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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.