Unprompted, I sit and contemplate what to put into this blog. My project, which has been occupying much of my time at AIHFS, is the first thing that comes to my mind. I cannot believe how fast my time in the program has been flying by. I have already completed a staff survey, two of four staff focus groups, and released surveys to the community and board of directors. Although I have accomplished a lot, I know there is a lot more work to be done and little time to do it. I am excited to continue with focus groups and survey analysis.
While working on my project, I have learned more about myself than I could have anticipated. During my time at AIHFS, I have realized that I like the interpersonal aspect of conducting focus groups. You can observe so much more about an individual’s thoughts and gain a greater level of understanding by talking to them rather than reading their responses off a screen and keying them into a spreadsheet. I hope to enter my future career in a position that allows me to have a similar, interpersonal connection with the individual and the community. While attending community meetings, I have observed a sense of community and purpose that I feel is important and unique to the nonprofit sector. Just yesterday, as I sat in a meeting of Detroit FQHC’s, I observed passion for the community. Although there were more problems discussed than solutions, these individual’s passion was tangible. That is the passion I want to have in my future as I become part of a community. Additionally, I have realized that I actually enjoy writing consent forms. There’s just something special about writing something that people have to sign. Who would have guessed? This has been an incredible experience for me to grow as an individual and a professional.
Outside of my time on the project, I have been enjoying my time in Detroit. However, this past weekend, I journeyed home for the first time since starting the program. Family showed interest in my project and I was eager to discuss my experiences. However, my family continues to question why I was deciding to spend my summer in Detroit. It is frustrating to leave the city and see the perception of those who are ignorant of Detroit’s passion, character, and life. They see problems rather than opportunities. I may be overly optimistic, but others are certainly too pessimistic. It is my hope that others will be educated about Detroit in a way that is fair to the city and its people. I know that next year, when I plan service events in Detroit as a peer advisor in the Michigan Community Scholars Program, I will aim for other students to gain the immersive experience I have gained through the CBRP, looking beyond the surface and learning from the city and its people.
Shameless plug: if you are a resident of Livingston, Monroe, Macomb, Oakland, St Clair, Washtenaw, or Wayne counties, please follow this link and take my community survey (it should take about 15 minutes and you will have the option to be entered into a raffle!!)