Coming from a public health background, one of the reasons why I wanted to participate in DCERP was to gain an understanding of the culture in the Detroit community and non-profits. I had a minor understanding of how non-profit organizations worked, but I wanted to have the first-hand experience of actually working in the practice and culture to decide if I’m interested in working with a non-profit in the future or even creating my own organization.
The culture at my community organization, Chandler Park Conservancy (CPC) has honestly surprised me. I had a preconceived notion that the work environment and my supervisors would be super strict and treat me respectively as just an employee. After my first week, I realized that I was wrong! The culture at CPC while although organized and business-focused tends to be laid back and engaging. I also appreciate how my supervisors take in my opinion and treat me as a partner rather than strictly an intern. After examining the meetings we have with other community partners, I notice the culture in terms of race is semi-diverse and the age culture tends to be an older demographic considering the profession needs experienced individuals. With that said, I am the youngest person working with my non-profit, but that doesn’t stop my organization and the other parks we work with from valuing my opinion. I believe my opinion is valued because it adds another perspective.
Partnering with CPC, I am appreciative of how they serve a diverse community. I had the opportunity to tour the park not for work but for physical activity! During my time there it was nice to connect and see the actual population of people I was serving. The members of the park were extremely diverse and no one was focusing on what made them different: but rather focusing on the culture and the common goal- to better their health.