a facilitator rather than a participant. We then broke off the students in our groups and ran them through some team building activities. This was when I discovered more of my leadership styles shining through. I was able to connect with the students to learn about their goals and aspirations and this part of the trip bettered my skills as a facilitator.
Our next stop on our trip was to the Quicken Loans buildings located in Campus Martius for dinner. Since I live about 30 minutes from Detroit, one of my favorite spots to go to in Detroit is Campus Martius and I was so excited to back in one of the places I love most. We ate dinner and listened to a presentation from the employees that worked there. It was very inspiring to see the passion every single worker there had when we asked them what their purpose was on why they worked at Quicken Loans. They were so comforting and friendly and that they told us no matter what major you are, they have a place for you. We were able to go on a tour after dinner in small groups around their building and also in the One Campus Martius Building. I loved seeing that their floors are not like your typical office areas. They were each filled with color, creativity, and had an relaxed atmosphere.
After our tour at the Quicken Loans Building, we still had two stops left that day. We headed to the Detroit Institute of Arts or the DIA. Returning to this place for me was very bittersweet for me. The last time I visited the DIA was with my father who is no longer with us. My time at the DIA was when I decided to reflect on everything that happened that day. I loved exploring each room and floor with each piece of art had a story behind it. I wanted to learn about each marvelous piece that I drew myself to. If we had more time in the DIA, I would spend all day there.
Our last stop for the night was the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center where we were fortunate enough to stay the night at. This was the time we all got together to debrief and reflect on all our festivities and to we did for the day. I enjoyed this time with my small group to reflect and learn from each other’s passions and experiences they had for the day. This was when I felt so bonded with every since LAS member and we all came together which brought everyone so much closer.
The next morning, we woke up bright and early to pack our things up and headed to Cass Community Social Services. This is a place where they employ the homeless to better the community around them. Once we got there, we learned a little bit about the background and what they do there. We were then split up into groups that were assigned to different tasks. My group was to create mud mats out of illegally dumped tires. This way by far one of the coolest and yet rewarding parts of my time during the trip. The employees told us that not only do they make mats, but flip flops as well. This was hard work but it was such a rewarding feeling when Rose and I completed our mats that were going for a good cause.
The trip to Detroit was exhausting yet eye opening about the way I viewed Detroit as. Seeing the passion throughout the whole city made me realize that no matter the way life can be or seen as, that there is always the side that no one usually sees that shines through. Seeing the beauty of Detroit improving, inspires me to go back and volunteer more often in the city. This place will always have a place in my heart and I can’t wait to spend more time in Detroit serving and learning more than I did not know about.
I really learned so much about myself after this trip. I am fortunate to have the life I am blessed with, and so I am inspired to take time to serve from the heart for the less fortunate. I gained a new perspective on life and the way everyday should be taken with passion and determination to find your purpose to better yourself as a leader in every way. Lead everyday with a purpose. The purpose of this trip was to show our leadership skills and knowledge through service to better the city and overcome our fears and struggles. I believe that everyone should have the chance in their life to go on this once in a lifetime trip.
Hours of Community Service: 10
(All Photos Posted: Credit to the Leadership Institute)