Dear Nathan, – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Dear Nathan,

Working with Inside Out Literary Arts Project will not only be an excellent way to gain experience in a professional environment, but it will also be a very educational experience. This internship will be as or more rewarding than a semester full of classes. Today you visited a local school to evaluate one of the professional writers. I know you thought It was very rewarding to watch the kids respond to the various “pocket poems” they were given. You asked yourself why the children were more responsive to one of the “pocket poems” over another. In the car ride back to campus, you were a part of an interesting conversation about the writer’s performance; what worked well, or could have been changed, and why. I expect you will learn a lot about how context functions in teaching during this internship. It is amazing how much thought can go into each lesson plan.


The school itself was different than your old middle school. Posters on the walls stressed the importance of diversity and there were flags from many different countries hanging from the ceiling both upstairs and downstairs. There were posters in Spanish also. During your early years of education in Northern Michigan you missed out on such a culturally diverse and rich experience. However, this experience is all the more enlightening because of that.  You were inspired just to be in such a culturally diverse space, and to see posters which instead of laying out rules in a “do not do this” manner, the message seemed to be, “you have rights; know this and expect them to be honored as you honor the rights of others.”


Today you helped a girl with her poem. You made a personal connection to a child and supported her creative endeavor. Such actions are a great gift and with your effort you will grow and be even more equipped to help as you work through the Summer. Also, office work in general is helpful, and even the more simple tasks designated for an intern can be rewarding when done for an excellent organization and among such great people. You’ll look forward to exploring Detroit and getting to know the iO staff. With what you find I’m sure you’ll become an advocate for a city many people don’t give the time to experience with an open mind.


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