Week 4: A Sense of Belonging – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 4: A Sense of Belonging

I’m starting to feel quite comfortable at Nortown. Not only am I familiar with the office and our close partners now, I feel connected to some of the other people in umbrella non-proft orgs and people we don’t see as often but have had collaborations with. I finally have a clear understanding of everything that has been going on with Nortown and all our relationships as well. And since I joined in the midst of RESTORE NED, I can now holisticly see how far they have come in this project and the pressure building up for September.

This week, I attended a business luncheon hosted by the Van Dyke-Seven Mile Business Association which Pat and another man put together to connect all the businesses in the area for monthly meetings to discuss what goes on in our district (District 3). This month’s was about security and safety, a big issue for everybody and we had invited a sergeant from the police department to come (our biggest selling point). Something I’ve noticed and appreciate about the organizations in Detroit is how connected people are. In the grand scheme of things, most people like Pat who decide to be involved in the community are there for the same reasons — revitalize communities, eliminate disparities, create a safe environment, etc. There is just something special about that and witnessing it firsthand is a whole other experience. We were extremely pleased with the turnout as we had all different professions present; hospital and health, bankers, property managers, non-profits, churches, auto-shops, local marts. To top it all off, food is always great!

2 thoughts on “Week 4: A Sense of Belonging”

  1. Glad to hear your project is going so well!! I’ve noticed the same thing about how connected people are in Detroit. Among the communities we’re working in, most of the residents know each other through mutual friends and they alert one another when issues come up concerning their communities. It’s pretty amazing seeing how close knit some of these communities are.

  2. It’s great that you’re feeling much more at home with your placement! And to echo the importance both you and Amy mentioned with interconnectedness – while I don’t work in Detroit, a lot of the work that I am doing right now is trying to create and foster these connections between the churches I am working for and other organizations in their community. It’s definitely an asset to nonprofits because they don’t have for-profit money to get their projects started, and often relying on friends of friends or partnering with other people and organizations is how a lot of programs and campaigns are started.

    (Also, it is really, really difficult to start these kinds of relationships, sometimes. Especially when everyone I call seems to think I am trying to sell them something.)

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