Wow, it’s amazing how someone like myself who has been to Detroit countless of times but yet never realize what is actually going on. During this trip we took a group of around 50 students to Detroit and learned about the history and their active action plan that so many people are working so hard towards. We visited multiple locations while we were there. First J.R.L.A, we headed to a high school leadership academy and it was a very cool experience to see these student being taught and raised on the foundation of leadership. We were fortunate enough facilitate different discussions and challenges. This allowed us to leave a small impression and hopefully teach new lessons to these amazing students. Then it was off to Quicken Loans, there we stopped and first off had some amazing deep dish style pizza. After that we began to discuss why we were there. It was really an eyeopening experience to be able to see the what might be minor in the big picture, yet huge steps in process this company has brought to the Detroit community. Later that night we headed to Detroit Institute of Arts and were granted time to explore and engage in different art pieces. I loved that aspect of the trip because it allowed everyone to get something out of the journey because just about every student there found something of meaning.Finally we ended the night at the Outdoor Adventure Center, there we learned about the organizations rise and how they came to be. Also we were given a good amount of play time on the facilities until it was time to wind down and debrief on the events that day. The next day we woke up, rather early, and headed to Cass Community Social Services. There we were split into teams and were faced with some large tasks that seemed to be a little much that early in the morning. But at the end of the day it was an surreal feeling, knowing how much we helped the regular volunteers there and how much of an impact can be made in such a short amount of time.
This trip was overall a learning experience, throughout the days it might have felt like why are we sitting at in a big company building eating pizza, I thought this was a service event? But what finally hit me was that being there was the service in itself but more a ripple effect. This visit allowed us to see that it all starts somewhere. Now Quicken Loans isn’t the only cause of change in Detroit but it showed me there are different ways to help a city rather than just cleaning it up. Actually realizing it takes a lot more than just cleaning up the city.
Throughout all of our stops there was a reoccurring events. Everyone there was always so passionate of what they were doing. They might not of had all of the of the resources necessary but it showed how connected and passionate they were about their goals. That was a big lesson to me, teaching me that no matter the size of the goal if you surround yourself with the right people with a similar goal big changes can happen. Luckily I have exactly this with my LAS cohort.
Looking forward from this experience it has definitely opened up new doors. Allowing me develop as a leader. Going to these different places offered a different leadership style each time, everyone was there to help better the city and the people around them. Seeing this company and seeing Cass was something I had never really witnessed and it gives me the experience to broaden my knowledge on leadership. While at J.R.L.A this especially helped because I was finally given time to facilitate and work with students and see how my development in leadership has come. Getting this opportunity was what stepping out of my comfort was designed to be. I realize now that I can show leadership through a series of activities, all while being an influence to people around my age. Going to Quicken Loans opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of change that can come from wanting to make a difference. Having a solid foundation for embarking in tall tasks, leading to a bigger overall picture of making a difference is how they’re going to thrive a city that had once lost its life. From this experience, I will begin to demonstrate how you can turn anything around with a credible focus of wanting to make a difference in the lives of others. Cass Community was an opportunity that I want to see flourish within other parts of the world. The unselfish demeanor they show and the overall care they have for the community is far beyond some of my capabilities, but this is because I haven’t experienced anything like it. However, I can see myself becoming unselfish like the volunteers at Cass to grow as a leader. This is a big part of what I took away from Cass because it instilled a passion to serve through leadership. I have to allow myself to be vulnerable and continue to show the appreciation I gained from serving.
Overall this trip, without a doubt, bettered me as far as leadership, more understanding of people, and more aware of the events that are going on right next to me. I learned a lot from the city and the people who care so much for it and I am excited to continue to excel my leadership skills and the people I affect.