Category Archives: Leadership Development

RSO Reflection 2: Flint Active Crisis Team and Service

The Flint Active Crisis Team and Service is an organization that assists the community of Flint through service trips. Flint, MI has been without clean water since April of 2014. That is what piloted the creation of this organization. As a freshman I was able to be a site leader and a volunteer through a few of the Flint trips and from there I knew I wanted to make a difference in the city of Flint. The trips taken have ranged from medical trips to trips dedicated on blight. Some of the work done is cleaning up homes, parks, or public areas and restoring them for beautification efforts, as well as having a safe places for community members to enjoy. As well as donating water to local churches to pass out.

This year I was on the executive board of F.A.C.T.S., as well as preparing to be vice president. Holding this position I got to see behind the scenes on how to make a Flint trip happen. It is a lot of hard work, but the hard work is easier when there is so many people willing to help the cause. We partnered with local organizations to help place where we serve and what service we did. The planning process took a lot of effort because it included promoting the event, registering participants and site leaders, staying within a budget, planning the logistics of day, feeding and providing a shirt for everyone, having training, and much more. The day of the trip we did not get the amount of volunteers we wanted. However, it was okay because I knew that if one life can be changed because of the trip it was worth it. These trips change the lives of those we serve, as well as the participants. I can speak from experience that it changed my life when I attended as a participant. Being engulfed in an area of need and seeing those hurting in an area is eye opening. It leaves an impact on you to do more, be more to serve others in the world. As we unloaded the buses after the trip you could tell people were grateful for the experience, and like it did for me left an impact on them. But what we do in Flint is also important because they need help and our service can help change lives, too. As we were going to our next service sight we gave water out to random people outside and the gratefulness expelled from them was heartbreaking. These people should not have to struggle for a life necessity. I am proud of the work being done to help serve Flint and inspire others to not only serve Flint but to have greater compassion, gratitude, and love in life.

Continuing beyond the trip I want to educate others on the problems Flint is facing as well as inspire others to create change. I want to pursue serving Flint to enhance my leadership and event planning skills, as well as spread my love to community in need. I have found that with love many things can be accomplished and I will use that ideology in life. I will lead with passion and love to make a difference not only in Flint, but in the world.

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Reflection of Mentor

For my Leadership Advancement Scholarship Program we are given a mentor as a freshmen, as the year passes we get to become a mentor and the process continues. Before I became a mentor I remember being anxious and excited. I was very happy to be able to inspire and help my mentee transition into college. However, I was scared. I was scared that I was not ready and that I would mess up. I took a lot of time into thinking what kind of mentor I wanted to be and what I could do as mentor. What I have learned was there are things you can not plan for and that as much as you try to be perfect no can be and that is okay. I put so much pressure on being the perfect mentor, but it is not about being perfect. I found that being vulnerable and creating a relationship is so powerful, you do not have to be perfect. Caring and being open to a relationship is enough. This year as a mentor I learned a lot about myself through mentoring my mentee as well as letting him teach me a few things as a leader.

This experience was so beneficial for both my Kyle, my mentee, and I. I was able to help him through hard times be the listening ear, giving advice, and just having long talks about life. We gained a great friendship out of the mentoring program and it taught me a lot about friendship. Kyle’s compassion and selflessness inspires me everyday to surround myself with people like that and to also strive to be a better person each day. I learned that as much as I helped him as a mentor, he taught me many things as well. I found that mentoring is much more than that it is building a friendship and being there for them when they need you. Through our friendship I learned that with open and honest communication you can build a better relationship and grow, by acknowledging what you can do better. I learned what he wanted out of a mentor and what I can improve on to better fit his needs in a mentor. I am so happy for this experience because I can watch my mentee grow and become a better leader and soon a mentor for someone else and I can see myself grow and become a better leader too because I now know what it takes to be a great mentor. And my greatest goal is that I have impacted Kyle in positive way that will inspire him to have a similar relationship with his mentee: goofy, fun, supportive, open, and honest.

This opportunity taught me the power of being presence and it encourages me to be present in my g-mentees life at CMU, that many do not have. I want to continue to help Kyle grow, as well as learn from him because he is truly an incredible person. I will take what I learned and apply it in other aspects of my life through building other friendships, working with others in organizations, and becoming a better person. And here’s to becoming a G-mentor! Yahh!

 

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RSO Reflection: Rotaract

Rotaract is a service organization I continue to be a part of in my college career. Being elected Social Chair for this year I was able to implement new ideas and grow my leadership skills through the organization. To learn more about Rotary visit my previous blog post What is Rotaract?

Previously, the social chair was responsible for icebreakers and socials to bond the club. Also, as an e-board member I had say in what fundraisers, socials, advertising events Rotaract did. As I took over the position I used my leadership skills and event planning knowledge to take more roles as a social chair. I volunteered to create, enhance, and run the annual state conference. This is annual conference where all Michigan Rotaracts are invited to attend. I had never attended one previously, but I was filled in on the general scope of what they were. I wanted to amp it up and infuse the conference with fun leadership activities.

I was able to produce a fantastic event, as well as learned and received many valuable experiences. I had to create a conference from scratch being that I was using a whole new concept. From there I learned on how to manage a team to execute my vision. Also, I gained more public speaking skills being the emcee of the conference. The event gave me confidence in my leadership and event planning skills because I was able to take an idea and recreate it into something beautiful. Everyone enjoyed the leadership activities and it allowed many Rotaract clubs to network and build stronger relationships with others. Moving forward I am excited to continue to use my new ideas to enhance our old traditions, as well as inspire and enlighten others through my leadership skills.

Beyond the conference I was able to be a part of great things that our club did that is illustrated below. I was able to promote Rotaract at main stage and excite others to serve the world through our service organization. I was given the opportunity to lead leadership icebreakers in general meetings to get to know new and old members and unify our organization. Once more I was able to emcee and host the annual conference. My favorite parts were our service opportunities like making tie blankets to donate, making Valentine crafts for the nursing home, delivering the cards and spending an afternoon at the nursing home, volunteering at the Rotary beef dinner fundraiser, and many more not pictured. Also, pictured below I was able to promote our annual dodge ball tournament by being interviewed at local radio stations. This was an incredible opportunity to share Rotaract, as well as enhance my speaking skills.

All these experiences have helped me grow as a leader, as well as instill passion for service into me. I want to continue to share my passion for service to others and continue to be a part of such a great organization as I enter my second year as Social Chair. I have many more ideas and I cannot wait for them to put in action.

 

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Promoting Rotaract at Mainstage
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Facilitating leadership activities to welcome new members to Rotaract
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Emcee for the Annual Rotaract Conference
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Making tie blankets to donate
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Making Valentine Cards to be handed out at a nursing home
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After passing out Valentine cards we visited with those at the nursing home
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Volunteering at the annual Rotary Beef Dinner

 

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Promoting our fundraiser on the radio
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First annual dodge ball tournament fundraiser
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Annual Doctor Pol speaking engagement and promotion of Rotaract

 

LEAD Team Reflection

As an LAS Scholar a requirement is to be a part of a Lead Team each year. Last year I blogged about my experience on the Grad Ball Lead Team and this year I got the same opportunity to be on that Lead Team, but as the co-chair coordinator of it. As a refresher, Grad Ball is an annual ceremony to recognize the graduating Leadership Advancement and it is required to attend for all scholars. The Lead team is a group of leadership scholars of all classes, that work together to plan the event including: registration, venue, decorations, invitations, and much more.

This opportunity offered me to explore leading a team of leaders, as well as give me more experience in my major of event planning. I was able to enhance my event planning skills by being able to work with a budget and manage a team. I learned a lot about myself as a leader and where I need improve through this opportunity. I found that my strengths are creativity and being proactive. The flexibility to make this event unique, as well as make a theme allowed me to be creative. Also, I found that being proactive and working on things before they necessarily needed to be done was very beneficial in the event planning process. It made the month of be less stressful as well as helped create better organization. Through this process I had a co-chair, Sara Inbody, and I am so happy how well we worked together. It was reassuring to have someone to lean on and have help through this process. We both learned how to manage team and how there is much work to do to become even better managing a team. It was difficult for us to boost morale and encourage people to attend meetings. This made us reevaluate what were doing, as well as more efficient ways to relay information than just having meetings every week. The day of I learned a lot. There was a lot of problem shooting and it tested my leadership. When leading others and having an event it is important to not freak out in times of problems. I made sure I did not let the day of problems affect how I acted. This allowed people not know the problems that were happening and made everyone calm.

For the future this will give me more knowledge and reference when working similar events or managing a team. I have more confidence on managing a team with things I learned through the Grad Ball Lead Team. I will continue to use my strengths and acknowledge my weaknesses and work on strengthening them.  This experience encouraged me to follow my passion of event planning and leadership and to continue to grow to become a better leader and event planner.

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Mentee in LAS
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Grad Ball Program
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Co-chair Sara Inbody
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Olivia Franklin

 

LDR 200L Reflection

As my freshmen year is coming to a close it’s astonishing how far I have come. Time is such a funny thing to think about and to even see. You may not notice how certain things each day can change you, but months later you stop and you can see a big difference. From the first day of college to now I faced many new challenges and new experiences that have helped me grow. Reflecting over the year it is interesting to see my transition to being a freshmen mentee in the Leadership program to preparing to be a mentor! Also, this new experience being at college has allowed me the opportunity to find myself and help me figure out what I want my legacy to be. This time in my life is crucial in creating my own brand.

My LDR 200L class has helped me grow as a leader and push me to the place I needed to be. In LDR 200L we learned about many different leadership theories and how they apply to our own lives. Another major idea we discussed in LDR 200L was on how to transition to a mentor and that we needed to be more independent now. My favorite theory we learned about was Servant Leadership.

Servant Leadership began in 1970 by the writings of Robert Greenleaf. This theory identifies that leaders put followers first and embrace growth. This is the only theory that frames the leadership approach by serving others and the idea of altruism. Common characteristics of people that apply servant leadership to their life would be emotional intelligence, strong ethics, high integrity, empowerment skills, empathy, and many more.

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I chose this theory as my favorite because it reflects back to becoming a mentor. I want to be selfless for my mentee. I want to be able to provide anything and everything I can for them. This year my cohort and I realized that next year it is not about us anyone more; the mentees need us now. The idea of centering the importance off of yourself relates back to servant leadership. We must put our own selfish needs to the side and be there for our mentees. I remember how scary it was coming into college and having so many questions, but my mentor helped me through it all. I believe that a mentor’s main goal is to have that servant leadership and help their mentee through their new experience at college.

Becoming a mentor is not the only experience this year that has exemplified servant leadership. Throughout the year I have found that my passion is servant leadership and not just sharing that passion through my mentee. In class we talked about leaving a legacy and that we all are creating one each day. After analyzing one of the assignments in LDR 200L, which was to write about our leadership philosophy; I found what was most important to me and what kind of legacy I want to leave, which brings me back to servant leadership. I have found love for servant leadership through many of the organizations I am now a part of. For example, I am a part of Rotaract, which frames it’s mission and volunteer work around service above self. I appreciate this club very much because it symbolizes what I want my legacy to be. I want to be known for being selfless and giving to others, without expecting anything in return. It is exciting to reflect back in the year and see the strives I have taken in giving to others and using servant leadership to help build the foundation of my legacy. I am going to continue to use my college experience to enhance my servant leadership.

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This year I have also grown in understanding myself and what I want out of life. I learned that I can be a versatile leader. I now know the importance of adjusting my leadership style to each setting by knowing what kind of leader is needed. In general though I have found that I am a spirited leader, which is one that encourages there team and gets them excited about the task. I found a connection between being a spirited leader and using servant leadership and that is you embrace others and work with them. I have a love for people and encouraging them. I can not wait to continue using my spirited style to work towards more of a servant lifestyle.

Additionally, when working with groups in class or in clubs I learned to be more trusting. I came into college wanting to do all the group projects myself and to make sure everything was perfect. My need to make everything perfect denied me the opportunity to work with others and listen to new ideas. I learned it is okay to trust others and that teamwork is crucial for success not only in school, but eventually in the work place, too. I  now try to not let my OCD take over and just have faith in the team. I believe servant leadership is very broad theory and can embody a lot of ideas. Even though the servant leadership means to serve others, I believe it could also include serving others through love in intangible ways like, respect, trust, active listen, and so on. Now that I am aware of my flaw of lack of trust, I can work on it. I believe trust is a sign of love and respect to another person and if I can improve on it I can be a better servant leader.

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Overall, I am proud of what I accomplished this year. I am excited to keep learning and growing here at CMU as I discover myself. I can finally say I am ready to have a mentee! LDR 200L has helped me get there and I cannot wait to share my love and passion onto them.

 

What is Rotaract?

Rotaract is a collegiate level club rooted from the international club called Rotary. Our slogan is service above self and we do many projects locally and internationally. For example, last year the Rotaract club made a ball field for a local trailer park. This year through the organization I was able to make blankets for a local homeless shelter. Also, we sent books to the Philippines and made a mini library for a local trailer park. Not only do we do a lot of service projects, but we get a lot of guest speakers that offer individual volunteer opportunities.

I joined Rotaract because of learning about Rotary in high school. Junior year I was selected to go to a leadership camp called RYLA, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. I was selected along with one other student and we were both funded by the communities Rotary club. Who or what is this Rotary club? Well, let me tell you! Many Rotary clubs can be seen in communities around you and even in other countries! There are over 1.2 million Rotarians in the world. The first service project of the first Rotary club was in Chicago where they worked on the installation of public toilets in the city. Also, Rotary and it’s partners are the reason for reducing polio cases by 99.9% worldwide. At the time I did not know what Rotary was and how much this organization does for their city and world. I would say Rotary is like a hidden gem, many people do not know about it, but they pass things that were made by the local Rotary club. For instance, here at CMU I was walking through a park and I went over a little bridge with a roof on top and it had a sign on it saying sponsored by the local Rotary club. Other places you could see this hidden gem is even on highways, many Rotary Clubs like to adopt highways and clean them up or even build little libraries. Rotary clubs do so much for the community, but they do not get the appreciation or even awareness they deserve.

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After the RYLA camp I found that there was a thing called Rotary Interact. Most of the students at the camp came for their high school’s Rotary Interact Club. That is when I began to ask my self, why do we not have one! I came back senior year determined to get a Rotary Interact club. I was able to present to the local Rotary about the camp and thank them for the opportunity, but also ask them to partner with me and the new Rotary Interact club I wanted to start at my school. In different terms, Rotary is the international organization’s name and this club is made of community members. Rotary Interact is the high school name for the club it is just high school students. Lastly, Rotaract is the college level of Rotary made up of college students. After a few months of promoting the club, getting members, getting approval of the city, and partnering with another high school by us we finally started our Rotary Interact club. Since, it was all new to us and we started later into the year, we decided to just do a local service project, in which fulfills part of the club’s requirement to do a local and international service project each year. We actually were able to do two local service projects the first was to help out the local businesses. I come from a small town and most of any funds we need at the school come from the community. I wanted to do this project because all the support and donations the local businesses have done fore us. What we did was contact a few businesses and asked them what we could do to help them. What we ended up doing at some of the businesses was mostly sweeping the parking lot and picking up trash, it may not have seemed like a big deal, but you could see the difference and the owners were very appreciative of the work we did. Secondly, I wanted to bring education and passion back to the outdoors. My home town is located on the Saginaw Bay. Many people in the community do not even know that we have a county park on the bay. For me I love nature and it was sad to see people not appreciate what was in their back yard. This is when I had the idea to have a nature day camp, free for the children in the surrounding county’s. I worked very hard in getting donations so that the children would have a provided lunch, as well as fun activities to do. Through this organization I found my passion(s).  I learned that the youth is important because they will soon be our working generation, so I make sure I can be a role model for any child. Also, I learned that service for others can make a huge difference in individual lives, as well as for the community. If we all take a little less and give a little more we can be the ripple effect of the change we want to see.

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Rotary Interact Nature Day Camp

 

When I graduated I knew that I had to find a Rotary club in college and did. I mentioned some of the service projects we have done this year in Rotaract and I am excited for all the new service opportunities for next year. I have such a strong passion for this club. It has brought me joy to give back to the community, as well as internationally. You get to give and be a part of something bigger than yourself. I hold the values of the club close to mine, especially service above self. Rotaract inspires me each day to better the lives around me and help change the world. I learned through the club the importance of service and I got to first hand see the impact it makes for others.

While, the year is coming to a close I decided to run for an e-board position. I was elected the social chair meaning I am in charge of making social for the group members and with meeting other Rotaract clubs. I am excited for this position because I feel that the club members internal cohesion with others is important to the success of the club. Also, by being able to socialize with other clubs we will be able to learn new ideas and opportunities we can take back to the club or even partner with them and make an even bigger impact on the world.

I am incredibly excited for the future and being able to have a voice on the e-board. I want to do more service projects. I also want to do a project that brings nature appreciation to Mount Pleasant. I want to raise more funds than we ever have before, so we can help more people. In the future I am going to live a more self-less life because I know the importance of service and a living a life that is beyond just my own. Lastly,  it is my mission to educate the community on what Rotary is and what is had done for others and myself. It is important for others to know about this great opportunity in order from them to be a part of a great club devoted to service.

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Post-Service Trip to Detroit

This is a blog about my experience after going on the Leadership trip to Detroit. I went on this trip with the rest of my LAS cohort and we got the opportunity to explore different places in Detroit, as well as get to spend the night there.

An overview of what we did is, facilitate leadership activities at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, visited Quicken Loans and got a presentation on what they have done for Detroit, explored the Detroit Institute of Art, spent the night at the Outdoor Adventure Center, and did service projects with Cass Community Center.

img_20170211_084911      First stop…

 

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy

What: Jalen Rose is a charter high school in Detroit. The school has a leadership focus and those that attend must apply. The academy first began in 2011 and is growing each year. The founder Jalen Rose wanted to give back to his hometown of Detroit and he thought the best way was to give back to the youth and provide them opportunities to be successful. At Jalen Rose we were split into different groups to facilitate and participate in leadership activities with the leadership students at the school. We set standards for what we expected out of the day and from others. Through the activities we got to enhance our leadership and communication skills, as well as step back to allow the Jalen Rose students make decisions and work through the activity.

So what: I found that these students want to learn and want to become better. When one student said, ” When will you guys be coming back?”, and that there told us we were making an impact on them. They are excited for us to come back and share the passion for leadership. These students are positive, uplifting, and bright and this school allows them to grow and find their potential. Jalen Rose’s website says something about how they do not make leaders, but cultivate their skills. Meaning we all have greatness within us, but with guidance it can really shine. It starts with a will to make a difference and possessing leadership skills and that is what Jalen Rose founder and staff have. The positive and passionate leaders within the school allow that greatness to reflect back to the students. The students at Jalen Rose are being challenged, supported, and let free to express and explore who they are. The attitude towards growth and the students paves a way for a bright futures among the students. I believe the school provides a unique opportunity to become successful, as well as be in a supportive community surrounded by others who want to better themselves and their lives.

Now what: After this experience it has opened my eyes to Detroit. Detroit gets such a bad reputation, but this school has shown me that there is brighter future for Detroit. It also showed me what great leadership and passion can do. I intend on leading more with passion and helping others reach their potential by cultivating their skills, just like Jalen Rose. Also, the founders leadership ideology has inspired me to reach out to youth and inspire them because they are our future and they can make a difference, like the Jalen Rose students.

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Quicken Loans

What: We arrived at Quicken Loans, a little bit confused of why. Quicken Loans is a mortgage lending company, but we learned it was much more than that. At Quicken Loans over dinner we received a presentation about Quicken Loans and asked questions. The VP of Quicken Loans took time out of his night to come and help answer some of our questions we had about Quicken Loans. After, we then went on guided towards to further explore Quicken Loans and their culture.

So What: Again, we were asking why were we here? It wasn’t until the VP talked about his passion for the company and the city that it hit in. The VP left Microsoft Word to join Quicken Loans because he embodies a great leader. He choose to take a position that would help benefit others even though it could be a risk and he already has a job. My ideal leader will want to leave to help others even if they do not get any external motives to do so. Quicken Loans wants to make a better community, by donating their time and dollars into the organizations and the community. The company is all about opening doors and creating more opportunities for the people of Detroit. They are investing in Detroit because they want to make Detroit great again. The tour also helped me see the culture and attitude toward the employees. There is a great level of respect for the employees and that is shown by the efforts in believing in them and letting them grow and learn. The company allows anyone to come up with an idea and pitch it to allows, which represents their respect to their employees. They believe in their employees and lets everyone feel like someone, not just a number. Most importantly, I value their atmosphere of creativity and ingenuity because I am like minded and I feel it helps set their company a part from others.

Now What: I experienced a great leader that will help others without any person gain and it has inspired me to become that leader. Also, now I know what company I would like to work for. I want to be in a company that values their employees, their community, and service to others because all are important in my life.

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Detroit Institute of Art

What: The Detroit Institute of Art was founded in 1885 and continues to show culture for the Detroit area. When we visited we were let loose to explore the DIA. The museum had a special section called, “Detroit After Dark”, recognizing the culture, history, and artist in Detroit. There I also got to hear part of a conversation from one of the DIA workers explaining why he works there.

So what: After visiting the DIA someone asked why we went there. What the purpose was. What seemed like a good question, I found a quite explainable answer to. The DIA represents culture, much at which Detroit represents, too. Also, the DIA represents beauty in art and expression and gives Detroit a place of hope, respect, beauty, and freedom. I feel the DIA is symbolic to Detroit, it shows the good, the bad, and the future through the art work. We can see much of what is shown in the DIA in Detroit. Places like Jalen Rose show a picture of hope and growth, finding beauty within others and enriching the youth for a brighter future. Some people depict Detroit as a scary crime ridden place, and in some art pieces it showcases the ugly within things. These different pictures we see of Detroit is just like the pictures we see in the DIA. Not only is the DIA symbolic to Detroit, but it gives Detroit culture, beauty, and expression to visitors and to the community. When I come to the DIA I can feel the artist’s strong feelings towards their work because each piece tells a different story. I find it fascinating that these art pieces can bring the feelings of relatedness to others. It is inspiring that these artists can reach others through their art pieces and can help others feel not alone. One other person that saw the beauty of the DIA and what it represents is the worker I heard sharing why he works without pay. He said he hates seeing people not appreciate Detroit, so he wanted to be around people that come and see the beauty within Detroit at the DIA. Also, he wanted to volunteer his time, so the money he would get paid could be used else where in Detroit. He is just another example of a hidden gem in Detroit that finds the beauty in the city and wants to help better Detroit.

Now what: I am going to look at things like a picture, looking at it as a whole. I want to be able to really observe my experiences and tell what story is being told, like the DIA. Also, the worker instilled in me hope, that even an average Jo can make a difference. He inspired me to stand by my beliefs and goals and do what I can everyday to work toward that mission.

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Outdoor Adventure Center

What: The Outdoor Adventure Center is a facility that bring the outdoors to the heart of the city of Detroit. It allows those to visit and learn outdoor activities through exhibits and simulators. The Outdoor Adventure Center offered their space for us to sleep there, so we could stay for another day to serve Detroit.

So what: This building represents the events of Detroit. This building was once a manufacture of marine steam engines for frat and passenger vessels. It was booming with business, but just like Detroit it took a turn for the worst. The building sat for years, falling a part. This building then was restored and turned into the building we went to. The Outdoor Adventure Center is a sign of hope, change, and growth in the city of Detroit. The building offers a unique opportunity for visitors and residents to explore beyond their boundaries and get a glimpse of what is around them in nature. As for Detroit it is changing and growing as well. Like, this building and many others it is a sign of hope, hope for the new reclaimed city of Detroit.

Now what: I want to be involved in the growth of Detroit weather it is volunteering or helping in some way. I am excited and inspired by all the changes I see happening in Detroit. This building was a risk, but it has become successful and it has taught me to take risks that will benefit the community because it will work out.

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Cass Community Center

What: Is a center aiming to provide food, housing, health services, and job opportunities to those in Detroit. Cass prepares and serves around one million meals a year and provides different housing options to those that need it. Also, Cass employs those that need work by having jobs in making mats, coasters, and flipflops and shredding documents for a company. At our visit with Cass we were split into different groups to help different areas. The areas were mat making, paper shredding, food preparation, and organizing donation rooms. I was put to organizing donations and I learned that the things that are no good get recycled and paid for by pound by a different company, so they can make maximum profits to put back into the community efforts.

So what: Sue the director of Cass showed immense leadership skills to make Cass as successful as it is. She is very precise, hardworking, and giving. You can tell that Sue works out of love and passion, because Cass is making huge strides in bettering the Detroit area.

Now what: Sue was an inspiration to myself on how I want to lead. She is self-less and determined in making a difference. I want to become more like Sue because she is the backbone to making Detroit great again.

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