This Friday and Saturday, February 10th and 11th, my LAS cohort and I are traveling to Detroit. We plan on volunteering at the (JRLA) Jalen Rose Leadership Academy on Friday and Cass Community Center on Saturday morning.
I live not too far from Detroit; so going downtown, eating out, and going to Tiger’s games with family and friends has been a part of my life for a long time. Hearing about so many negatives about Detroit has really inspired me to seek and find the real good it has to offer so I am beyond excited for this trip.
The one issue that is discussed repeatedly when you hear and think of Detroit is its school system. It’s so sad having to hear how poorly run these schools truly are. Last year, not one public school in Detroit compiled with the cities health and safety codes according to time.com. From the cracked windows and mold found in classrooms, this only unmotivates students to attend school. The atmosphere you are surrounded in can either bring you up or tear you down, and for these students in Detroit, it’s usually down. The leaders in these schools also make an impact. My mother, has been a leader in a school district very similar, River Rouge, for over 30 years and I have learned about the situations she has to deal with and move forward with everyday. From all the first hand stories I have heard, these students need more leadership incorporated in their lives. From role models and support systems, these students need this. It is very hard for teachers having an average class size in the mid 40’s. It’s hard for teachers like my mom to get her lecture across, it is hard for the students who want to learn, but are distracted, and it is also hard for the students being surrounded in the bad school and environment they are in to want to learn when pressure is high. Change has been happening and it only needs to grow further.
This trip I am about to make with my cohort correlated to what we strive for in the Leadership Institute. Our vision and purpose is to learn about this city and its issues. We want to get involved in our city and contribute in any way possible.We want to show others the importance of leadership. I am very excited to be working with the students at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and helping them discover what they are passionate about while having a good time. I’m excited to learn more about the city, and discover all that it has to offer and see all the potential it has for the future.
I really believe that this trip to Detroit will help me grow as an individual. I have been blessed my whole life to never have to worry or struggle. I have been fortunate enough for the Catholic education I have received and I am only hoping to learn things from these students. I went to Cass Community Center my senior year of high school and volunteered by making floor matts out of tire. Something so small and so little can truly make a difference in the world. People coming together for the good of others and the community really fits with my “why” statement. I am excited to see so much passion and potential this weekend, seeing how much people care and want to make a difference in the city of Detroit.