Final Week – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Final Week

Sadly, my final week in Detroit was last week. I have left Detroit for a position in Lansing, but I miss Detroit everyday. My experience this summer has been unreal. I’ve learned so much about the city through talking to others in my cohort and through working at Focus: HOPE.

In my first post, I talked about wanting to learn about and experience the city through my cohort and not having a huge hand in shaping my experience. I would say that all in all this was a success. It was awesome because my friends would suggest to do something and then generally, I would be able to provide directions, but I would enjoy the experience with all of them. This opened my world up to new experiences in the city and in life. We also had so many discussions about literally everything in life and almost everyone, if not everyone, had such an open mind.

In addition, Focus: HOPE helped teach me an important lesson about neighborhoods. It also got me a super hype job but that’s a whole separate story. It showed me, from independant stories, talking to my colleagues, and from biking to work most days, that Detroit neighborhoods are alive and well and they always have been. While many might be struggling in some ways, they still have normal neighborhood functions just like elsewhere in the city and around the state. We have grown accustomed to telling general narratives about the city and for me, that has significantly drawn away from the actual people’s narrative about Detroit. When half the population left, the other half still remained, and their lives continue on. Yet, we often only get the narrative of people leaving and the damage that it did.

Overall, I can’t begin to express how amazing this experience was. I will miss everyone tremendously and as corny as it sounds, I’ve made some amazing and long-lasting friends this summer.

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