A Culture of Caring, Cooking, and Communication – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

A Culture of Caring, Cooking, and Communication

Hello, week four! This week has been super busy so far, and I’m trying my best to get everything done before we start our summer program next week. I’m glad I wrote my lesson plans in pencil, because I have had to make a lot of edits! I’m a little nervous as, even though I’ve worked with high school aged youth before, this is my first time “teaching” them. Fingers crossed I don’t royally screw it up!

Even with my nerves, though, I feel confident that DFA has my back. The culture here is one of support, and I have never been afraid to ask questions or seek out advice. As DFA is focused on youth leadership through cooking, they embrace the idea that no one knows everything and that we all start somewhere. I’m really grateful to work in place where I feel comfortable being vulnerable.

DFA also honors diversity, something I appreciate. Coming from a background in LGBTQ community organizing, I’m always worried that I may be walking into a space that does not hold my same values. DFA has proven that they are committed to equity, though, from their staff to their students. DFA staff is made up of folks from all walks of life, with people of many different racial identities, religions, sexualities, genders, and ages on the team. DFA is also women-led, something I really value. Their commitment to diversity is clear, and I can tell that they are always trying to be as inclusive as possible in everything they do.

The most important part of DFA’s culture is, for me, their commitment to creating programming in which youth are given the tools to empower themselves. My supervisor and I have talked a lot about how it isn’t our place to empower our students, as that still leaves the power in our hands – something to be passed down, given, or earned. Instead, DFA operates with the idea that if we create safe, brave, honest spaces where students can develop skills on a holistic level, they will gain the tools they need to grasp their own empowerment. This is exactly in line with the framework I already had when working with youth, and I’m so happy to be working in a place that shares my outlook.

As I move into next week, I hope I am able to model DFA’s culture with our students. I’m not totally sure what to expect, but I have a feeling it will be great.

2 thoughts on “A Culture of Caring, Cooking, and Communication”

  1. Hey Lia! I’m so happy that you’re feeling so comfortable at your placement, it’s always a relief when you are surrounded by others who share the same values and beliefs as you. Good luck working with the high schoolers next week – I know you’ll do great modeling DFA’s culture with them!

  2. Hi Lia! It’s amazing that you are able to feel comfortable and vulnerable where you work. Sounds like things are going really well for you and I think you”ll have a great time next week!

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