The LAS in the D trip was truly something I will never forget. So much growth was achieved while we were in the 313. I was very intrigued and challenged while we were down there. I got more out of the trip than I expected. I had fairly high hopes but it was a lot different from what I expected.
We started at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. I was most excited for the part of the trip. We had some technical difficulties so we were a bit late so the beginning was kinda awkward. The students at JRLA seemed less than thrilled to be there but as soon as we started playing ice-breakers and creating chants they complete changed. You could hear the sound of laughter rising and it made my heart happy. Throughout the day we rotated to different service based activities. We did projects to benefit Children’s Hospital, OK2SAY, Special Olympics, and Veterans. For the students to graduate they must have a certain number of hours of community service per year. This was a fun, new way for them to get a lot of hours and they really enjoyed it. I loved meeting the students. They have so much potential and are just like us with their hunger to succeed. I really wish I could watch them become great leaders in today’s society. I hope the scholars I worked with learned half as much from me as I did from them.
Friday evening we got to experience Downtown Detroit. It is a pretty familiar area to me since I live a few cities away. I still gained a lot from the experience. For some odd reason, I never went to the DIA and it was truly amazing. The first room I went into took my breath away. I love the arts and that brought tears to my eyes. It was just so inspiring to me. These artists created these master pieces hundreds of years ago and they still make people think today.
The Outdoor Adventure Center, where we slept for the night, was so much fun! We were so lucky that we got to stay there. I was really taken back by how old the building was. The history of the building and area were very interesting to me. The whole place is like taking a piece of the forest and sticking it in Downtown Detroit. The amount of work that Mrs.Walters has put into the center is so great and I am very grateful for what she did for us. While we were there, my group had a really great debriefing session about the trip thus far. We all talked about how the scholars at the JRLA inspired us. We all had our ups and downs for the day but we all agreed that we learned so much about ourselves, others, and Detroit.
Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early to head to CASS community services. I was really unsure what to expect. I started my service for the organization at the soup kitchen. It was definitely different than anything I had ever done. Some of the things that were said to us were inappropriate but I just tried to remember what we were there for and keep a positive attitude. We cleaned the dining area, organized the pantry, and helped prepare food for the people living there. After that, we headed to help make the tire mats. This is was so cool! I was so intrigued by how passion some of the people working there were. They were so proud of their work so they accepted nothing but great. Some moments were frustrating but when Jordyn and I finally finished our mat I was so proud.
I learned so much from this trip about myself, serving others, and relationships. I personally grew a lot from the experience. I also realized that service is always comfortable or easy. Sometimes you have to put your feelings aside to make the lives of other better and I fully intend on doing that when deciding where and when to volunteer from now on. I grew closer with a handful of people in my cohort while on this trip. I am continuously amazed by some of the people I am surrounded with. I am so grateful for the trip and the things I experienced while I was in Detroit.