I want to give a special shout out to the youth – the teens and young adults passionate about helping out their community. All throughout high school I had opportunities to join programs that educated me to different social injustices and problems within a city. However, these experiences were more surface level – I got the exposure to these situations, but there was not much depth in actively getting involved. That is why I love the Summer Youth Program in Hamtramck. It was started by the current City Manager Kathy Angerer as a way to get the youth involved in their community and give back.
Every year, the program tends to follow a standard agenda of picking up trash, painting curbs, weeding, covering up graffiti, etc. While those are all important to cleaning the city, I was given the opportunity to incorporate bigger projects for the interns to leave feeling like they left an impact, as well as have a positive impact on the community. This year’s group of interns are eager to be engaged in such a way for their city, and it inspires me to provide them with the best possible experience.
It is these experiences that provide you ways to be actively involved in change in your community that need to be implemented everywhere, especially underserved communities.