Tag Archives: positive thinking

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.




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.

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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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“Speak for the Silent, Stand for the Broken”

I choose Mike Smith for my leader of choose for my requirement to blog about a leader.

Who is Mike Smith? Besides, a professional teenager he is a motivational speaker, consultant, ambassador, entrepreneur, non-profit founder, and executive producer.

I first heard of him when he spoke at 2016 MASC MAHS State Conference in Traverse, City MI. He reminded me a lot of my brother and of myself. He reminded me of my brother by his skater like appearance, long hair, and passion for skating. However, I aligned with him for his passion for service and positive speech. His performance struck me because of his brotherly like persona and his passion for helping. Mike’s speech was about what he did to make a difference and what he wanted his legacy to be and then wrapped it up by asking us to create something of ourselves and to think about what we want to be remembered as. It was an inspirational talk and it really got me thinking what I wanted to be remembered as.



Anyways, who is Mike and why do I look up to him?

Mike created a non-profit skate park where he can work with children to encourage their dreams and allow the skaters in the community a place to be themselves. He hires people to work at the skate park that need the job, which truly shows his commitment to helping those around him.img_4619_0


Also, he created Skate for Change. It is a group of skaters that give back to low income and homeless people in the community, by giving out food or clothing. Most of the skaters at his skate park come and skate with Mike in thee Skate for Change. Mike once said, “If you teach a kid not to be selfish, you change the way they think forever.” He connects both of his organizations in teaching local skaters the importance of giving and also helping those in need in the community.



Mike is also the face of Beanies4Life, which is a program Yea.Nice created to make a difference in the lives of the homeless around the country that are fighting life threatening conditions. Every beanie sold, one gets donated to a homeless shelter.

He also paired up with Jostens, on their Harbor TV. Harbor TV is a website of episodes that showcase life lessons and help with character development. He is passionate about speaking to children about important topics and coaching them through life through the videos.

Mike partnered with J.R. Galardi and did a month adventure called Hot Dogs for the Homeless. They set out and gave out hot dogs to the homeless as well as raised $100,000, which was matched to $200,000 for Skate for Change.

He even raised money by sleeping under a bridge for 30 days and skated across the country to get awareness out for Skate for Change. It is incredible the distances he will go to raise awareness for his causes.

There is a scholarship fund he is starting for students that have improved grades and behaviors in school- or families with financial hardships. He was not the best student in high school and he came from poverty, so this shows he remembers where he came form and he wants to give back to those that resemble where he was.

His achievements and attitudes speak so loudly. He truly does want to make a difference. He has a tattoo that says, Speak for the Silent, Stand for the Broken. It is there to remind him each day what his life is about.


In high school I did on a project on Mike Smith as someone that was self-actualized. He is selfless as a leader, giving back whenever and wherever he can. He took his passion and turned in into doing good for others. He also encourages others like influencing the skaters in the community to help out with the Skate for Change. He also never gives up for what he loves and keeps striving to meet the needs he sees. He spreads positive messages directly through his episodes on Harbor TV proving that he wants to make this world a better place in every aspect.Others are motivated to follow him because he is not demanding. He inspires others by his actions and it encourages others to join him.

He started everything alone and with that had the courage to do so. I admire his courage and his effortless way in getting people involved. Also, his selfless determined attitude like sleeping under a bridge to get awareness and raise money. His efforts have touched many lives. Those that he helps he goes beyond superficial meetings. He gets to know them not as a homeless person, but as a human being. Not only does he help those in need, but influences the children in his community by being a positive role model to them and instilling in them many admirable lessons. When he goes to schools and events speaking he touches even more lives by telling his story and encouraging others to help and find their legacy. His leadership has affected me tremendously. He really made me contemplate what I wanted to do with my life, what my legacy was going to be.  He did not have money, but it did not stop him from making a difference. His courage, selflessness, and determination inspires me to live each day better in service to others. Now, everyday I am going to work on creating my legacy, like Mike. To work at my legacy I am going to be more self-less and creative in order to start something that will help change people’s lives.

We all matter. Be nice to all. Use your passion to help others. Never give up.






Leadership Intelligence

At the Connections Conference we had sessions to pick from and the one I learned most from was Leaders in Action: Implementing Emotional Intelligence Strategies.

As a requirement to blog about a leadership lecture I thought this was the perfect one.

If want to know more about what Connections Conference is go to my blog post, ” The 7 Truths at Conference”


During, the session they broke down Emotional Intelligence into four categories:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Management
  3. Social Awareness
  4. Relationship Management



As a leader you must be able to check yourself and be able to ask why you are doing the things you do. Visit your values. Checking in with yourself allows you to stay focused and make sure the things you do have a purpose.

Also, by reflecting on yourself it is crucial to know what or who makes you mad and learn from that. What makes you upset and why does it?

Gaining feedback from yourself is important, but also seeking out feedback from others. It provides you the opportunity to get an outside perspective and self evaluate yourself.

To be a better you, you have to know you and know you are being true to you.

Now, I am going to take time to reflect in my everyday life. I see how in my past I get carried away in the day, but I a working on being more self-aware. I am learning more about myself, now that I analyze and think about things.




The overall message of self-management is stay positive and do positive things.

When you are upset, count to 10.

Whether an encounter with someone is good or bad, a leader will find a valuable lesson in the encounter and use it to grow.

When you have a difficult decision, sleep on it.

A leader must take control of their self talk making sure it is positive and that they can speak and see success for themselves. Instead of looking at limitations, look at freedoms.

Physical and mental health is important so it is necessary to take time to recharge or have a better sleep schedule.

As a leader I am going to practice not to run off of emotions or make irrational decisions. It is important to stay strong, calm, and positive as a leader. I am going to practice the tips I was given like counting to ten when I get upset and making sure self-talk is positive.



Social Awareness

A few key things they mentioned when dealing with people is greet people by their name, watch body language, and make timing everything.

Also, it is important to live in the moment and listen to those around you. The hardest thing people find to do is truly listen.

A good question to ask yourself is are you truly listening? People can pick up on body language and insincerity, so evaluate the way that you listen.

Being around people it is important to seek the whole picture, sometimes we just see face value and make quick judgments, seek to understand.

The best way to understand is to step into their shoes and really get a better perspective of what you thought.

Now, I am going to be more aware. I feel this lesson of social awareness is most important, but rarely utilized. If I change or improve on my relationships with others it will give me more respect from others. As a leader it can feel empowering, but it is important to not get big-headed and remember to do the little things, like remembering names and truly listening. I am going to practice these skills in my organizations and with any relationship I have because the way you treat others tells a lot about yourself.



Relationship Management

Through relationships it is important to be open whether it is dealing with hard conversations or taking feedback well.

You must always be open and mindful of your feelings and of others.

By avoiding giving mixed messages and being open you gain trust with those around you. Other things you can do to gain trust is remembering the little things, when you care show it, having an open door policy, and acknowledging other people’s feelings.

Trust is huge within building and maintaining relationships.

One piece that they talked about that influenced me the most is explaining your decisions, not just making them.

Many leaders decide on things with out explaining the reason for them and I feel it is so important in being aware of why you do the things you do.

Now I am going to make sure that I am keeping conversations open and clear. Being in many organizations communication is important. As a leader in organizations I want to make my team feel comfort to talk to me, so I am going to incorporate asking others if they have in questions or concerns. Also, I am going to keep a positive inviting attitude, so myself and my team are all on the same page and not holding anything back.







You are what you…

You are what you eat, think!


For my leadership scholarship program we had to take PSY 100L and then reflect on it through this blog.

Having an amazing psychology teacher in high school fully prepared me in being able to succeed in the college level class.

Psychology is near and dear to my heart most of my life.

It allows me to understand things that usually do not make sense.

It gives a deeper meaning than the face value.


As a leadership scholar I find psychology very important in leadership.

Psychology can answer questions leaders could have like,

  • How do I motivate my followers?
  • How can I work with different personalities/ people?
  • How can I teach something to someone to remember?

I feel that everybody would benefit from a psychology class because it can help you understand yourself or others.

Psychology can teach parents about childhood development and punishment.

From psychology I learned that you can punish your child, but it only stops the behavior it does not correct it.

That is why I love psychology so much it uncovers meanings behind different aspects in life and gives a better solution or idea to a situation.

Psychology helps me think in a more philosophical way.

The quote above, “Man can alter his life by altering his thinking” is more true then ever.

Being able to see past what is in front of us and what is actually underneath the surface helps to understand things that we cold have misjudged.

Also, being able to use better thinking to understand others, you can also understand yourself.

You can change your life, by rewiring your brain on the thoughts it creates.

I believe that positive thoughts equals a positive life.

You become what you think.

By understanding what makes people, people we are more apt to understand, forgive, and have peace within our life.


This is a quote I enjoy, especially since it ties in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

In Psychology we learned about this hierarchy of needs and how each lower need must be met before moving to a higher level.

The two highest levels, which people find difficult to reach is self-actualization and self-transcendence.

Self-actualization means to find self-fulfillment and and realize one’s potential. Self-transcendence is connecting to something beyond yourself to help others find their potential.

To me the quote means if you live comfortable with living day by day running through the motions through only psychological and safety needs then you are missing out on so much. You will never reach your full potential and you will deny yourself the happiness you could have.

Overall, I enjoyed the Psychology class and I recommend not only the class, but the whole perspective you get out of it.

You will be able to add depth to your thoughts and reasons to your actions.

As well as understanding how powerful our mind is.

In the future I want to continue learning about psychology because it is so useful in working with people and understanding many things in life. I am going to take what I learned and apply to my everyday life, specifically in leadership roles. I now have more knowledge on how to motivate people and different kind of leadership styles. What I have learned and am going to learn will  prove to be beneficial in working with people and understanding myself.