A supportive environment – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

A supportive environment

Navigating Brilliant Detroit from a digital perspective has been interesting to say the least; I didn’t know what to anticipate given that I’ve only ever worked in spaces where I have to interact directly with people. I was nervous about the prospect of isolation given that was my impression of online classes. I am glad to say that I have been pleasantly surprised. There are three people at Brilliant Detroit that I interact with regularly: my supervisor Krystal, the projects coordinator Aryeh, and another U of M intern Grace. They all help to run the Book Nook tutoring program that Grace and I lead the zoom sessions for. Things move pretty fast with Book Nook and trying to get the tutors and students matched but it helps how supportive the Book Nook team is. Grace always answers any questions I have since she’s been around longer than me, Krystal is always really responsive and helpful when it comes to setting up new things with book nook, and Aryeh is very encouraging of the work Grace and I do. We have meetings every week and I feel like that not only helps us keep the program on track, but also helps us to get a feel for where everyone is at emotionally and mentally; there are some points where Grace and I have felt overwhelmed and Aryeh and Krystal are very understanding and accommodating of this and allow us to adjust our pacing accordingly. I’ve also been able to meet other people at Brilliant Detroit; they’re generally very welcoming and have a very organic, friendly connection between one another. Even though me and he other interns are much younger than everyone else, they still make us feel included and hear us out, even when we’re not as familiar with how Brilliant Detroit Works. I accidentally invited many of the staff members to Book Nook today and they were still really nice about it, which actually surprised me because I know they can get pretty busy. Even the CEO Cindy puts a lot of effort into trying to get to know the interns through meetings with us, which is a lot more personable that I would’ve expected from a CEO

I’ve noticed that Brilliant Detroit is also very connected to the community it serves. It works with families in different neighborhoods in Detroit. Most community members are very connected to their managers and coordinators at their sites and I think that personal connection is what gets them into the groove of all the different programs. I’m also noticing that I’m started to know many of the families through Book Nook since I interact with them a lot and I really value the fact that BD and its staff are very connected to the community it serves.

1 thought on “A supportive environment”

  1. Hi Diana,

    I am so happy to hear about the positive attitudes of your colleagues. As you mentioned, I was also nervous about interacting with others purely virtually during the internship. At my site, like yours, having peers who are encouraging and driven is really refreshing. I am also happy to hear about your chances to speak with the CEO of Brilliant Detroit. It sounds like Brilliant Detroit really cares about its employees and the community it serves. I hope you continue to get the chance to learn from this organization and the community!

    Madison D

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