Week 8: Changes – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 8: Changes

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about changes.
I’ve finished the first draft of my “report” on Clark Park, so now I’m making revisions. I’m also thinking through ways to adjust my presentation for the showcase. And, importantly, I’m preparing to majorly change my daily routine: to say “goodbye for now” to my desk at the corner of the Clark Park office and “see you soon” to my coworkers and the community members with whom I interact regularly.
It’s hard for me to believe that I’ll be leaving soon, and not simply because the time has flown by or there’s so much more I’d love to see of Southwest and of greater Detroit. I expected that to happen, though.
I didn’t know to expect the immense feelings of welcomeness and belonging that I’ve found at the park, however. I’m grateful to be surrounded by people who are looking out for me — asking about my interests and learning styles, sharing stories or scholarship information, shaking my hand after just a couple interactions during hours of work — each day. What’s more is that these behaviors come from all types of people (including variations in age, ethnicity, gender, profession, time having met, and more), speaking to the diversity and the strong community present in Southwest and served by CPC.
My project, which mainly focuses on the history of Clark Park, has taught me that this community is not fortuitous; rather, it’s been sculpted, fought for, by people who care.
Dile ‘thank you,'” parents nudge their little ones as they take hold of the lunch bag and milk I hand to them as part of a state-wide free summer meal program for minors. I more than trust that Clark Park will continue to support and be supported by its community outside of my weekday watch. Clark Park kids will continue to grow into respectful, compassionate, and intelligent humans with the support of programming and mentors at the park. I’ve grown, too, in my couple of months working in Southwest, and I’m looking forward to bringing a taste of my experiences back with me to Ann Arbor in the fall, as well as stopping in for a visit and a check-in when I can. For now, I’m going to try to soak up the last week and to take the changes as they come.

2 thoughts on “Week 8: Changes”

  1. Claire Thomson

    Hi Reggie! I’m glad to hear that your time at Clark Park was so meaningful and welcoming 🙂 I really love what you said about the community being purposefully built rather than simply “fortuitous” – it beautifully expresses the work and intentionality that goes into creating a welcoming, supportive space. I hope your last week at the site goes well!

  2. Reggie, although the nine weeks seem to have gone by in a flash, your reflections are a good reminder of how you made the time count. It’s wonderful to get a sense of what your experience was like entering a community for the first time, and being open to the learning opportunities you encountered there. I’m so excited and gratified to read how you were positively impacted from the wonderful relationships you formed and from working in thoughtful, intentional partnership with the community. Thank you for your good work and for sharing your experience with us here.

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