Today at the garden there was a group of high school volunteers helping weed the beds and pick vegetables. While working, I overheard one of the volunteers talking to her supervisor about her move to Ann Arbor in the Fall. Of course I had to ask if she’s coming to UMICH, and she nervously responded “yes”. We got talking and I learned that she’s starting the CSP Summer Bridge program, which I went through two years ago. I also learned that she’s first gen just like me and that her parents do not speak English also like mine. She shared some of her worries which I definitely had as a freshman, and about how some people downplayed her acceptance into the the university. I excitedly got her number, told her about UROP and DCERP, and even got her connected with some Latino students at UMICH. Her family is from Mexico and my family is from Iraq, even with our different cultures we were able to find so many similarities within the 15 minute chat. This short conversation really gave me a better understanding of the community in Southwest. I knew that minorities lived there, but didn’t really know that a lot of their stories are like the stories of people in my community. We did not just share labels like first gen and lower class, we shared values and morals like family and charity. Working with SDEV I am able to see how much they care about their families, their neighbors, and their community just through their interactions with each other and with visitors at the garden. I see them ask each other about how they are feeling and hear them share stories about what’s going on in their personal lives. I see them inviting kids over to help out at the garden and offering plenty of vegetables for them to take home every day. I see that SDEV is here to stand up for their community and support all of its members. I love working with SDEV because they love working with their community.
P.S. here’s a picture from the garden today 🙂