This summer I am working with the City of Hamtramck in their Community and Economic Development department as their Summer Youth Program coordinator. In order to gage the needs of the community and to capture their vision for the City, the City developed a Master Plan in addition to other official plans to help the community. Included in the City’s Economic Development Strategy a community member stated, “Hamtramck doesn’t need to come back, it’s already here and we just need to bring it out more. There’s a lot of kick left in it.” After working at City Hall for these past two weeks, it is evident the City is not trying to reconstruct a “new” Hamtramck, but rather embrace the uniqueness it already has to offer – it is finding the best qualities and embracing it through projects that meet the community’s needs.
As the Summer Youth Program coordinator, I am responsible for putting together a curriculum of projects for the students to accomplish throughout the summer. These projects are centered around cleaning and beautifying the city, so activities like trash pick-up, painting curbs and fire hydrants, revitalizing recreational areas, etc. This summer program is to provide the youth in Hamtramck the opportunity to be involved in their city and work on projects that will be rewarding to them while also benefiting their community as a whole. The students will have a four-day work week with “lunch and learns” where prominent community leaders come to discuss their position or talk about issues relevant to the students. While I am working to find ways to develop the students’ work skills, there is a component in which I will work to build bridges between the students from different cultural backgrounds. In order to accomplish this, I am working on establishing partnerships with cultural/ethnic organizations in the area to collaborate with for “Getting to Know Me” days where we will explore a prominent cultural, ethnic, or religious group in Hamtramck.
In regards to DCERP, I have enjoyed having the time to hear about people’s projects. While having to make connections over Zoom is a challenge, I feel that everyone is putting forth their best efforts to get to know one another and all seem eager to want to know more about each other.
My learning group’s focus is on Arts and Culture in Detroit. While this is a very broad topic, we discussed narrowing that focus on Museums in Detroit, music, and/or artwork. I personally chose Arts and Culture because I go to Detroit frequently, but do not know as much about the arts and culture of the City as I feel like I should. I am excited to learn more the arts and culture throughout the history of Detroit with my group. In addition, I am also interested in learning more about the topics the other learning groups focus on.