January 10th and 11th LAS will be visiting Detroit, MI to complete a service trip. This trip we plan to bring our leadership abilities to help positively impact the community and it’s people. We will be partnering with Cass Community Social Services and Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.
When you google search “Detroit MI” you will see the suggestions after it will be “ghetto”, “poverty”, ‘crime”, or “abandoned neighborhoods”. Why? When did Detroit get this stigma? This stigma not only lies true on google, but in the heads of most people when they think of Detroit. When I mentioned I was doing a service trip in Detroit the first thing I was told was to be careful. I was brought up with the stigma as well. Be taught to be cautious and careful in Detroit. I understand, I do. ABC news reported the top 10 dilemmas facing Detroit and they were…
|The city’s unfunded liabilities top $18 billion.|
|The city owes money to over 100,000 creditors.|
|Nearly 80,000 buildings have been abandoned and many are unsecured.|
|Population of Detroit has fallen from 1.86 million in 1950 to 700,000 today.|
|Some 47 percent of properties are delinquent in paying their taxes.|
|Police take an average of 58 minutes to respond to calls.|
|Only 8.7 percent of violent crimes are solved and Detroit has the highest crime rate in US of large cities.|
|Manufacturing jobs in the city have slid from a peak of 200,000 to just 20,000 today|
|Only 7 percent of the city’s eighth graders are proficient in reading.|
|The city manager says its retirement system is underfunded by $3.5 billion.|
There are many economic and social issues in Detroit, as you can see. I believe Detroit’s plummet was due to poor leadership. Poor leadership in bad planning, lack of action , and disconnected relationships with the population. However, I do see beauty in Detroit. I see the historic buildings and agricultural monuments. I see hard work and the “American Dream” that many of my ancestors were a part of. I see culture and diversity, and the beauty of all people regardless of their identity. I also hope and love in those that want to bring life back to Detroit.
I am thrilled to be partnering with Cass Community Social Services and Jalen Rose Leadership Academy because they are fighting for a stronger Detroit. They want change. They want growth and improvement. They want to make a difference. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. I am very excited for the partnership and I hope I can make a difference, while I am on the trip.
Below is the purpose and vision of the Leadership Institute at CMU
PURPOSE: Central Michigan University is committed to preparing Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in an increasingly complex and challenging society.
VISION: The Leadership Institute prepares the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live and work.
This trip embodies both the purpose and the vision of the Leadership Institute. Having this experience will be a great learning opportunity in being engulfed in what most people will feel as a new environment. Some will be scared from the Detroit stigma. Some will be anxious because they are unfamiliar with Detroit and it’s history. That is okay. I truly believe this trip will broaden each and everyone’s horizons in getting a glimpse of the complex social issues and problems in Detroit. Sometimes as a leader we are not prepared, but they will happen with the ever changing and challenging world we have. This trip will prepare us for having a leadership role in a challenging situation since it will be a totally new and different environment with different complex social and economic issues.
When we go to Detroit we hope to encourage others and use are leadership skills, especially at the Academy. When we collaborate and teach the students on leadership it is something that will last for when we go. We hope we can better the skills of the students to continue to make a change in their community. Also, at our trip we will be doing volunteer work that works with the community and helping it improve. We are putting in work, but also instilling in the youth of the community skills that will continue the goal of improving Detroit through quality of life, economy, and communities.
This trip will benefit me in so many ways. I believe I will have a better grasp of the dynamics and issues of Detroit. Also, I will be able to make new relationships and grow connections with those in Detroit. I will become a more well-rounded leader because I will be broadening my horizons with opening my heart and mind to a new environment.