As I sit here and type this, it’s hard for me to believe that this is the last blog post that I will ever write for Challenge Detroit. Twelve months, twelve blogs now almost complete. How did this happen? How did time just pass us by?
This past year has been a blessing for me, one filled with life changing experiences. I was able to meet and get to know an incredible group of people over this past year. I was able to grow both personally and professionally and was given countless opportunities to learn new things. This past year has given me incredible growth opportunities and allowed me to see things from a perspective that many people have not been given the privilege to see. In a way, I was a given an insider’s perspective of Detroit.
So many thoughts go racing through my mind when I think about this past year with Challenge Detroit. To read some of these thoughts, see below:
1. Through our 5 week challenges where we provided both intellectual and hands-on capital to our non-profit partners, I got to see how not-for-profit-organizations are run. Better yet, I got a glimpse of just how much these organizations are helping improve the present and future of Detroit and was able to be a part of it. The passion for Detroit that was displayed by all of our non-profit partners was incredible to see. My top two favorite challenges this year were on homelessness with the Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) and blight & neighborhood quality of life with Detroit Future City. These two challenges were the greatest learning experiences for me and the two organizations with which I feel I was able to make the biggest impact.
2. Thanks to my host company, Brooks Kushman, I got to work at a highly respected law firm in Accounting, Marketing and Trademark Law. Here, I met many incredible individuals who were great to work with and to get to know as people. I look forward to continue working with Brooks Kushman now that Challenge Detroit is over and I am incredibly grateful to them for all they have done.
3. I was also given the opportunity to be an official speaker at various events. I was an official speaker two times at my alma mater, Oakland University. That’s something I always wanted to do and I am thankful I got to! Thanks to Jeanette Pierce from D:Hive, I got to be a part of a panel speaker at the Live Work Detroit event at the Garden Theater, located in Midtown Detroit, where I spoke to a 100+ recent or soon to be college graduates. That was my favorite and most successful speaking engagement yet.
4. By attending our social and cultural events, I fell in love with my city even more through art and music. At events such as these, the fellows got to know each other even better than before. Even outside of these social and cultural events, we all hung out and had fun together.
5. Lastly, I just want to say that truly, this city is my love. I am proud to be from Metro Detroit and I hope that more people will see all the great things that Detroit has to offer. The passion and hard work of both lifelong Detroiters and new Detroiters is what will help Detroit continue to revitalize. Although I am sad to see this chapter of my life end, I am thankful that I got to be a part of it and I am thankful to all of my family and friends who supported me throughout this program. I’m looking forward to seeing what new adventure life will throw my way next!