Week 1 Blog – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 1 Blog

Dear Future Mackenzie, 

Happy week one at ProsperUS! So far I’ve settled into the placement by reaching out to all of the members of the team, and it has made virtual onboarding not so bad. There seems to be a nice sense of community at ProsperUS… speaking of community, to me, community describes a close-knit group of people with a shared identity and pride in the shared factor that unites them. For example, this identifying factor could be a geographical location, race, gender, education, religion, etc. Individuals can be a part of several communities at once, and some communities that a person identifies as a part of might shift and change over time. Communities that I identify as a part of include the community of my home town, the hockey community, and the community of the University of Michigan students, to name a few. 

I was attracted to community work in Detroit because growing up in Michigan Detroit traditionally gets a bad rap. In the past several years I’ve started to hear people say that Detroit is being revitalized, and praising the wealthy individuals who have poured millions of dollars into Detroit’s entertainment sector. However, after continually learning about the needs of the Detroit community that have not been met by these actions, I felt drawn to engage with the Detroit community members who are being left out of these “revitalization” initiatives. I believe through mutually beneficial relationships it is possible to incite change in the Detroit community that will equitably benefit all of its citizens, and I believe it is important to draw attention to who is being left behind in the recent developmental initiatives so this doesn’t continue to happen. 

I feel that working remotely will provide some barriers in terms of getting to know my organization and developing trust with community members. I was hoping to gain more cultural competence and experience engaging with individuals from diverse backgrounds, and this may be more challenging now. However,  I will just have to use the technologies available to build relationships remotely and get creative. Also, I hoped to contribute creative ideas and my innovative art skills to my program, which may be hindered by the remote position. However, I still think I can apply these skills just in different ways. I still think I will be able to provide my strong motivation and determination which may be even more important now that I am working remotely. One thing I hope I will be able to achieve or experience this summer is a better understanding of what a future career in the non-profit sector would entail on a day-to-day basis, as well as what working with community members outside of the classroom in a real-world setting is really like. Lastly, I hope to make a meaningful contribution to my organization that will help them in their efforts to grow Detroit businesses after my position ends. 

Good luck this summer!

Love, 

Past Mackenzie

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