When thinking about Detroit, I think many people pick out the city’s weaknesses. I admit, I’ve definitely done it too. In the few weeks I’ve been working in DCERP, however, I’ve learned that there is actually so much good radiating within the city. There are so many different nonprofits and other organizations with the goal of improving the city and the people inhabiting it. I’ve found the variety and diversity among the missions of these organizations very interesting. There are some, like 826michigan (the nonprofit I’m working with) that aim to help a vast amount of young people in Detroit. 826michigan provides writing assistance to students of all ages and backgrounds. Then there are others, like Developing Despite Distance, that aim to help young men with incarcerated parents; a very niche population. There are so many people in the city that want to help turn it around. They want to make Detroit a better place to live, and I really admire that.
The pandemic has changed 826michigan’s methods immensely. 826 had to go from tutoring and working from students face to face to working with them behind computer screens. This was a very difficult switch for 826 staff, volunteers, and students. In my experience, it was difficult to work with students and keep their attention over Zoom. 826 has tried to find ways to get students to focus on writing/schoolwork but also have fun while on a Zoom call. They have created multiple different virtual field trips, writing kits, and other resources. I hope they are able to go back in person soon. I’m sure it would be a great thing for Detroit’s students!