On Brilliant Detroit – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

On Brilliant Detroit

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had the privilege of working with Brilliant Detroit. Brilliant Detroit is a non-profit centered on building kid success through a very family and neighborhood based approach. It serves predominantly children aged 0-8 and their families and has sites in 8 different Detroit neighborhoods. Its programs include different tutoring opportunities, family oriented workshops for kids and parents, necessities distributions to families in need, enrichments activities, and much more. They generally accomplish a lot of this through partnering with other non-profits in Detroit. They also try to implement as much research and knowledge about the communities they’re serving behind most of what they do to ensure that their work is effective and respectful to the needs of the people they’re serving.

Brilliant Detroit has moved to virtual/ remote work to meet the needs of their communities since the beginning of the pandemic. This includes moving to pre-recorded and live workshops, virtual tutoring sessions, and putting more emphasis towards providing their communities with necessities. I’ve been working on uploading pre-recorded workshops on a youtube account as well as on their social media pages. I think my Canva game has gotten so much better with all the thumbnails I’ve made and the youtube account currently has one subscriber, so I guess you could say I’m a YouTube now. I’ve also been helping out with a virtual tutoring opportunity through PAL that serves the Brilliant Detroit community called Book Nook. Book Nook essentially pairs elementary aged students with adult tutors who help them work on their reading. I generally help the other intern whose been there longer than me with splitting the students and their tutors into breakout rooms and trying to assist anyone with technical difficulties. Sometimes I also get to talk to the kids for a bit, which is really funny; they don’t exactly know how Zoom works so they press their mouths or foreheads to the camera and it gets me every time :). I’ll be hosting a zoom session for the first time tomorrow so that will be exciting. We’re hoping to also come up with an effective way to help families new to Book Nook transition into it easier so that will be interesting, updates may be coming your way soon! The last thing I’ve been working on is helping with a new community partner connection coming soon to Brilliant Detroit— details are still coming my way so I’m excited for how this will play out.

On the flip side, working with the DCERP cohort has been pleasant. I’ve really liked to hear about everyone else’s experiences within their non-profit. I’ve found that it has helped to alleviate a lot of the insecurities I’ve been having between not feeling like I know what I’m doing and feeling nervous about the current state of the world. I’ve also enjoyed hearing about the different things people are doing in general since there’s quite a bit of variance in the things our non-profits are working towards. I’m enthusiastic about the fellows within my research group since our non-profits have a lot of overlap in who they serve and their missions and we are all very passionate about our topic, education. I’m looking forward to doing more work with them! I wish I could’ve been able to interact with you all in person though, I feel like we would’ve been able to get to know one another a bit better that way.

1 thought on “On Brilliant Detroit”

  1. Hi Diana! Your work with Brilliant Detroit sounds wonderful! I have been using Canva a lot too, I really like it because it’s so user-friendly đŸ™‚ The Book Nook program sounds like a cool idea and a great way to bring community members together while increasing literacy, I am excited to hear about updates (and good luck hosting your zoom session)! I agree that talking to the cohort about our experiences has been relieving, as we’re all going through uncertainty in our placements together.

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