1 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program


I am pretty happy after reading my first blog post.

Which is kind of ironic, because I was actually extremely sad when I wrote it. I mentioned it in our Showcase Q&A, but I thought maybe the summer would bring the same sleepless nights and stress of the school year. And I thought maybe my roommate wouldn’t like me. And I thought it was super consequential that I didn’t get invited out to one of the first cohort dinners. And I thought, and I thought, and I worried, and I was anxious, and those things all made a tortilla run, and a drive to Prince Valley Market sound pretty ideal.

As I mentioned in my first blog, I happened upon three of the apartment buildings I used to call home on that drive. And I left the windows down. And the City granted me some comfort.

I have said it many times since then, but I truly believe how I spent this summer was the best way that I could have. I worked at the Bridging Neighborhoods Program where I was learning new things about the City Government in Detroit every day, and where I was still able to interact one-on-one with community members. I was with a cohort of people from all different stages and walks of life whom I was able to learn from and grow alongside. I was blessed with the opportunity to spend many of my Tuesdays exploring my religion with a great group of curious, and active Christians–which is an experience that I’ve been letting shape my life ever since.

Detroit didn’t just feel like home since I used to live here so many years ago. It was made to feel like home by all the residents who came into the office, by all my coworkers that embraced me, by all my cohort-members that made the halls a lovely place, and by every face I got the pleasure to know outside these circles.

I was lucky to be surrounded by people who were so compassionate, and understanding, and supportive and wise, and I’m not sure if any other experience could have done a better job of helping me grow in the way I have, and addressed the things I needed to after my freshman year.

After reading through my blog post, I did have a bit of worry cross over me. I looked at my past nine weeks, and I feel like I fell short of evolving my perception of the City.

The more I think though, the more I consider that it might be like that Emily Dickenson poem ‘The Mystery of Pain’ (shoutout to Roselyn and Charlie for reading poetry with me in the park.) In this poem, Dickenson explores the mystery of how when you’re feeling pain, you can be convinced it’s all you’ve ever felt, and all you ever will.

And so maybe this is similar. Where I think I haven’t developed my notions all that much, but it’s more like my entire self has shifted, and I can’t imagine not considering the things I do now.

It would align with the fact that it’s pretty disgusting to me now that a City would be willing to invest in a multi-million dollar business, but not it’s people. It would align with the fact that I see how many political changes in sentiment and in policy have taken place because of the determination of Detroiters. It would align with the fact that I know so much more now about the cultural history, and current tensions within the City surrounding race, gentrification, and education.


I think life might mimic this first and last blog post. Where I think I’ll probably cry when I leave Detroit tomorrow. And I think I’ll probably be really happy whenever I come back and reflect upon how much I learned about the City’s beauty, complexity, and passion.


P.S. Sorry for turning in this blog post late Jenna. I swear I started working on it at 9am.

2 thoughts on “1”

  1. Awesome experience Doneen! I would like also to learn the conditions to apply for City Government program, could you please spread more on this? Thanks.

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