It is now day three of the program and by now you feel pretty settled in your living arrangement. Everyone seems nice so far and you have a group of friends that seems promising for this summer, you are also looking forward to getting to know other members of your cohort as the summer progresses.
In terms of your placement you expect to learn more intimately the challenges/obstacles that Non-Profits face when serving the community. You also expect to be challenged and are excited to put the theory that you have been learning for the past three years into practice. You are also expecting to use this experience to help narrow down your career trajectory, perhaps even show you if working in the Non-Profit realm is something that you are indeed interested in.
What you intend to contribute to your organization is someone who has experience conducting research in a highly rigorous environment. Even though you anticipate this being your largest asset to the organization you are quickly figuring out that that may also be your biggest challenge. You are quickly realizing that the same rigor that you are used to with research may not be accessible or even ideal within a community organization.
Your current perception of Detroit is a Tale of Two Stories. Two stories that are simultaneously existing and fighting to be told. When most people think of Detroit they think of Detroit as a forgotten city and it was only thanks to the recent development; Detroit is the up and coming city that it is advertised to be. The problem with this dominant narrative is that it is only one story and just like there are always two sides to a coin, there are two tales to a city. This second story, the one that you are just learning is one of pain and struggle, full of complexity and Gentrification. Detroit was not a forgotten city, it was abandoned. Those left behind were responsible to pick up the pieces with no money and no prosperity. This is the story of Detroit that you have committed yourself to. Through this summer you hope to gain more knowledge and understand more deeply the struggles of those that were left behind and how you can use your experience in this program as well as your privilege to make sure that this is the story of Detroit that is being told.