Community Vibes – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Community Vibes


This week I will be reflecting on the cultural cues that I have received at my community site. This past month, I have noticed many aspects of culture in the Green Garage. Some of these observations have including the youthful spirit everyone has, the general healthy diet of people that stay in the office to eat, and a diversity of races and ethnicities walking around and talking to each other.

I am intrigued and feel like I fit in with the culture of “speak with your actions, not your words” that everyone seems to have, especially in my nonprofit placement. My supervisor described the feelings she had when she went to a conference over the weekend about how good food can influence health in America. She mentioned that she felt like everyone was talking about where they got their degrees from and whose book they had recently read, just to assert their dominance over their colleagues.

My supervisor was so funny and real when she said, “oh, you have a degree from where? Oh okay, have you solved world hunger? No? How about hunger in your community? No? Okay, I don’t care.” I completely understood what she was saying because you can go to the best school(s) for your degrees and if you do not do anything with them for your community, they are essentially useless.

I see that one aspect of the culture in this workplace and in my nonprofit is certainly that actions speak louder than words, and to always look at how the community is thriving before you look at yourself and individual accomplishments. Being a part of this larger community in the Green Garage workplace and as a fellow at my nonprofit placement has shifted my perspective to focusing on events and feelings outside of myself. I think that is an integral part of the culture here.

Focus on what needs to be done and what you are going to do once you have been educated about an issue in your community.

Kind regards,

Scarlett Bickerton

2 thoughts on “Community Vibes”

  1. Hi Scarlett,

    I like your post! I think it’s an important observation to identify the “speak with your actions” culture. I think that way too. I think theres a culture of trying to one up everyone with status’s and titles that I think is superficial. I think what you do with your training and education is much more important than getting it in the first place. I’ve worked with another non-profit where the president is getting a lot of great work done in her community with only a high school education. I’m not saying that it’s bad to be well educated but that it’s not the end all be all. What you do matters and I’m glad you identify with that as well. I agree with you on that being an integral part of the culture here in Detroit. I think that’s how it is in a lot of non-profits as well. We are all trying our to help and do good work and that shows more than just what school you go to.


  2. Roselyn Nsenga

    I love love love that we both get to work in this office space where it’s all about doing! Where connections are put to use almost as soon as they are made. I mean truly, what is the value of your credentials when they are not backed by any actions, struggles, fights, changes, etc!

Comments are closed.

lsa logoum logo