Dear Lia, 9 Weeks Later: – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Dear Lia, 9 Weeks Later:

Dear Lia,

You did it! You made it through the summer! You continued to feed yourself, get to work, explore, and you really enjoyed your time living in Detroit and working with DFA. You did what you set out to do. You embraced each day with bright eyes, a smile, and an open heart, but you’re also a little emotionally exhausted. You’re definitely ready to leave for the vacation your family has planned on Saturday, and to relax by the water.

You loved DFA before you even started with them, but gosh, you really had the most amazing experience. The students you worked with have changed who you are as a person – they’ve taught you more than you could ever teach them. You’re incredibly proud of them, and love them so very much. You’re so blessed to have had the chance to get to know these seventeen amazing young leaders and spend time with them, and knowing you made even a tiny difference in their lives makes you cry. You’ll never forget this summer.

Your supervisor is also one of the most wonderful people you have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She is so smart, passionate, and dedicated, and she pushed you to be the best you could be. She made you feel at home every step of the way, and that radiated throughout the entire organization. The rest of your coworkers, a group of badass, intelligent women, taught you so much, and working with them has been the coolest experience. (Yolanda, Jen, Julie, Kamaria, Marti, and Kyra, if you’re reading this, thank you so much, I love you all. Here’s to girl power.).

You are also more fired up about Detroit than you were before, something you didn’t think was possible. Working with your students every day really grounded things for you — you saw just how the gentrification and other things happening in this city touch the lives of the people living here. You also got exposed to the next generation of leaders in the resistance. Another thing you’re grateful to them for.

Hearing the students thank you and tell you that they valued their time learning with you is the most incredible feeling, and you don’t feel like you deserve it, but you’re so touched by it. You don’t know how much better you made the world this summer, but you know you made their summers better, and that feels pretty damn awesome.

Finally, you had the incredible experience of getting to know some amazing people in this internship. You made friends, went out, had deep conversations, and all around grew as much socially as you did in other arenas. Look at you, breaking out of your comfort zone (special shout out to Skylar, Emma, Charlie, Kia, and especially my incredible roommate, Joy. You all made this summer what it was for me)! I’m so glad you applied for this program, even though you were scared. You’re much better off for it.


Lia, 8/2/18

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