LAS in Detroit Post Trip

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Pack your Back

Yesterday, I was asked to help create a non-profit organization. We are called Pack your Back and we are committed to collecting school supplies for cities in crisis. The current water crisis in Flint has created the need for many things besides water. These families are extremely poor. The poverty rate is 42% compared to the national average of 14%. So not only are these people being deprived of water but the majority of them are below the poverty line.

School supplies are something many of us take for granted. Every summer we get excited to go to the local Target and stock up on pencils and folders and think nothing of it. For many kids in Flint this isn’t the case. These families don’t have the money to buy food let alone schools supplies. Supplies are essential for the learning and success of students. It can hinder their learning and could be quite embarrassing to some students.

Right now we are at the very beginning of this huge project. We are creating volunteer positions and finding collection locations. We are also working on sponsorships so we can become an official non-profit organization. Our website is in the process of being improved and filling with information very quickly.

Long term we want to expand to a nation wide organization. We hope to help other cities as unfortunate disasters happen. For now we are helping Flint because it is close to home. All of the directors, including myself, are from Michigan. We all know at least someone from the Flint area. This is something we are all passionate about and hope to find others who want to help our cause.

Pre LAS in the D Service Trip

This upcoming Friday, LAS will be heading down to Detroit. I am so ecstaticĀ for this trip! We will start at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. This school is a public, charter school in Detroit started by Jalen Rose, former University of Michigan “Fab Five” player. We will be doing leadership workshops and talking about college with the high schoolers. One of the most exciting part of this is it is during their spring break. This means the kids that are there, really want to be there. I am most looking forward to this part of the trip. I have never worked with kids like them before. I am really excited to see what they have to say about our service projects. I hope they want to get in the organizations that we are helping because that would be really cool.

Friday evening, we will be going to the DIA and getting dinner in Downtown. I love the feeling of being in Detroit. It is going to be interesting to see what the people who have never been there think of the city. It is such a culturally rich city and it will be awesome to show them all the new things happen down there.

On Saturday, we will be doing different service jobs through out the city. We will specifically be working with Cass Community Social Service. They are an organization dedicated to fighting the poverty of the city of Detroit. Some things that could really use some help in Detroit are the poverty epidemic and the lack of proper education. We will fortunately be able to make small impacts in both of these areas.

This trip is going to be such a great opportunity to serve a prosperous city.

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A photo I took over winter break while exploring Detroit.