Leadership Development · Leadership Training

Mentor Reflection

A part of the Leader Advancement Scholarship protocol is that all sophomore LAS scholars have the amazing opportunity to become a mentor to a freshman LAS recipient. Going into my freshmen year, myself along with everyone in my cohort got a mentor. The purpose of mentors is to have someone as a resource, friend, and just someone to be there to answer questions, give advice, and to learn from one another at our first of four years or more at Central Michigan University. Given the opportunity to be a mentor is special, and I cannot express my excitement to be given the chance to mentor someone just like my own Mentor and G, mentored me throughout my freshman year.

My mentor, Marissa, had a clever idea to reveal herself to me with pizza. The big reveal was such a fun experience and it is so crazy to think that now it’s my turn to reveal myself to my mentee.

In our LDR 200L class, we went over an activity on how to be a good mentor and what ideas we had to bring to the table when we get our own mentees. We divided up in groups and were asked to write down our top10 things we wish we knew before coming to college or specifically Central Michigan. We all talked about what we wish we knew and it was fun but very good points were made. Then we talked about what kind of mentor we wanted to be for our mentees. Most of us wanted the same things, for example, being a friend, a shoulder to cry on, watching them grow, and just having someone to answer questions and being there. I realized that it is now my turn to step up and be a great role model/example for my mentee, while getting to know him/her and watch them grow and lead in their first year of college.

This workshop gave me so many ideas how to make my mentees first year one of their best. I want to be a good friend to my mentee and making sure that they have all the tools they need to succeed their freshman year. I will be reliable, and whenever they ask for advice, help, or just for anything in general, I will be their “go to” person. I want my mentee to realize that they got chosen to be a part of the Leadership Institute for a reason, and they are truly special. I want to have good conversations, being able to connect on a personal level, discovering what they are passionate about and how I can help them achieve there goals.

I’m determined to be the best mentor I can be. I want my mentee to know that they have the rest of my cohort as mentor’s as well. The whole Leadership Institute staff truly cares and are all mentors to the freshman. I am beyond excited for this mentorship program to finally start and can’t wait to see how unique and wonderful my mentee is.

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Community · Leadership Development · Leadership Education · Leadership Training

LAS in the D Reflection

On February 10, 2017,  there were about 70 members of the Leadership Institute who all went to the city of Detroit. This trip was a requirement for my scholarship, but I know and saw the excitement on everyone’s faces attending this trip. Lives were impacted in ways that are indescribable and it was a trip that I will never forget.

We started off our weekend at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy where myself along with other LAS members led the students in Leadership initiative activities. I feel as if I took so much away from these students. They were so willing to participate and open up to stepping out of their comfort zones. With the few Leadership initiatives we got through 100%, I couldn’t help but recognize the excitement that was within each individual student. These students after talking with some, mentioned that they volunteered to stay after school to learn more about leadership. This was not required for any Jalen Rose student. As we went through the activities, they took time. The students gave full effort with only positivity filling the room. Even when the challenges were difficult, they never gave up and knew that working together and bringing each other up would be the best motivation to accomplish the tasks.

I had the opportunity to talk with some of the students in my group after our time was up at the high school. One student asked, “How do you define leadership?”. This made me so happy that the students, actually care about leadership and know that it is important. I responded to her and said that there is not just one leadership style. Everyone interprets leadership from different points of view. Some people like to talk while others like to sit back, watch, and evaluate. For myself personally, I told her to discover her “why”. Even though I recently just discovered mine, it makes it so much easier for me to explain what I think leadership is all about and what my purpose related to leadership is and why I do what I do. My “why” statement, “Inspire others to work together and strive for greatness, to maximize full potential” really went into play within the short few hours we were at Jalen Rose. I watched myself inspire students to work as a team and being positive the whole time, having them reach for their goals. The students accomplished that and reached the full potential. I felt as if I made an impact and I can’t wait for the many more opportunities for myself to help others reach their full potential.

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Next, after working with the students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, we made our way towards downtown Detroit to have dinner at Quicken Loans. Driving downtown Detroit was nothing new to me. Growing up in the metro-Detroit area makes Detroit a city that isn’t too “new” for me, but what was new, was my reaction to downtown. The buildings are newer and taken care of for the most part. The new companies, businesses, and restaurants are trying to change the stigma that Detroit has. It is a city in progress but I believe places like Quicken Loans are building up the city. When we arrived at Quicken Loans we were taken to a new, modern styled conference room where they served us dinner and left us with tons of gifts. It was really nice having a CMU alumni, who was a recruiter at Quicken Loans, gave us a presentation on the many internships they offer as well as how great the opportunities they have are. Then, the Vice President of Quicken was took over the presentation, demonstrating why he decided to work for Quicken Loans by not just explaining what the daily job is. This was honestly touching. I got the “chills” after he spoke. Listening to how passionate about what he and his company were doing for Detroit was very moving and powerful. They are not just a mortgage company that I originally thought they were, they are helping Detroit move forward for the better.

After learning about the company, they took us on tours around their outstanding facilities. All of the buildings and offices so out of the ordinary and makes their company so unique. The values of Quicken Loans is focused around their “ISMS” or ideals of a genuine workplace. Just walking around their workplace, you can inquire that this company cares for its employees, customers, interns, or whoever even steps foot in their building.

After our time spent at Quicken Loans, my cohort and I attended the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts). It was so amazing, especially from living close, I still have never been. For my first time ever, I felt connected to certain pieces of art. My favorite part there was looking at all the paintings. I never had an appreciation for art until after I left the DIA. The meanings and emotions behind every piece of art was incredible.

After the DIA, our cohort stopped for the night at the DNR’s Outdoor Adventure Center on Detroit’s Riverfront. The purpose of the center is to bring the outdoors to Detroit in a fun, learning manner along with new development for people who sow interests in a career with environmental sciences or other related fields. We also had the opportunity to huddle up with our small groups, debrief the day in general and talk about our passions and goals for our lives. I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned new things about myself that I plan on bringing to the table everyday of my life. I learned how others view me as a person and some of my fellow cohort members touched my heart, describing what an incredible person/leader that they believe I am. I became connected with people I haven’t gotten the opportunity to bond with much and I feel like I understand others better now, especially learning more about each others personal lives.

On the last day of our service trip, we attended the Cass Community Center. Cass does so much to help out the Detroit community; whether it be donating food or clothes, or hiring people who would be out on the streets without a job, they are truly making a difference. At the Cass Community Center, there were four groups of volunteers. There were the paper shredders, the kitchen staff, the floor mat makers, and the food/clothing organizers. It was really cool because my senior year in high school, I had the opportunity to be a matt maker. They used recycled tires throughout Detroit to create neat mats of all different colors, along with flip-flop sandals and key chains out of tire as well. This time was different. I helped organize the clothing donated to Cass. It was eye-opening because I always have donated clothes from home to Purple Heart, or other places that take donations, but I realized now why I did that and how I am helping. So many people are homeless or can’t afford food or clothing and just by getting rid of stuff I can’t use anymore to help someone in need is inspiring and up-lifting.

Overall this trip was one I will never forget. I learned more about myself and others, and I learned how I am actually incorporating my “why” statement into my everyday life . I know that after my cohort left this trip, we all felt as if one person can change Detroit, but it will take much time and effort, but so far, Detroit is coming a long way. I believe in this city and I am proud of what myself and my cohort did over this weekend. I know now for my future leadership stance, I am going to work hard, dedicate myself to my goals, understand and work with difficulties to maximize my full potential in the rest of my college years.

Community · Leadership Development · Leadership Education

Pre-Detroit Service Trip

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.