In a bit of a shift from the norm, the fellows were given a choice of how we wanted to approach the challenge this month, our “July Impact Project.” Options included working on a solo project of our own making, working with another fellow or two on a project of our own making or reconnecting with a past Challenge Detroit partner and working on a new initiative. Immediately I knew that the July impact project would be the perfect opportunity for me to reconnect with the challenge partner I enjoyed working with most, Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS). For our third challenge this year we worked with COTS on outreach and marketing strategies targeted at each of the groups of individuals that make COTS the incredible organization that it is: consumers, staff, volunteers, donors and partners. The challenge with COTS proved overwhelmingly successful and they have even begun implementing some of the programs that the fellows put together and presented.
As it turned out, Anna and Cody also shared my fondness for COTS, so we came tougher and are working to put on an event that will serve to connect COTS with a younger generation of donors and volunteers. The motivation here is for COTS to establish a relationship early on with individuals who have the potential to be donors and volunteers for years to come. The event is called “Turn Up, Strip Down: A Detroit Flash’ion Show” and involves attendees showing up wearing extra layers of clothes and preceding down a red carpet or catwalk while stripping off all the extra clothes. At the end of the runway will be donation boxes for the clothes, which will be donated to Thrift on the Avenue (TOTA) and the clothing room at COTS. Following the “Flash’ion Show,” we will have a happy hour where people can meet and interact with COTS and TOTA, learn more about the organization s and find out how they can get involved. The event will be fun and informal and provide a casual platform for interested young people to find out more about the work COTS is doing. Look out for event details coming in the near future!
As fellows we have had the pleasure of working with some truly incredible organizations over the past 12 months. COTS will always stand out for me because of just how deep their commitment to the city of Detroit and its people is. All it takes is a few steps inside the doors of COTS to see just how significant the work they’re doing is: providing a resting place for the weary, feeding the hungry, offering a slew of youth and family support services to those in need of some extra help. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. COTS is truly making a difference in the seemingly endless fight against homelessness. In Detroit the path from homelessness to self-sufficiency is one that can be successfully traveled in large part thanks to the support and help COTS provides along the way. I am honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to work with this incredible organization. It has truly been one of the highlights of my Challenge Detroit experience.
Until next time,