On the weekend of April first, my cohort and I along the Lead team and company began a 2 day service trip in Detroit. I learned a lot and was able to grow as a leader and bond with my wonderful cohort. A memorable experience that I hope to take plenty with me for the future.
Our first stop was to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. My group, Orange 3, got to work with 3 students from Jalen Rose. I thoroughly enjoyed my time completing service with these students and getting to know them. It was refreshing to learn so many things I had in common with these students that we could talk about and share stories. The students showed a joy for helping others and a want to learn about college and things to look forward to in the future. These students opened my eyes and taught me a lot without even realizing it. I hope they enjoyed the time we had as much as I did. I was also able to learn about an initiative called OK2Say which is in place to protect anyone from harming themselves, bullying, and going through tough times. This was shared with a moving video that I highly suggest taking a look at(click here).
We were then able to go to downtown Detroit and eat some pizza at Pizzapopolis and spend some time with our cohort and even chat with some Alumni that stopped by. We then made a trip to the DIA where we got to walk around and enjoy all of the amazing art. To end the night, we were lucky enough to be able to stay at Detroit’s new Outdoor Adventure Center. That night I had a pretty great reflection with my group. We talked about how we felt about the service and what we had learned today. I was grateful to have meaningful time with the students at Jalen Rose and explore Detroit with the 2015 LAS Freshman Cohort. We definitely had a memorable night of bonding, wrestling(all of the guys together at once often leads to this), ghost stories, and doing headstands/handstands for 30 minutes(I’m not to sure why tbh).
We arose that morning bright and early to take on a new adventure. Volunteering at CASS Community Social Services in Detroit. This was arguably my favorite part of the trip. We got split into 3 groups: Paper Shredding, Kitchen help, and mat making. I was lucky enough to help out and make some mats. These are made out of old tires found on the road and beads. They are then sold and the profit is used to support CASS and everyone it supports. It also is a way to employ many people that otherwise would not be given a similar opportunity. Haley and I got the hang of it pretty quick with the help of one of the workers, Issac who was awesome and very helpful. He took pictures every time we finished a mat and was always supportive. At the end he got every one that was in our group working and had us put our hands in to break a huddle with exploding fists. He then went on to thank us for volunteering and told us that he will always remember us for helping out. I will always remember that day as well and realized how even those less fortunate can be amazing individuals who can make their own individual differences in the world.
This trip supported and even opened my eyes to the amazing things that are happening in Detroit. The Jalen Rose students taught me that I am no different from any of them. They all have aspirations of greatness and doing great things. Where you come from and grow up has nothing to do with the things you can do in the world. If you put your mind to it, anything is possible no matter what. another great value I learned is that you cannot judge a book by its cover. You do not know what someone is going through in their daily life. Treat everyone with respect and five everyone a chance before writing someone off. You never know, simply saying hi or sparking a conversation with someone new could make the difference in their life. Everyone deserves to be recognized and given the chance to show people how great of a person they might be. Overall, I am so glad I was able to go on this trip to help out the people of Detroit, bond with my cohort, and make some new friends along the way.