Week One (6/3/19-6/7/19): Letter to Yourself – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week One (6/3/19-6/7/19): Letter to Yourself

Dear Adam,

Here you go.  After finishing freshman year you’re now jumping into the first significant work experience of your life.  With the Detroit Community Based Research Program you will have the unique chance to work alongside those fighting for the residents of Detroit while also absorbing the history of this city.  Understanding the complex, layered history of Detroit will help to better comprehend the circumstances that continue to force hundreds of thousands of Detroiters into poverty.  Realize that there is no way you can fix these issues by yourself.  Instead, use the group activities and lessons to learn how you can best act as an ally for the citizens of this city.

At Bridging Neighborhoods you have the opportunity to work with the city government in improving the lives of members of Detroit’s Delray community.  Unlike in the classroom, the work you do here will have significant and lasting consequences.  Hard work, dedication and the willingness to set aside pride in order to learn will result in growth individually and being a contributor to a good cause.  However, on the other side of the coin a failure to attack this job with vigor and effort will negatively impact a program trying to mitigate the consequences of decades of discriminatory housing properties and now an invasive construction project.  You have an obligation to the people of Delray to give every inch of effort possible.  If you don’t understand what is being said or the assignment given you need to speak up and ensure you are providing quality, relevant work.  There is no shame in not knowing; only in failing to correct your ignorance.

Beyond the expectations of your internship with Bridging Neighborhoods and participation in DCBRP you are also a self-sufficient adult.  While at college you had the luxury of a meal plan to take away the stress of preparing food you are now on your own.  The quality, quantity, cost and timing of your meals is now totally up to you.  While this certainly provides opportunities it also provides challenges.  Time must be set aside to shop, cook and clean while at the same time managing your other responsibilities to your job, program and self.  This is where the foundation of your summer will be placed.  Will you plan out your meals to ensure balanced, nutritious and full meals or will you diverge from healthy eating habits and fall into the costly venture of eating out on a consistent basis?

This summer is what you will make it.  However, if you do fully engage with this program a bright summer is on the horizon.  There are so many kind, interesting people surrounding you.  Learn about them, learn about this city and learn about yourself.  Making friends and making the most of this city could lead to memories and lessons that you will carry the rest of your life.

Good luck,

Adam Gilmour

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