Week one—and by now, most of week two—is under my belt. This summer I’m working with Developing Despite Distance, or as they like to call it, 3D. 3D is a nonprofit still in its early stages that supports young Detroit men who have an incarcerated parent. We host letter writing workshops to facilitate communication with the participants’ incarcerated parents, help with funding trips to visit their parents in prison, hold group therapy sessions, and go on field trips to develop community between the participants.
The founder, Tiffany, experienced parental incarceration herself as a child. Knowing and experiencing that kids of incarcerated parents are a forgotten population, she saw the need for such a program. When she learned about the Obama administration’s My Brother’s Keeper grants, she decided almost on a whim to apply. Her program got funding and got off the ground. That brings us to today.
I have many roles within the organization this summer. Thus far, I’ve worked on enrollment forms for participants and mentors, surveys for participants and parents, a few liability forms, I’ve been working on building up the programs website, researching grant opportunities, and compiling a list of Detroit schools to reach out to later this summer to spread the word about 3D.
Thus far, I’ve been enjoying the work and the people I’m working with. Though it’s surely a different experience than if I were in Detroit, Tiffany and Jen—the volunteer coordinator—have been wonderfully supportive and fun to talk with and learn from. As for the non-3D side of DCERP, it’s hugely different from what it would’ve been were we in Detroit. I’m sad that I’m not in the Wayne State dorms. Though it’s been nice to start to get know everyone a little bit via Zoom, it’s impossible to form relationships in the same way virtually as in person. This, of course, is unfortunate, but the silver lining is knowing that it’s in the interest of public health and a little extra time with family.
See you all next week.