If I could chose one word to describe how I felt after our LAS service trip to Detroit I would use the word GROWTH. After approximately a day and a half we served over five organizations and impacted thousands of lives. I’ve heard from other students before the trip that this was their favorite memory from their freshman year. It’s definitely one of mine after this incredible experience. Before I get ahead of myself let me explain what exactly this trip entailed.
At 9 AM on Friday morning we took off to Detroit to Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. There we had a day of service with high school students. These kids even came to school on their spring break to volunteer. LAS students were divided into small groups of facilitators and each of us was responsible for facilitating a different activity. Some of these included making welcome signs for Special Olympics athletes for the summer games, making cards for veterans, and also making activity bags for patients at the Children’s hospital of Michigan. We also watched a video on Ok 2 Say a confidential ear for bullying, violence, and any other forms of harm.
I was challenged at Jalen Rose by negativity and conversation with students. I wanted to be really careful with my words because I didn’t want to offend anyone by comparing privildges. The more we talked I realized we had a lot more in common than I thought. I feel like I grew with this experience because I had the chance to be a leader of a group and speak up. In the past we’ve been facilitated to, and now it’s our turn to take over and grow. I loved seeing other members of our cohort find their niche in leadership.
Later that night we visited the Detroit Institute of Arts. This was an eye opening experience, I love to see art and how different cultures and moments in history were interpreted differently by different artists. We stayed the night at the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center. The parent of an LAS student is director of the center and connected us to a whole night of fun. The center is a combination of a museum and an indoor play area. I ran around like a little youngster having a ball with other members of my cohort. This trip was needed because with the business of school unfortunately our LAS cohort doesn’t get to spend all that much time together. This is exactly what we needed.
Saturday morning started with a day of volunteering with CASS Community Social Services. This agency provides food, housing, health services, and job opportunities for poor and homeless of Detroit. We worked along side some of the areas at CASS. Some included using recycled resources. I personally helped make floor mats out of recycled tires. Others helped create bales of shredded paper, or help in the kitchen and garden. I really enjoyed this experience because I knew that this service was helping their agency help more people. We worked along side Stephan a formerly homeless worker. He was very helpful and I think we were tiring him out, but I enjoyed meeting him.
Say nice things about Detroit. After my experience I’ve learned that there are parts of the city that are making a comeback having a positive impact on the community. I really enjoyed serving the community at Jalen Rose and CASS. I’ve learned that service isn’t about yourself, It’s about teaching others about service, and who you serve. I strive to volunteer more often, If I could volunteer instead of work everyday I would do it. From learning about Detroit, bonding with my LAS cohort, and serving the community I’d call it a successful service trip.