Week 8: Exceeding Expectations – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 8: Exceeding Expectations

Asalam Alaikum,

It’s already been 2 months, and I feel as though we have barely cracked the surface. Going into this project, I was ecstatic to be joining this project and couldn’t wait to learn all about the work that is going on at the ground level. I was always interested in the nonprofit space and working with DREAM, not only exceeded all my expectations but absolutely blew them out of the park. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with some of the most intelligent and brave people that I know. 

2 months in, I’ve learned so much about what it means to be a community organizer and about the merits of community-based participatory research. Working with DREAM alongside the Storytelling Project has given me such a clear picture of the work that this community has done, and the work that it is currently doing to create a thriving and sustainable neighborhood. 

My first experience working with nonprofits in Detroit was with CASS Community Services last year. This is an organization that provides affordable housing and many other services just a few blocks south of DREAM. I remember being in awe of how many services they provided and just how interconnected all of these services were. Transition to working with DREAM of Detroit, and I was even more impressed by how they used partnerships with other community orgs to expand their reach and strengthen themselves and the causes for which they struggle towards.

In my short time with DREAM, I’ve learned so many new skills, from video editing to facilitating interviews, that I can bring with me wherever I go, especially in healthcare. I’ve learned what it means to truly allow someone to share their story, and I am slowly learning how to amplify one’s story with grace and dignity. 

I am thankful for the grace and dignity that this community has given to me, and I hope to bring this same love and energy to the spaces that I enter in the future. Being able to witness and be a part of the incredible culture that DREAM has cultivated was a privilege and is a testament to the importance of their work.

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